The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back to the bible

Another much-appreciated holiday gift was the brand new illustrated Book of Genesis by R. Crumb. I'm not going to go into much detail here, partly because I never discuss religion or politics, and partly because it's time to go make dinner, but it is absolutely a must if you're a fan of Crumb, a fan of the Judeo-Christian tradition, interested in mythology, were enthralled by the other great cartoonist of history and science, Larry Gonick, or if you, like me, wonder what it was they were smoking, back there BCE. Me, I've read it twice already, since Christmas.

Seriously, grab a copy, if you can find one, before Sarah Palin becomes President and bans it. It's great stuff, and the friends who got it for me managed to find a hard-bound edition -- they're apparently in short supply.

As Gilbert Shelton said ...

"That's the first hippy who didn't want to stay and get stoned. I guess you guys can put away the stones."

Gil Shelton, as I'm sure you all know, is the author of many a fine comic strip, including the iconic Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Since the eponymous trio in that series espoused drug abuse as a hobby, avocation, profession, and art form, you will remember or can easily imagine that the word "stoned" appeared frequently, in literal usage and as a pun. So with a bow to Shelton and the brothers, I follow suit, and announce that I got stoned for Christmas. In particular, an old friend stoned me.

If you look at the accompanying picture, you'll see two of the stones in question, a pair out of a set of nine dimensionally identical soapstone cubes, intended to be kept in the freezer and used in lieu of ice cubes in one's glass of whiskey. They work just fine, bringing the creature to a nice cool state, not icy cold but definitely below room temperature (it occurs to me that despite owning at least three kinds of thermometer which would have told me just how cold, I haven't performed that simple test. Oh, well.)

The other items in the picture are all, of course, necessary ingredients in the making of Splunge, the traditional Serbo-Elbonian holiday drink (the required three-quarters of a kilo of ground squirrel (not to be confused with groundsquirrel) were still in the double boiler when we took the picture.)

Anyway, thanks from the stonee to the stoner and Sláinte (pronounciation) to all, in anticipation of New Year's! ... are there any women here today?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Drink responsibly

Or if not responsibly, at least with proper reverence for the elderly molecules in the bottle.

Over the holidays, we opened a 22-year-old bottle of a California varietal, and by God, it was drinkable!

The summary is, when we cleaned out my parents' old house up in Shiawassee, there were a few bottles of this and that in the basement, including a 1988 Marilyn Merlot. No idea where they got it or why they hadn't consumed it, but we brought it back home and hung on to it, tagging it for opening in 2008. Somehow, that didn't happen, and so we brought it out this year, assuming it would be vinegar. To my astonishment, it was drinkable -- a bit oxidized, perhaps, but drinkable. Hadn't even become noticeably brown.

For more on the topic of opening the legacy wine, see my old article elsewhere.

How the mighty have fallen

Ok, not the mighty, so much, as the cost of storage. Not too many years back, the VP of IT where I worked was fond of saying, "disk is cheap," and basically refusing to talk to you unless you were talking in terabytes. Somehow, though, he never really delivered any of that cheap disk he kept talking about. (He was, essentially, a slime ball imbecile rat bastard, but that's completely beside the point.)

Anyway, for a range of reasons, I just ordered a new USB standalone drive for my home machines -- 1TB at a grand total of $95, shipped free. And that's for a single unit -- those of you who do real IT and don't pay for the trappings that go with wrapping up a terabyte for consumer purposes are paying a lot less than that. What hath God wrought?