Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Fermenting toxic shark meat

The Greenland shark, due to a high concentration of Trimethylamine N-oxide (ammonia) in its flesh, is highly toxic. However, it can be fermented and made safe to eat. It is an Icelandic delicacy. The above video shows a small family business and the steps they take to processes the shark meat. 


Sunday, November 26, 2023

Helen Dryden magazine covers

Click any image to enlarge

Helen Dryden was an early 20th century illustrator who is best known for her covers for the fashion magazines Vogue and the Delineator. She was self-taught and heavily influenced by French and Russian ballet and theater costume and set design. She was an early practitioner of Art Deco, and with her work brought vibrant colors to the covers of magazines.    

Later in her life she was also to work in the area of industrial design, bringing modern sensibilities to the 'form' portion of the 'form follows function' axiom. 

Helen Dryden

Friday, November 24, 2023

Traditional Thanksgiving music

On Black Friday I don't do a TGIF post because the long weekend started Wednesday night. However, I will use this Black Friday as an opportunity to play some traditional Thanksgiving music instead.

Regular visitors may remember a few years ago I went to play some Thanksgiving music and was aghast to discover the genre did not exist. Trend setter that I am, I decided to create the genre for the good of all. My first entry into it was Thanks for the Memory. 

Well, another year has passed and once again I've been too lazy busy to add to the genre's catalog, so this year we once again get Thanks for the Memory, this time performed by Sods' Opera. The lyrics seem to have been modified a bit, but the thanking is still there.


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving cooking tip

From the 1958 Edwards Standard Service calendar
(click image to enlarge)

Remember, always make sure your Turkey is smaller than your oven. Anyway, have a good Thanksgiving. Enjoy your company, the food (if it fits in the oven), and your blessings. 


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Korean prank videos

Generally, I dislike the idea of prank videos. All too often they are just intruding upon people to create content for social media. While some are harmless annoyances, others trip well past the bounds of decency to be completely obnoxious. Just look at the case of Johnny Somali for an example of that.  

That said, I'm posting a few Korean prank videos. Call me a hypocrite if you must. 

It all started with my YouTube feed's recommendations. Most of the recommendations are aimed at blocks of people with presumably similar viewing habits, but some seem to be an attempt by YouTube to tailor the videos to your individual taste. Since, in looking for things to post, my viewing habits are very eccentric I get some mighty odd recommendations. 

One day I started getting Korean prank videos. I don't know why. At first, they were videos of guys asking young girls questions, and then saying "thankyou auntie" when they left. Age is a big deal in Korea, and I guess assuming somebody is much older than they are is a social gaffe of hilarious proportions. 

Then these two guys started appearing in my feed. Their bit was to sit in cafes and have ridiculous conversations the other patrons overheard. I've got to say that some of their scripts were pretty funny, and the reactions of the people trying not to laugh and make it obvious they were eavesdropping were entertaining. Although, I think a lot of them caught on sooner or later that this was just a prank.

Be sure to have captions turned on.    

Sunday, November 19, 2023

The War of the Triple Alliance

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The Paragauy War, commonly known as the War of the Triple Alliance, which was waged from 1865 until 1870, was the largest war ever fought in South America. It was in the immediate aftermath of the colonial period and the international borders between the new countries were ill-defined leading to a lot of diplomatic tension.

In that cauldron in Uruguay two factions were vying for control. The Brazilians backed one of them and Francisco Solano Lopez, the lunatic dictator of Paraguay, took offense to that figuring that if anybody had a right to meddle in Uruguay's affairs it was him and not the Brazilians.

Eventually this all boiled over when Lopez invaded and annexed Mato Grosso, a Brazilian province. He then foolishly declared war on Argentina so he could march through its territory to attack Uruguay. To add to his stupidity, he declared that he had annexed two Argentinian territories as well. As result, Argentina and Uruguay both declared war on Paraguay with Brazil secretly joining the alliance. 

The war proper started with a naval battle on the Parana River, where the Brazilian fleet soundly trounced the Paraguayans. Lopez's ground prong of his invasion fared no better, in short order almost all of his troops were either killed or captured. A few months later the Triple Alliance crossed the Paranan and invaded Paraguay. 

By 1869 they had captured Asuncion, Paraguay's capitol, and destroyed Lopez's army. Lopez himself withdrew into the jungle and tried to maintain resistance. As the above linked article says:

That summer, tipped off as to Lopez’s whereabouts, d’Eu crossed the border with 27,000 fresh, combat ready troops and moved in for the kill. On August 11, they surrounded Piribebuy and proceeded to subject the inhabitants to a general bombardment. At 8 am the following day, the task force began making its way up the heights. The Paraguayan defenders opened fire, but they soon ran out of ammunition and had to resort to throwing stones at their attackers. By noon, the Allied army entered Piribebuy over the lifeless bodies of 700 soldiers. D’Eu and his army had killed them all.

