One of these things is not like the others

Can you pick which one of the following wacky facts is not true?

* During the cold war, the United States deployed nuclear-warhead tipped bazookas.
* While Governor of California, Ronald Reagan launched a dressmaker’s dummy into orbit.
* Pope John Paul II was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
* Alfred Hitchcock had no navel.

I’ll reveal the truth…. later on…

God Bless You Akismet

Over the last few months, the Wyrmlog has been getting more and more comment spam. I’ve been deleting it as it comes in, but when I got up yesterday to find 83 c0mments, all linking off to cialis and (for some reason) designer shoe sites, I decided enough was enough, and signed up to Akismet.

From the moment I activated it, not one spam has come through. God bless you Akismet!

(I’m assuming of course that legitimate comments are still getting through – haven’t had one yet to see…)

On another subject, Blondie released possibly the greatest song in rock-pop history back in 1999 and I’ve only just been informed? Inconceivable!

A Penny Drops Moment

Sadly, today is Dave Gorman’s last show on Absolute Radio. I’m vaguely thinking about tuning in live over the interwebs – if I can figure out the timezones and such – or I may just wait for the podcast.

In any case, one of the subjects frequently discussed on the show were ‘Penny Drops Moments’ – that is the moment when you suddenly realise something incredibly obvious that’s been staring you in the face for ages. I had one of those the other day, so thought this an auspicious date to write about it.

Many, many years back, when ah were just a lad (sorry, I seem to have gone all Yorkshire, give me a minute to apply a smack to the head… ouch!… that’s better), many years back there was a paranormal themed show named Strange Things on local radio station RTR. Every week the hosts would pick a ‘strange thing’ as a subject and put together a selection of interviews, music and general irreverent discussion about it. One week, they chose the subject of Satanism, and in between a biography of Aleister Crowley and ridiculous urban myths about Boya Quarry, they interviewed the self proclaimed ‘Pope D.K.D Cadaver’ of the Church of the Subgenius about his ‘Satanic Church of the Sacred Excrameditation Bowl and Divine Slack’.

This interview was a riot. You can actually judge for yourself just how much of a riot because one of the first things I ever posted on Wyrmworld was a transcription of it – happening to have recorded it off the radio when it was broadcast (the transcription even includes some audio files of the original ranting! Magic! :)).

I was reminiscing about this interview the other day, when I realised something. Something that had been staring me in the face for years. The name of the ‘Pope’. D.K.D = Decay D = Decayed. Pope Decayed Cadaver! An obvious reference to the Synodus Horrenda! D’oh!

The Synodus Horrenda, for those whose knowledge of weird and bizarre history isn’t quite up to scratch, is one of the strangest and most disturbing incidents in the entire strange and disturbing history of the Catholic Church. Known in English as the Cadaver Synod, it took place in 897 during one of the various power struggles that surrounded the Papacy, and involved the then Pope Stephen VI (or VII – it’s complicated) having the decaying corpse of his predecessor Pope Formosus dug up, and put on trial for various abuses of power. The trial mostly consisted of the rotting corpse being propped up on a chair while Pope Stephen yelled questions and accusations at it, and ended with the body being stripped of its Papal vestments, having its fingers cut off, and being thrown into the Tiber River.

(You may think Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair is weird – Catholicism has you beat every time!)

So there, a penny drops moment of the strangest kind!

This Land is Mine

In light of the latest news out of Israel, I thought it appropriate to direct readers to Nina Paley’s video This Land is Mine, which has been sitting around in my “stuff to blog about” pile for a few months.

I gave up on trying to figure out rights and wrongs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a long time ago. So much wrongdoing and so many atrocities have been carried out by both sides that as far as I’m concerned they’re both equally bloodied. The State of Israel has a right to exist in peace and security, but so do the Palestinians, and neither are going to get them until the fundamentalists on both sides (religious and otherwise) put aside their ideologies, pasts, hatreds and need for revenge and start over from scratch.

This, of course, is never going to happen. They’ll keep on fighting forever, or until one side is wiped out entirely. One is almost tempted to build a big wall around the Levant and let them get on with it.

Tom Waits seems to agree.

The Wyrmworld Personality Test: 2012

With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time to take stock and consider what one has accomplished over the last twelve months. To assist in this endeavour, Wyrmworld is proud to present our Personality Test for 2012!

Simply select the most suitable answer from the following questions, and calculate your score as indicated. Let’s go!

