Heh

Once again, Stephan Pastis nails it.  (Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the “Pearls Before Swine” Web site.) I don’t know about tow trucks for happiness, but I reckon there are dump trucks for its opposite . . . Peter

Continue reading

A lovely toy for well-heeled shooters

I’ve always liked double-barreled side-by-side shotguns.  I recently came across this early-19th-century muzzle-loading example at Down East Trading Co. in Canada.  (Click the images for a larger view.) It comes in a lovely baize-lined case, complete with all original accessories. The shotgun is made of Damascus steel.  These close-ups show part of the patterning.  (Of course, it’s only safe to use with blackpowder loads.)   The company describes the shotgun as follows: We are pleased to offer an exceptional example of the work of Durs Egg who was one of the most famous London gunmakers of the early nineteenth century.  The piece is a

Continue reading

One perfect day in Sarajevo

In the light of my comments earlier today about the Superbowl halftime show, and as a counterpoint to the blatantly in-your-face sexuality on display there, here’s one of my happiest fan memories.  It’s the finals of the Winter Olympics figure skating competition in Sarajevo in 1984.  British couple Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean performed an absolutely spectacular routine that won perfect marks for artistic merit across the board, an unprecedented achievement in the Olympic Games.  It was a magical moment that enshrined them forever in the pantheon of ice skating heroes.  What’s more, they did so in a refined, gentlemanly and lady-like fashion, with

Continue reading

Saturday Snippet: “The Night Life of the Gods”

Thorne Smith was an American satirical author who flourished in the first half of last century.  Two of his books were made into successful Hollywood films, and his acerbic humor and biting wit made him a best-seller.  Many of his books are still in print. One of my favorites among his novels is “The Night Life of the Gods“. Very briefly, Smith’s protagonist, Hunter Hawk, and his light o’ love, Megaera, bring to life a number of statues of the Greek and Roman gods in a New York museum.  They then set about introducing the now-living gods to modern city life. 

Continue reading

Stocking stuffers from friends

Several friends have published new books in recent weeks.  Here they are, in no particular order. First, J. L. Curtis (more widely known as blogger Old NFO, among other things) has published the fifth and last volume about his protagonist, John Cronin, in the “Grey Man” series.  (It was originally planned as a trilogy, until he got carried away!)  This one’s titled “The Grey Man – Twilight“. The blurb reads: Never count an old man out, even when he’s hanging up his hat! Deputy Sheriff John Cronin is looking forward to a quiet retirement, working on the ranch, and handing it off

Continue reading

Ever heard of “khinkali”? Suddenly, I’m hungry

I’ve had dumplings in many and varied forms, from the American standby of chicken and dumplings (the latter not being “dumplings” at all in the classic sense, but simply dough cooked in the chicken sauce), to Chinese dumplings (and their closely related cousin, potstickers), to variations of the theme in many countries.  I’ve enjoyed most of them. However, until I came across this article, I’d never heard of “khinkali“, a dumpling claimed as a native dish by Georgia. At the height of summer, Tbilisi is a heat trap. Ringed on three sides by an amphitheatre of mountains, the Georgian capital sits in a valley where stifling, humid air collects.

Continue reading

Sneaky – but it paid off

The Miami Dolphins seem to make a habit of bringing off tricky plays that fool their opposition.  They did it again last weekend, with this fake kick at goal that turned into a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.  Miami won the game 37-31. It came almost exactly a year after the Dolphins’ famous “Miracle in Miami” touchdown against the New England Patriots, which still draws admiring and disbelieving comment from fans across the spectrum.  The play took place with only 7 seconds remaining in the match.  Talk about a nail-biter! Full marks to the Dolphins for both scores.  They aren’t in contention

Continue reading