Mad dogs, Englishmen, Texans, visitors, and the midday sun

Today sees the annual Hotter ‘n Hell 100 bicycle race in and around Wichita Falls, Texas.  It’s so named because the temperatures usually hover at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit at this time of year, and the full-length race covers 100 miles (with shorter distances for less ambitious competitors). As I write these words, the competitors are pouring out of the city and onto regional roads, heading out on the opening leg of the race.  It’s relatively cool this year, thanks to some unseasonal rain showers, which are very welcome to those of us who live here, but resented by many riders

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and I bet none of these guns will ever hurt anybody

Amid all the leftist hoopla about how nasty and scary and deadly guns are, and how we should restrict the living daylights out of them, it’s nice to be reminded that in very large parts of this country, they’re regarded with nonchalance as a routine part of everyday life.  They’re seldom used to harm anyone – they’re much more likely to be used to put food on the table. (Of course, if the need should arise to protect others from harm, they’ll do that job, too.  As an illustration, a carload of gang-bangers from a big city some hours away

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Ye Gods and little Vikings!

Finland has just hosted the world’s first Heavy Metal Knitting World Championship.  Why it was hosted at all remains an open question! Fox News reports: The task was simple: Showcase your knitting skills while jamming out to heavy metal music. “It’s ridiculous but it’s so much fun,” said Heather McLaren, an engineering Ph.D. student who traveled to Joensuu, Finland, from Scotland for the competition. “When I saw there was a combination of heavy metal and knitting, I thought ‘that’s my niche.’” The competition drew about 200 people, including heavy metal fans in a country where the musical genre is very popular. “In

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Ever heard of “rabbit hopping” as a sport?

I hadn’t either, until I came across this article about competitive rabbit hopping in Australia. A cute companion, a pest and a free lawnmower — that is usually how a domestic rabbit is described. Now ‘athlete’ can be added to that list, because rabbit owners are training up their furry friends to hop competitively, like a miniature version of the equine sport, show-jumping. . . . President of the Rabbit Hopping Society of Australia (RHSA), which was formed in 2013, Neil Worley, said hopping rabbits in Australia were yet to achieve elite status but were on the right track. Elite rabbits can typically

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OK, that’s long!

I was amazed to come across this video, during our recent travels, of the world record Texas longhorn bull. I’ve seen some cars and pickups here in Texas with longhorns mounted over the front of the vehicle, presumably to make a statement of some kind (cattle cars, perhaps?).  However, I reckon those horns would be far too wide for some of the traffic lanes on farm roads around here! Peter

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OK, this is worth a road trip!

I think I know where I’m taking Miss D. (and perhaps some friends) in January next year. Behold New Mexico’s ultimate pork fiesta: 43 pigs, 300 gallons of chile and 22,000 tortillas It’s 4:30 in the morning, and Anthony Guardian has a problem: His cooking oil is frozen. He’s getting ready for the 19th edition of the World’s Largest Matanza, an annual fiesta in the small city of Belen, N.M., that celebrates the state’s historic nose-to-tail hog-slaughtering festivals. Sixteen teams from across the state will gather in Eagle Park on this chilly late January day to feed traditional New Mexican matanza dishes

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“Beeramisu”???

Italian foodies are getting their serviettes (napkins) in a twist over tiramisu. It may sound like a confection, but tiramisu recipes are causing controversy in Italy as beer is added to the mix. The country’s foodies fear the mouthwatering mélange of mascarpone cheese, sponge fingers, coffee and chocolate could soon be unrecognisable as organisers of this year’s Tiramisu World Cup are inviting participants to create their own versions of the popular sweet with a twist, adding chilli, onions, wasabi, and even beer. . . . Mr Redi defended adding beer, saying: “I believe it is possible providing you can reduce the alcoholic content.”

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Some amazing wildlife photographs

Britain’s world-famous Natural History Museum has just released the results of its 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.  There are some spectacular images.  Here are just two, to whet your appetite.  Click each one for a much larger view.The winner in the category “Animals in their Environment”, from Spain, is Cristobal Serrano with a drone-captured overhead picture of crabeater seals on an ice floe.  (Oddly enough, despite their name, they don’t eat crabs!) Highly commended in the category “Animal Portraits”, here’s a lioness captured by Isak Pretorius of South Africa. There are many more photographs at the link.  Highly recommended viewing.

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Dragon Awards?

I received an e-mail this morning from reader Dennison S., who pointed out that the first two books in my current Cochrane’s Company trilogy are eligible for nomination for this year’s Dragon Awards, the biggest reader-selected award in the USA. I was flattered, of course, although I don’t know what my chances will be against luminaries such as Larry Correia, John Ringo et. al.  They’re the superstars in the mil-SF field;  I’m a relative amateur by comparison!  Nevertheless, he wanted to nominate my books, so I said he should go ahead.  I asked him to nominate the middle book of the

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