December 2, 2020

Saturday Brunch, POLITICS-FREE EDITION, October 24, 2020

Hello friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready for brunch?

Okay, I’ve had enough. I don’t want to hear ONE word about politics today, especially in the comments section. NOT today, boys and girls. We are gonna brunch-out on some beautiful pics, some science, news, and some  random human weirdness. And if anyone even mentions a certain resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, I will triangulate your ip address, find your home, drive there (yes, even you Aussies and Brits) knock on your door and then…

Well, actually I’m not sure what happens next. Still working on that. But my imagination is fertile.

The City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center rescued a pig who was living in a fraternity house. It was still young, but Petunia the Pig will grow to about 100 pounds. The pig is up for adoption now because, as the Animal Service Center argues, “Pigs aren’t meant to live in frat houses”. Which begs the questions of whether the fine public servants at the ASC have ever been inside of a frat house.

The City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center says they have rescued a pig who was living in a fraternity house.

“I was the cleanest one there.”

Surprise: You have a new organ in your head! Well, technically it’s been around as long as your head has, but scientists have just now discovered it. 

a new set of salivary glands has been found hiding behind the nose

Now, unfortunately, this is not a second brain or a biological radio transmitter. That would have been cool. It is actually a salivary gland. But still, it’s the first new human organ discovered for 300 years. So I guess that is cool enough.

Also in science: Betelgeuse is closer than we thought. And also smaller than we thought. More specifically the famous star is only 66 percent the size astronomers previously had it pegged at, and 25 percent closer to us. The upshot is that Betelgeuse isn’t in danger of going supernova anytime soon, as some astronomers had postulated it might.  They now calculate it could take 100,000 years before it gets to that stage. Just one more thing 2020 has taken from us…

At least Queen Elizabeth will likely get to see it.

Ever wonder what kind of damage a 1cm aluminum ball would do to a block of aluminum at 150,000 miles an hour? Of course you have.

If A Sphere Of Aluminum 1 Cm In Diameter Hits A Block Of Aluminum At ~15,000 Mph (Space Debris Impact Research Conducted By The ESA)

Space debris impact research by NASA; second ball added for scale, cuz the first ball is no more.

Hey, do you ever use a set of headphones? If so, you might want to examine the insides before you plop them on your noggin, at least if you live down under. Cuz this is what happened to Olly Hurst, after he put on his headphones and felt a “tickle” in one ear.

Yes, that is a rather large Huntsman Spider.

But how do you kill that thing without sticking your hand in to pull him out?

May I suggest playing some country music?

You ever hear of a rock band from Oklahoma called The Flaming Lips? Yeah, me neither. So why are we talking about them? Because they figured out a way to hold a full-house concert while still practicing safe-social. Hey, I think I just made up that phrase! Safe-social. Kinda like Safe-sex, but for Corona times.

Anyway, back to The Flaming Lips. How did they do it? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

The Flaming Lips Want to Take Its Space Bubbles on Tour - Variety

Yes, for the entire concert both the band members and the audience were in large plastic bubbles.

SOO many questions here:

  • How do you disinfect those things?
  • What happens if you have to tinkle?
  • I wonder if this would work at our church’s Christmas Eve Candlelight service?

So, what do you do when your country has sunk 5 billion into making a nuclear power plant, and then, just before it is set to open, Chernobyl happens? Well, if you’re Germany, you sell it to a Dutch investor Hennie van der Most. And his son, Hennie van der Least. Okay, I just made that part up. Sorry. And what does Mr. Most do with it? First, put up a hotel and then add a theme park. Because why not?

You can visit a theme park in Germany - built in a former nuclear power plant

The nuclear power plant never opened, and was instead bought and converted to a theme park


One of the rides is built into the cooling tower

It’s October. I think I heard some baseball is going on. Not sure.

Speaking of boring sports (sorry CM and Richard) I appreciate that some ice hockey teams are trying new things to spark interest, but it’s still a hard no from me:

Best YouTube comment on the above: “2020 on ice”.