All but Lopez. Once again, he had used the destruction of women and children to cover his escape. This time he headed northeast toward Bolivia, one of the few countries in South America that was not at war with him. As El Supremo and a cohort of loyalists made their way into the rain forest, the rear guard charged with covering his retreat was quickly mowed down by d’Eu and the army of avenging nations. On March 1, 1870, the Allies finally caught up with Lopez as he was preparing to cross the Aquidaban River, not far from the Bolivian border. While his henchmen died in a last stand on the banks of the river, Lopez, true to form, met his ignoble end in the water. Wounded by a lance, he thrashed into the shallows, where a bullet smashed into the back of his head as he tried to swim across the river.

The war was a complete disaster for Paraguay. They had much of their territory annexed, but worse is their casualty figures: variously estimated be between 7% on the low end, to 69% of the total population. At war's end there were only 28,746 adult men left. The effects of those casualties and that greatly unbalanced sex ratio echo in Paraguay to this day.   

Friday, November 17, 2023

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

A new hobby idea for the winter

With winter nearing I'm sure that many of you, those who are too stupid to live in pleasant climes, will be stuck in your houses looking for a winter hobby to occupy your frigid and dreary hours. May I suggest making miniature chain link fences? It's kind of like knitting, only instead of a sweater you get a tiny chain link fence for your efforts. A great addition to your daughter's dollhouse or any diorama you may be building.

Above is a home-built machine to make the chain links. I chose it because the machining of it was so nicely done. If you look around the internet you can find much simpler contraptions to do the same thing. 


Sunday, November 12, 2023

WWII art commissioned by the U.S. Navy

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With Veterans Day just having passed, I thought some images commemorating them was in order. During WWII the U.S. Navy commissioned a number of artists to illustrate facets of their operations. These are a sample of the work they produced. They are from the Naval History and Heritage Command's Artists archive. 

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Remember our veterans

Credit: PA:Press Association
(click image to enlarge)
This country has not seen and probably will never know the true level of sacrifice of our veterans. As a civilian I owe an unpayable debt to all our military. Going forward let’s not send our servicemen and women off to war or conflict zones unless it is overwhelmingly justifiable and on moral high ground. The men of WWII were the greatest generation, perhaps Korea the forgotten, Vietnam the trampled, Cold War unsung and Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan vets underestimated. Every generation has proved itself to be worthy to stand up to the precedent of the greatest generation. Going back to the Revolution American soldiers have been the best in the world. Let’s all take a remembrance for all veterans who served or are serving, peace time or wartime and gone or still with us. ― Thomas M Smith


Friday, November 10, 2023

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Riding the Death Railway

The above video shows a day excursion on the Thai-Burma railroad. These excursions, which operate on the weekends and holidays, run north-west from Bangkok to several towns and sites. The Thai-Burma railway is commonly called the Death Railway because of the number of POWs and forced laborers who died constructing it in WWII. On it is the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, which I've recently discussed in the post The Bridge on the River Kwai, and is one of the stops on this trip (they also cross the bridge).   

Regular readers may recall that this rail line appeared in one of my posts during my recapping of the Thai TV show O-Negative. During a school break the kids went to Kanchanaburi, which is one of the stops in the above video. The train car they're in looks a lot like, although it isn't identical, the 3rd class car the creator of the above video rides.

In the video he mentions another video he did about the market train. I've included it below. It is a train that runs through a market. The vendors need to pull back their goods and fold their awnings as it approaches. It is quite amazing; in the U.S. it would be about a bazillion lawsuits in the offing. Curiously, I've previously used a video of the same train, but filmed from ground level. It was in my very first Cryptic post called Life goes on.   

Sunday, November 05, 2023

Mirrors in paintings

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Mirrors fascinate people. They allow us to see our faces which are normally forever hidden from us. In art they provide a variety of uses. Frequently they are just a scene of a pretty girl primping at a mirror and applying makeup, other times they reflect the fleeting nature of youth, vanity, or an inner state of mind.

Friday, November 03, 2023

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Taste testing a Mongolian MRE

The MRE has a day's worth of meals. They are all quite substantial looking. These are from the YouTube channel Readiness Rations. He covers a lot of both military and survivalist-type MREs. Below I have included a couple that are civilian aid MREs.