The Macabre Mnemonics of Nogglestead

So, the other night, I was grilling chicken and pork at the same time, and I had separate tongs for each for sanitary reasons.

The tongs were not the same size, but I could remember easily which was for which meat.

The longer of the two was for the pork. Because who can forget long pork?

I would have posted this on Facebook, but there’s this one guy that I used to work with that would always thumbs up every cannibal joke I made (like this one seven years ago, which I also posted on Facebook along with Donner party gags from time to time). Which was creepy.

Probably as creepy as making cannibalism jokes, but I’m not that self-aware.

Book Report: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844-1846, 1999?)

Book coverWell, I finally finished this book.

I read the comic book adaptation of this book last year, and I knew that the comic book adaptation left a lot of things out–I suspect there are panels in the comic with scenes that are hundreds of pages apart in the book. My beautiful wife read the book not long after we saw the film in the theater, so I ordered myself a nice copy to read. And I picked it up in November not long after passing The Villages At Monte Crist. And it has taken me six months to read it.

The book is essentially three books in one, and I only liked two of them.

The first part of the book tells about how Edmond Dantès, a sailor, who returns to port happy to see his fiancée Mercédès, but a disgruntled shipmate, a ne’er-do-well, and a rival for Mercédès frame Dantès as a Bonapartist after the restoration. When the prosecutor reviews the case, he discovers his own father’s involvement, so Dantès is sentenced to the remote Chateau d’If. He passes fourteen years there, his lonely days broken when an abbe from an adjoining cell breaks through into Dantes’ cell. They spend years studying together and planning an escape, but it’s only the abbe’s death that gives Dantès the chance he needs. Once free, he finds the buried treasure left behind by the abbe, whom everyone thought was mad because he offered millions for his freedom–millions that nobody thought he had.

The second part of the book and, sadly, the biggest portion of the book deals with what has happened to everyone else during the years of Dantès’ imprisonment and his travels and studies before he returns to Paris. The people who framed Dantès have prospered. Their children have come of age. So a lot of things go on, and the independent characters who are not the title characters have their chapters, kind of like in a Stephen King novel, but they don’t get killed by flying soda machines shortly after you’ve read a couple thousand words on them. The second part also includes the return of Dantès, now styled as the Count of Monte Cristo, to Paris to exact revenge and some parts of him putting his plans in motion, but it’s a lot more intrigue than action.

The third part of the book details his plans coming to fruition, and how he has set each up to fail according to his strengths. So the third part, with its action, moves along a little faster. As his plot goes on, though, Dantès starts to wonder if the collateral damage in his revenge makes him evil.

It ends, not with a reunion of Dantès and Mercédès, but a happy ending never the less. Dantès really grows as a character, which is rare for an action book, but Dumas has a thousand pages to play around with here.

So I enjoyed the first and last parts of the trilogy, so to speak. And I’m glad to have read it even though at times I did not enjoy reading it. Overall, though, I prefer The Three Musketeers, and I have one or more sequels to it around here somewhere. Which I’ll get into in a couple of years, I reckon.

As I Was Saying To My Beautiful Wife…

on a warm spring night, a little chilled white wine is a treat.

You know who agrees with me? Ned Flanders from the Simpsons.

And a Ned Flanders-themed metal band.

Don’t look for Okilly Dokilly on my music balance lists any time soon, though. It’s a bit of a shame that some metal bands have to do a gag or something to get attention.

But if they’re having fun with it, go with it. They got to make an appearance under the closing credits on a Simpsons episode, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.

The 21st Century, Where All Weather Is Above Average

Powerful ‘bomb cyclone’ could trigger 50 mph winds in Ozarks:

A powerful “bomb cyclone” storm that’s expected to bring blizzard conditions to the high plains states has prompted a high wind advisory today for Springfield and southwest Missouri.

The National Weather Service in Springfield said wind gusts of up to 50 mph are likely in our area through 10 p.m. Wind gusts up to 40 mph are expected through Thursday.

The high wind and relatively dry air is increasing the risk of wildfires in the Ozarks.

Spoiler alert: It is neither a bomb nor a cyclone, both of which mean different things, and cyclone is another meteorological phenomenon that serves as a poor metaphor for the rotation of a low pressure system. Also, bomb is a sudden explosion metaphor, and a low pressure system is not a sudden or fast thing.

Why not call it a regional coldnado? Or should I not give the headline writers at Weather.com ideas?

You know what we call wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour at Nogglestead? Normal for spring.

I am starting to get the sense that all the meterologists are millenials whose life experience consists of reading contemporary reports of how nothing has ever been like this before.