Do you remember the Boaty McBoatFace story? You know the one where the British government thought it would be a good idea to let the internet vote on the name for their new 218 million research ship. And then reneged when “Boaty McBoatface” won in a landslide? You remember that, now?

Yeah, well IKEA didn’t.

They put out a FaceBook poll to name their new store in Valladolid, Spain [which, by the way, is the coolest name for a city ever] to name the street next to their store.  The winning entry?

      Calle Me Falta un Tornillo

Which translates to:

       I’m Missing a Screw Street. 

At least IKEA rolled with it.

España Bizarra — Calle Me Falta Un Tornillo (Arroyo de la...

Okay, I know I said no politics, but I’m going to have to make an exception for Kit.

And, hey, did you know you can find online pictures of taunting squirrels? Because of course you can.

I Can Has Cheezburger? - taunt - Funny Animals Online - Cheezburger

By the way, The Taunting Squirrels would be a great name for a rock band. Much better than The Flaming Lips.

Cell phones on the moon? NASA announced Wednesday that they will fund a project by Nokia to build a 4G cellular communication network on the moon with $14.1 million.

The space agency must quickly develop new technologies for living and working on the moon if it wants to realize its goal to have astronauts working at a lunar base by 2028, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a live broadcast.

Man, their Instagram feed is going to be LIT.

Astronaut taking a selfie on Mars" Baby One-Piece by Whynot123 | Redbubble

Ran across this gravestone pic this week. I guess I can’t complain about my first name being Danny.

Did you know that Nikon has a “Small World” photography competition each year? Here are some of this year’s winners:

Human hair:

Human hair

Bogong moth

Bogong moth

Skeleton preparation of a short-tailed fruit bat embryo

Skeleton preparation of a short-tailed fruit bat embryo



Water Boatman

Water boatman

Tongue (radula) of a freshwater snail

Tongue (radula) of a freshwater snail

By the way, the winning shot was the zebrafish. You can find a LOT more (including videos) here. I actually found the 2019 entrees more fascinating.

So, finally, I suppose we should mention the Halloween season. I kinda hate to, though. Why does Halloween now get a season, complete with whole yard-fulls of skeletons and tombstones and orange spider webs, when thanksgiving, a much, much cooler holiday, only gets a day?

Besides…do we really need a Halloween season this year? Hasn’t 2020 been Halloween?

And trick-or-treating seems redundant. I’ve been wearing a mask and eating candy for six months.

Maybe I’ll dress up as the Corona Virus and scare anyone who’s read The Masque of the Red Death.

I was just joking about that, but then did a quick search, and viola:

Mixed reviews: Is the COVID-19 Halloween mask tacky or timely? | The Kansas City Star

Ok, fine. I’ll quit being whatever the Halloween version of Scrooge is. We will conclude our brunch by serving up a delightful montage of 50’s horror films (I think Chaplain Mike is an extra in a couple) set to, of course, The Monster Mash. Full-screen that baby (and yes I just made full-sreen a verb; deal with it)

One last thing. I have been thinking for the last couple months of re-starting a blog. Something with some humor and some ideas and a forum. I had insomnia last night and started working on it. Just a shell now, but more to come. And the forum works. You can see it here if you like, and suggestions are welcome.


  1. “Josie” is not such a bad name.

  2. Susan Dumbrell says

    The privilege of living on the other side of the world: I get to post early!!
    No politics involved I promise.

    The rain is pouring down by the bucket full.

    I see myself out in the rain swinging from lamp posts like Gene Kelly.
    No umbrella, just with my walking stick held high..
    Now that could be a video/movie worth money. A whole new remake of a classic movie.
    Of course I am already a classic!