Question 1: When were you born?
A: Pre-1982
B: June 1987
C: Post-1989
D: I am old as time itself

Question 2: Which utility has the highest value on the standard monopoly board?
A: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
B: The Silvertown Munitions Factory
C: The Union Carbide Plant
D: The SS Richard Montgomery

Question 3: While enjoying some night fishing you are kidnapped by a rather disturbing merman. He agrees to let you go free, but only if you write a song that pleases him. What subject do you compose your song about?
A: A horse
B: A lovely horse
C: A horse that can’t remember it’s name
D: A lovely horse that can’t remember anyone’s name

Question 4: What is your favourite species of Mustela?
A: Mustela kathiah
B: Mustela strigidorsa
C: Mustela macrodon
D: Mustela altaica

Question 5: You are a 12th century peasant. One night, a hideous apparition of Death manifests in your hovel. How do you react?
A: Dance a merry jig
B: Offer it a foaming mug of ale
C: Point solemnly out the door
D: Play a Black Lotus combo

Question 6: You are a prosperous 17th century merchant. One night, a hideous apparition of Death manifests in your manor house. How do you react?
A: Dance a merry jig
B: Offer it a foaming mug of ale
C: Point solemnly out the door
D: Play a Black Lotus combo

Question 7: Death is impressed by your resourcefulness, and grants you a choice in your manner of passing. How do you choose to die?
A: Of fright during an exercise of the trained bands
B: Of Lady B____’s Cordial Water
C: Of the Merryandrew
D: Of October

Question 8: This cap do they hart of don Belly ease voutry-sidhe an axe implore?
A: Taque on sir sounding chew off non-split royal Belly
B: Nor of true perfect, treat a calf our volk down hull
C: Joonie downs a bath bowdlering wish pontoony fore!
D: Tre papilion as four treks lucid yous by dour ease diets

Question 9: If a fork-tailed doctor-killer leaves Albuquerque at 10:04am traveling west at a speed of 140 miles per hour, and a gliding electric show leaves Toad Suck at 10:14am heading south at full throttle, will their paths cross before observation of the green ray?
A: Yes
B: No
C: It’s entirely likely but depends on wind conditions
D: Trick question – there’s no such thing as a flying gas station

Question 10: Are you still reading this?
A: Yes
B: No
C: I gave up at hart of don Belly ease voutry-sidhe
D: Reading what?

Calculating Your Results: For every question you answered with A, score 1 point. For every question you answered with B, score 1.3 points. For every question you answered with C, subtract 0.2 points. For every question you answered with D, score 12.25 points. Add up your total score, derive its square root, then combine the second, fourth and sixth digits after the decimal point. This is your final score. Write it down and place it somewhere secure. Do not share it with anyone! When the time is right, we will make contact.

Civil Engineering

I just heard that Dave Gorman is leaving Absolute Radio, which means no more Dave Gorman podcast. Booooo!!!

(It also means that Magna Carta Travel and Discount Airfares will never make it onto Fail Lane, and Danielle Ward will never have to figure out what GBOB* means. Sad times indeed.)

But hey, life g0es on. Particularly in New York City.

Somewhat appropriately given the effects of Hurricane/Frankenstorm/Superstorm Sandy I was thinking a few weeks back about how one could go about protecting New York (or at least Manhattan) from sea-level rise – inspired by this particular post on BLDGBLOG.

I eventually decided that the optimum way would be the construction of a number of dams, as follows…

* At the southern end of Arthur Kill at Perth Amboy
* At the northern end of Arthur Kill at Bayway
* Across the Verrazano Narrows
* Across the Hudson River between the George Washington Bridge and Harlem River
* At the northern mouth of the Harlem River
* At the north end of Randalls Island
* Two dams at the south end of Wards Island – blocking the East and Harlem Rivers

Additional to these, levies would need to be raised along the Harlem River.

The idea would be to limit flow into Upper New York Bay to the Hudson, Hackensack and Passiac Rivers. The level of the bay would be controlled by letting water in through the Hudson dam, and pumping it out down Arthur Kill. If flow down the Hudson became too great, it would be diverted through the Harlem river into Long Island Sound.

What’s interesting about this idea is that the level of the bay would be highly controlled, meaning it could easily be lowered by a few metres. This would expose large areas of land for development – once they had been properly dried out and decontaminated from years of pollutants. Sales of the land involved could even make the entire project economically feasible – which it almost certainly isn’t at present 🙂

So that’s the idea. No real point to it, just an idle exploration of the hydrology of New York City that I thought deserved permanent recording before I forget about it and come up with some other crazy idea.

* I don’t know. Figure it out.

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