Lessons learned the hard way

Courtesy of a link provided by Australian reader Snoggeramus, we learn of a young man who nearly died as the result of his own stupidity.  Maimed for life, he’s now trying to prevent others from making the same sort of mistakes. MAKING a bomb out of a small barbecue gas bottle seemed like harmless fun for Matt Lewis and his friends. . . . But as Mr Lewis gave the bomb a quick shake before tossing it on the ground, it detonated sooner than expected, throwing him and one of his friends into the air. “I remember spinning through the

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Orwell warned us about these bureaucratic clowns

I have little respect for director Oliver Stone, and (normally) no time at all for his politics;  but for once I was forced to agree with him when he warned, last week, that the USA was becoming an Orwellian state.  Nothing could make this clearer than an attempt by the US government to squash a lawsuit by using secret evidence that it refused to make available to the plaintiff. A federal judge in California has rejected the Obama administration’s effort to use secret arguments and evidence to defeat a lawsuit relating to the so-called no-fly list designed to keep suspected

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Close calls don’t come much closer than this!

This video clip shows a Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft of Russian airline Red Wings sliding off a runway at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, and crashing into a road embankment.  Pieces of the aircraft fly onto the road, hitting several vehicles, including the one whose dash camera captured the accident. Four out of twelve crew members aboard the aircraft were killed.  Mercifully, there were no passengers aboard, otherwise the death toll might have been much higher. That won’t buff out . . . Peter

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The best of Sign Language 2012

We’ve looked at pictures from the Telegraph’s weekly Sign Language contest in these pages before.  The newspaper has just published its selection of the best pictures taken by its readers in 2012 of weird and wacky signs from around the world.  Here are a few examples. There are many more at the link.  Amusing stuff. Peter

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More politicians who just don’t get it

Readers will recall our ‘Around The Blogs – A Newtown Massacre Special Edition‘ post last weekend, which rounded up many thought-provoking and insightful perspectives on that tragedy.  Amongst other areas of comment, several bloggers pointed out blatant hypocrisy on the part of some politicians and commentators arguing for greater gun control.  (No surprise there, of course . . . ) I ran across a couple of other examples over the past few days.  First, apropos the calls for gun control, how about these two stories? Man pushed to his death in front of NYC subway train LA police: Fire set

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Of pee, pools and purity

It seems swimmer Michael Phelps is making waves by admitting that many competitive swimmers pee in the pool.  The Telegraph reports: It may not be what everybody wants to hear but the swimming star Michael Phelps was right when he said it was OK to relieve yourself in the pool, claim scientists. Phelps, the most successful Olympian ever, caused ripples of concern during London 2012 when he admitted that many swimmers “pee in the pool” especially during long training sessions. But he said that it was OK as the chlorine killed any germs. The revelation may have been slightly distasteful

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What’s this nasty cold white stuff on the ground?

Miss D. and I made it to Brigid‘s place safely.  On the way up, the divide between snow-free and snow-on-the-ground was pretty sharp, taking place within a matter of a couple of miles.  I thought it must be due to the passage of a tightly-defined snow front, dumping snow up the road but missing down-the-road completely.  However, Miss D. (who spent almost a decade in the Frozen North) tells me it’s more an indication of ground temperature.  Be that as it may, the dirty slush on the roads got interesting at times . . . particularly when trying to walk

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A cartoon steampunk serial?

Something interesting just popped up on YouTube. The Sky High City of SteamPuff – Episode 1 Welcome to the SKY HIGH CITY OF STEAMPUFF, a floating clockwork continent lost amidst the clouds, where anything and everything is driven by the power of steam. But when brilliant steam-smith Hephaestus Von Toot is kidnapped by an unseen foe, it’s up to his son Victor (and his squadron of steam-powered friends) to not only track him down, but defeat the powerful forces that would threaten to drop his city from the sky. I recommend watching this in full-screen mode. Looks like some nifty

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Deceptive marketing tactics, revisited

A few days ago I asked my readers to comment on the online marketing practices of a number of related firearms and ammunition vendors.  The discussion became quite interesting, both in Comments and in offline e-mails. Readers’ reactions seem clearly split along age-related lines.  Those who are older, and were probably brought up with ethical and moral guidelines similar to those I learned at my parents’ knees, seem to either side with my position, or at least be willing to consider it.  Those who are younger, and who grew up in an age of “If it feels good, do it!”,

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Hot food on a cold night

It’s pretty frigid out there, what with the passage of the same storm that’s got Tam, Roberta, Brigid and friends snowed in further North.  Miss D. was hungry, Oleg was on the way over, and supper needed to be made.  Hey – it’s just after Christmas!  What about Cajun-seasoned spicy turkey and bean soup? It couldn’t be simpler.  This is the very quick-and-easy bachelor-kitchen variety.  You can make it more complex and interesting by frying onions, celery and bell peppers as a foundation, and using fresh ingredients;  but that takes much longer.  This is for when you’re in a hurry

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