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Yes, but you guys have REALLY big spiders…

      • Pellicano Solitudinis says

        I’ve got a whopping great huntsman living on my front verandah. Should I wish to mention the T-word, and you decide to come after me, you’d have to get past the Australian Border Force, quarantine for two weeks, get past the Tasmanian biosecurity people, quarantine for another two weeks, and then get past the spider. Good luck with that.

        Seriously, though, the big ones are mostly harmless. The non-human animal most likely to kill you in Australia is actually the horse.

    • Pellicano Solitudinis says

      Hello Susan, I’m glad you and your garden are getting some rain. We got ours earlier this week. Yesterday I found an elder tree in bloom and made some strawberry and elderflower cordial.

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        Love Australia.
        My friends are still ‘holidaying’ in your part of the world.
        They can’t get home with their campervan
        They send me lovely photos.

      • thatotherjean says

        Strawberry and elderflower cordial? Sounds delicious!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I see myself out in the rain swinging from lamp posts like Gene Kelly.

      Though these days “Singin’ in the Rain” is more apropos to Clockwork Orange than Gene Kelly.

  3. Hi Daniel,

    I can swear off discussing the inhabitant of Pennsylvania Avenue. But not the occupant of 10 Downing Street.

    But I will do this in a way that is not about him, rather about a young man of 22. He plays football (that’s real football with 11 a side and passing, not American football) for a club you may have heard of called Manchester United, and for England. He is, these days, very wealthy.

    Ten or twelve years ago he was growing up in poverty on a housing project in the south of Manchester, knowing that his mother was having to go without to ensure he could keep up with his training so the football club would carry on with him. He hasn’t forgotten this, and he has been campaigning to ensure that children get the wherewithal to be adequately fed while schools are out (far too many English children have to rely on what schools provide to get one hot meal a day, and with a lot of schools still closed, you can see the problem).

    The devolved governments in Wales and Scotland (and I think Northern Ireland) agreed to cover the cost of feeding children for the mid-term break. The government led by the man in 10 Downing Street refused to cover the cost for children in England, citing concerns that the money would be wasted by the parents.

    The same week, the menu of the Houses of Parliament’s restaurant was posted online, showing that catering for MPs (paid a basic salary of £80000) is being heavily subsidised.

    The young man – his name is Marcus Rashford – is still campaigning, and businesses all over England are chipping in to say “we will provide food”. Many of them have lost a lot of money due to lockdown. A number of local authorities have done the same. When invited to praise the community spirit shown…

    …the 10 Downing Street spokesperson repeatedly declined to do so.

    This is not politics. This is about common humanity. Delete it if you must, but do go and check Rashford’s Twitter feed and wonder what has become of us.

    • It’s disgraceful. Wealthy nations, including yours and mine, should at least feed their own children. Kudos to Marcus Rashford.

      • Pellicano Solitudinis says

        The measure of a good society is how well it cares for its most vulnerable members. By that measure, the US is a stark failure. The UK, and Australia, used to do better.

        • And what do all three of those places have in common? Murdoch-owned media outlets. Food for thought.

          • Yes, ever since Klasie a few days ago mentioned the Murdoch-owned media outlets connection to certain kinds of internal strife (see, Daniel, I resisted using the p-word) in countries where they reside, a light has come on in my perception. Rupert Murdoch is the real George Soros, but he plays for the other side.

        • “Are there no workhouses?”

    • Andrew Zook says

      Great news James! I follow football, but am not a fan of the Manchester clubs (rather happy to see them down the table so far) and so I don’t pay particular attention to their star players like Rashford. But wow, that’s amazing what he’s doing and despite the club he plays for, he’s earned my respect. This advocating for the the great good is something we all need to find ways to do in these times… time to throw out the “i’ve got mine, forget you” attitude.

    • “This is not politics. This is about common humanity.”

      That is where you are wrong. Common humanity is very much political. We might wish that there were a universal consensus that a civilized nation does not let its children go hungry. Sadly, this turns out not to be the case. Absent such a consensus, the statement “a civilized nation does not let its children go hungry” is inherently political. This is why I am unimpressed with calls to keep politics out of sports, religion, or whatever. The person making this plea doesn’t understand the issue.