Book Report: Poems by C.S. Lewis (1964, 2016)

Book coverI think my beautiful wife gave me this book right after I read The Screwtape Letters (Three years ago? Are you kidding?), but I might be retconning it.

I’ve read it now between bonzer thousands-of-lines poems in the collected works of Keats that I’m ambling through, and the books are not dissimilar. As a matter of fact, if you put Keats, the Christian-themed chapbooks I tend to read, and modern quality into a blender, you might get C.S. Lewis’s poetry.

The poems are grouped thematically. We start with some with the most Keats flavor, a series of poems retelling folk tales and mythological stories and then move into more modern concerns, lamentations about politicians and progress, and some reflections on God as would befit the best known apologetic from the twentieth century. I flagged a couple of his poems so I could come back to them.

Such as “Lines During A General Election” which begins:

Their threats are terrible enough, but we could bear
All that; it is their promises that bring despair.

I also flagged Re-Adjustment, the first of Five Sonnets, and Footnote to All Prayers (which is by far my favorite).

So the book was a pleasure to read, and it (like The Screwtape Letters) made me want to read more by C.S. Lewis.

But for now, it’s back to the Keats for me.

I Hope That Guy Got A Raise

You know, broccoli producers of the world sell broccoli whole, or they cut the top off and sell it marked up as broccoli crowns, or they cut it even shorter and bag it as broccoli florets (sold at a premium), which leaves them with lots of broccoli stalks that, what, get sold for silege?

Until now.

Now they can shred the previously wasted broccoli stalks and sell it at a premium as “broccoli slaw.”

That, my friends, is innovation.

We All Know The Ultimate Goal

How the Army plans to use Microsoft’s high-tech HoloLens goggles on the battlefield:

The Army recently invited CNBC to see how it will use specially modified Microsoft HoloLens 2 headsets. They’re part of a $480 million defense contract won by the company. The military wouldn’t say how much its version costs, but the consumer one costs $3,500.

We all know why the army is going with Microsoft here.

They want Halo Spartans.

(Link via VodkaPundit at Instapundit.)

Box Wine Sold Here

When I saw this on the wine list, that’s what I thought:

But instead of just snarking, I did some research, and apparently wine in kegs is a thing:

The next time you ask your waiter what’s on tap, the answer might surprise you. How about a Calera Pinot Noir or Bouchaine Chardonnay? A growing number of restaurants and bars are putting kegs of wine behind their bars, pouring wines by the glass from a tap. While the trend is not a new one, it has finally caught on as wineries, restaurants and consumers alike discover that the wines are good and there are economic and environmental benefits to kegs.

Wine drinkers can find keg wines in wine bars and restaurants all over the country, with high concentrations in California and New York. Two Urban Licks in Atlanta has a wine wall 26 feet tall with 42 stainless steel barrels of wine on display. There’s even a Whole Foods in Dallas that sells wine on tap.

It makes sense, I suppose.

The Little Mysteries of Nogglestead

So I go out to light the grill for lunch (which I can do as I work from home), and I see a yellow line drawn on the rear wheel of the truck that we park outside:

I had driven it the night before, and my first thought was whether I had hit a curb and not known it. But I dismissed the thought because the mark would have been circular, not a straight line.

I thought perhaps one of my boys had drawn a chalk line on it for reasons of his own, but I didn’t recollect the boys playing outside the day before or that morning, and I hadn’t seen chalk where they could get to it.

Then my mind went to creepy thriller territory: What if someone else drew a line on my tire for some weird purpose?

Then I saw yellow scattered on the ground near the grill itself:

Pollen.

It had rained overnight, most of the night, I guess; I slept through much of it. But it rained enough for water to stand at the boundary of the asphalt and concrete in our driveway, as it often does, and the pollen floating atop the water affixed to the tire. By the time I went out to grill, though, the water had disappeared, leaving only the line of pollen. And a little mystery for me to solve amid my preparations for grilling a couple of steaks for lunch.

But maybe that’s what the creepy chalk wheel marker wants me to think to lull me into a false sense of security.

Better Than A Classic Rock Coffee Album Cover Quiz

This week’s Bleat by James Lileks has a banner image of a comely woman reclining on a scattered collection of LP covers (and, presumably, LPs, but it’s a drawing, so we’re actually assuming everything).

Last year, I did a couple of posts about the album covers hanging at Classic Rock Coffee and how many of the albums I have (I and II).

So how did I do vis-à-vis the Bleat banner?

2. Frank Sinatra’s September of My Years and Dean Martin’s Houston.