      Speaking of sports, I am forced to make the political observation that American football has eleven on a side and features passing.

  4. Testing one two three.

  5. turkey buzzards
    circle above, time
    on their side

  6. I don’t like the bubbles. Reminds me of “The Prisoner.”

    • I am Number Two. You are Number Six. We require information…

    • The bubbles are another iteration of all the new kinds of trash that are going to end up in our landfills because of the pandemic – beginning with millions of masks. Any fabric that has polyester (a petroleum product) will take generations to disintegrate. This whole issue is a huge disadvantage to modern people always needing to have “new and improved”. I know people gotta create, but it seems no thought is given to consequences and limits.


      • Very relevant observation. Recently I read about how toxic is the processing of the rare metals that are mined and processed in China for our smart phones and other devices. It’s a far away disaster happening in remote Mongolia, I think: out of sight, out of mind, but the piper demands payment.

        • Norma Cenva says

          It took awhile for me to cut ties with my ‘smart phone’ and rid myself of its siren-song and its endless array of baubles and bangles.
          I’m glad I did though, it was very freeing to be no longer mired in a digital dung-heap.

          • Pellicano Solitudinis says

            It’s hard to manage without a smartphone these days, and a big part of the problem with them, from a waste and human rights POV, is how often we replace them. Buy secondhand and use it until you really do need to replace it, and then recycle it. If you can afford it, and they’re available where you live, consider a Fair Phone. They’re not perfect, but they are working hard to make smartphones that are not environmentally or socially harmful.

        • We could do it here but that pesky EPA drives up the costs too much.

          Basically a rich deposit is sort of like most gold deposits these days. It’s there but in very small quantities and you have to use lots of acids and other interesting chemicals to separate out the stuff you want. And with lots of rock dust left over. Tons and tons and tons left over.

    • thatotherjean says

      And some people complain that wearing a mask forces them to re-breathe carbon dioxide. I wonder how much people are re-breathing in those plastic bubbles by the time the concert is over?

  7. Around here a lot more of church’s are having Trum ….. er, I mean Trunk or Treat this year.

  8. Lunar base by 2028? Ain’t gonna happen.

  9. Dan from Georgia says

    I have heard of The Flaming Lips.

    They wore pink bunny outfits on stage before.

    • I have several of their albums. Some of the strangest song titles ever. But some of their songs are brilliant and can be quite poignant…? Melancholy?

      • Dan from Georgia says

        I agree with your comment on their song titles. I only have one album by them…Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell”…now there is a song title guaranteed not to find its way onto the K-Love playlist!

        • That was the first album of theirs I bought as I was intrigued by the reviews and the “concept album” idea. Great album. Then I went back and discovered some others. This one is also top-notch:

          HIGHLY recommend it.

          Oh, and read about THIS album(s)….

          Four different CDs, intended to either be listened to separately OR by playing the discs in any combination SIMULTANEOUSLY on 2, 3, or 4 cd players!!!

          Another good album…
          Check out THOSE song titles!!!

        • Regarding “Yoshimi…”, this from All Music’s review:


          Few bands can craft life-affirming songs about potentially depressing subjects (the passage of time, fighting for what you care about, good vs. evil) as the Flaming Lips, and on Yoshimi, they’re at the top of their game. “Do You Realize??” is the standout, so immediately gorgeous that it’s obvious that it’s the single. It’s also the most obviously influenced by The Soft Bulletin, but it’s even catchier and sadder, sweetening such unavoidable truths like “Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?” with chimes, clouds of strings, and angelic backing vocals. Yoshimi features some of the sharpest emotional peaks and valleys of any Lips album — the superficially playful “Fight Test” is surprisingly bittersweet, while sad songs like “All We Have Is Now” and “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell” are leavened by witty lyrics and production tricks. Funny, beautiful, and moving, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots finds the Flaming Lips continuing to grow and challenge themselves in not-so-obvious ways after delivering their obvious masterpiece.


    • they sound like ‘fire-eaters’

  10. For those of a certain age and hobby, I bear bad news. Lenard “Leomund” Lakofka, prolific D&D author and contemporary of Gary Gygax, died yesterday. In memorandum.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I remember the Spiritual Warfare types rejoicing at Gygax’s death:
      “Now he knows all about DEMONS and HELL!”
      I hope this Lakofka was too obscure for them to notice.

      • You must follow those creeps much more closely than I do.

        I was surprised by the volume, and respectfulness, of the coverage of Gygax’s death in normie media.

      • And yes, I don’t expect much notice for Len’s passing. He said as one of the major contributors to Dragon Magazine back in the 80s, and wrote numerous well acclaimed AD&D modules, but he never actually worked for TSR/Wizards and he’s been really low profile for decades.

  11. My favorite Halloween song is “Werewolves of London” — “If you hear him howling around your kitchen door/better not let him in/Little old lady got mutilated late last night/Werewolves of London again…”

    • If you hear werewolves, send lawyers,guns and money.

    • Back when I was in my early teens my parents bought a record album for me as a Christmas present. The album contained the song “Frankenstein,” which for some reason they thought was the same as “Monster Mash.” I must say I appreciated their mistake much more than they did.

      The album’s name, by the way, was “They Only Come Out at Night” by the Edgar Winter Group. The album featured a young Dan Hartman as well as Rick Derringer. “Free Ride” was the other big hit from that album.

      • “Frankenstein” was an AM radio hit back in the early 1970s, when I was in middle school. You could hear a lot of good music on AM back then, though AM sound quality was less than optimal. But under the right atmospheric conditions, you could hear a major NYC AM radio station all the way down in FL, or so I’ve been told.

        • The skip allowed my radio, located on the remote northern California coast (where we had one AM station and one FM station), to receive a decent signal from Salt Lake as well as one from Portland. A bit of fun when you’re a teenager falling asleep…


        • I used to listen to WNBC-AM in New York on my transistor radio at night in central Virginia, where I grew up. You might recall Wolfman Jack, whose programs were broadcast for some time on a powerful Mexican AM radio station which could be heard across much of the United States after dark.

          • Dan from Georgia says

            I remember Wolfman Jack from the Midnight Special.

            I love that album by the Edgar Winter Group!

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            You might recall Wolfman Jack, whose programs were broadcast for some time on a powerful Mexican AM radio station which could be heard across much of the United States after dark.

            — George Lucas, American Grafitti

          • When a teenager in Southern California, we used to listen to the Wolfman on “the mighty XERB,” broadcasting from Baja California. XERB was so powerful you could hear it on the moons of Neptune.

            Bit of trivia: The great blues singer “Howlin’ Wolf” inspired Robert Weston Smith to become “Wolfman Jack. “

          • thatotherjean says

            If you listened to music on the radio when Wolfman Jack was on the air, you haven’t forgotten him/

        • In western KY we could listen to WLS and their sponsor Grand Spaulding Dodge and the muscle car ads. At night for sure and many times during the day. Can’t remember if there was more time devoted to MoPar muscle cars or rock and roll.

          And if you wanted country music you could listen to the station our of New Orleans at night. Forget the call letters.

        • thatotherjean says

          Robert, you could certainly get both Boston and Chicago on AM radio in Northern Virginia in the 60’s, when the atmospheric conditions were right. My college roommate in Kentucky, who was from Massachusetts, used to listen to a Boston station when she got homesick, too. AM radio hadn’t been taken over by religion and right-wing talk shows yet, so they still had some excellent music.

          • There was an early right-wing AM radio talk show host in the NYC area in the 70s named Bob Grant. I think he started in Chicago and LA radio, then moved to the East Coast. He was loud, combative, angry, and offensive, and I think he was a forerunner and trailblazer for much of what we have seen metastasize over the last couple decades in political talk show media. Without him, there would have been no Rush Limbaugh, and for that matter no Don Imus or Howard Stern. Too bad he didn’t choose a more innocuous path in life, instead of one that inspired all kinds of equally noxious imitators.

            • thatotherjean says

              Amen to that, Robert. He inaugurated a genre that has done a great deal to divide us from one another.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The album contained the song “Frankenstein”…

        THAT was the Big Thing during my senior year of high school; I remember another senior lip-synching to it using a push broom as a microphone. You have just started earworming me with that flashback — especially that long electronic riff halfway through.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      In my college days, I ran into one guy who used to freak out people in elevators with sound bites from that song. Board the elevator, wait for the doors to close, go “Little ol’ lady got mutilated late last night — Werewolves of London again!”, then get out at the next floor.

      Speaking of werewoofs, here’s a hithchiker on Bray Road:

  12. At least Queen Elizabeth will likely get to see it.

    Made me smile.

    • God save the Queen. Seriously. She’s made mistakes for sure, but I find her to be a very admirable woman.


      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And he’s outlasted every other occupant of the British Throne — even the previous record-holder, Queen Victoria.

        (Difference is, when VIcki was in Buck House, the UK was the British Empire THE Superpower of its day. Now the UK is back to where it started, a backwater island off the coast of Europe, a minor regional power at best.)

        • However, they (or at least a sizable portion of them) still think of themselves as that superpower. The Brexit negotiations with the EU are about to disabuse them of that delusion.

      • Christiane says

        I agree. The Queen IS a remarkably admirable woman. I really don’t think she ever knowingly put a foot wrong.

  13. Steve Newell says

    When I would ask my dad a question with an obvious “yes” for an answer, he would quip “Is the Pope Catholic?”.

    I don’t know if we can make that quip anymore.

    • Very big news on the Pope front. Very big. But, for the purposes of today’s no-politics Saturday Brunch, is it religious news, or political news? There just doesn’t seem to be any clear border between the two, does there?

      • Steve Newell says

        I am treating the Pope’s statement as both religious and cultural.

        The US and Western Europe has been moving always for cultures based only Christian teachings and traditions.

        It’s only political if one wants it to be.

        • It is my belief that by endorsing same-sex civil unions the Pope is moving toward a more Christian position, not away from it.

        • Christiane says

          I think Pope Francis is looking out for people on the margins. He’s got a lot more compassion than makes many ‘christians’ comfortable, but in the end, I think he gets what the ‘gospel’ is really all about.

      • “Very big news on the Pope front”. I don’t see the big news. Since his days in South America he has always preached acceptance and love of same sex couples. If it is big news, it would not be because of same sex but because he differentiates civil and sacramental marriage. That has broader implications, even for opposite sex couples.

        • Well, yes, I was thinking of his endorsing the idea of same-sex civil unions. The U.S. Cardinals certainly think it is big news and a big deal, since they have criticized the Pope for that endorsement.

          • Well, some of them have criticized him for it.

          • About 10-15 years ago, I started speaking to people in my faith community (Lutheran and various Baptist) about the separation of civil and sacramental marriage. It made perfect sense to me, but others were shocked I even brought it up. You would think I was promoting murder or something. It upset people more than same sex marriage. It made perfect sense to me as an example of separation of church and state, but I realized church and state separation was only given lip service in my faith community.

            Back to Catholic, his words may have most profound impact for divorce/re-marriage for heterosexual than same-sex.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says


            • “I realized church and state separation was only given lip service in my faith community.”

              And it’s not just yours. Almost all Christians, deep down, think it would be much better if *their* tradition was in charge of everything.

          • Also, in my wilderness experience, the main reason I never went further down the Catholic path was the complex rules about communion and sacramental marriage. I find them very outdated and hurtful.

            • Agree. On a couple of occasions it has been the main thing preventing my wife and me from joining the RCC (in my case, I would be reconciling to the RCC), that is, the rules re: divorce and remarriage.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > differentiates civil and sacramental marriage


    • When I was growing up in a Catholic family, the quip used to be “Is the Pope Italian?”, since the vast preponderance of Popes have been Italian. Of the 266 Popes, 217 have been Italian.

      • Technically, so is Francis. His father and maternal grandparents immigrated to Argentina. He’s a citizen of Argentina, but ethnically very, very Italian.


      • no, no

        the ACTUAL saying is:

        Is the bear a Catholic? Does the wild pope shit in the woods? I think that’s it. Something like that. Maybe.

    • Funny how conservative Catholics are all “papal/church authority” when debating us Prots, but when the Pope says something that contradicts their own ideas and prejudices… they become more Protestant than Luther. :-/

    • “I don’t know if we can make that quip anymore.”

      I would say rather than the Pope has a broader conception than do many, of what is encompassed within Catholicism. Considering what that word means, I think he has a point.

      • Christiane says

        Pope Francis chose as his ‘pope’ name FRANCIS, taking the name from the reformer Francis of Assisi.

        So we had heads up that this guy was going to make waves. He’s not afraid of going out into the deep waters.
        I think his ‘conception’ of the gospel is kind and generous and loving and caring, and if anyone wants finger-pointing, let them go look at the Franklin Graham, a man who is not like his father.

    • He dresses Catholic for sore…

  14. Impressive stereo usage on the Monster Mash clip.

  15. FYI
    “Australians are unlikely to fly to the United States or UK on Qantas for another year, with its chief executive outlining that this could “potentially” happen “by the end of 2021”.

    “For some of our big destination like the United States and the UK, it’s going to need a vaccine given the high prevalence of the virus in both of those locations,” Qantas Group boss Alan Joyce said at the company’s AGM in Sydney on Friday.”

    Since the absolute maximum time I can spend on an airplane is 5 hrs, going to Australia has never been on my bucket list.

    • 5 hours will get you from Hot’lanta to L.A.

    • I did the flight from LA to Sydney about 10 yrs ago. 16 hrs. Wife booked us seats on starboard side just in front of stern galley where there was room for me to take standing breaks. I loved the east coast. Ocean and beaches are beautiful. People are fine. I doubt I’ll do that trip again via flight, but I might hire on a merchant ship heading that direction.

  16. What if you have to go to the bathroom. Can those Flaming Lips bubbles accommodate a porta-potty contraption?

  17. By the way, The Taunting Squirrels would be a great name for a rock band. Much better than The Flaming Lips.

    After watching the video of the burning ice resurfacing machine, I think “The Flaming Zambonis” might also be appropriate. And I couldn’t help but chuckle at the “2020 on ice” comment.

  18. Why do we have a Halloween “season” now? Because it’s the only time we allow ourselves to think about death, and even then it’s “ha ha, so funny – look at that cute inflatable ghost!”. We First Worlders no longer live in a time (or place, importantly, because some people still do live in such places) in which everyone would have experienced the deaths of several close family members by the end of their teen years. We don’t even deal with the bodies of our dead anymore; the mortuary whisks them away from home or hospital. We don’t allow ourselves to mourn; we have “celebrations of life”, when there is a memorial gathering at all, and we very rarely ever gather at the actual grave site I find all of this far more detrimental and traumatic to our collective cultural psyche than the actual trauma that goes along with the death of our loved ones.


    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Yeah, all good points

    • I think before it’s all over the novel coronavirus may change some of that. Not all of it though, because it certainly has worsened the modern practice of separating the ill and dying from the “healthy” and survivors.

      • One would think, but… if you happen to live where the virus load is low (for whatever reason) you may not know anyone who has died of COVID. And even if you do know someone, unless it were someone in your immediate household, that wouldn’t necessarily keep you from claiming that it’s all a hoax. The number of COVID-deniers out there is mind-boggling.


        • I think we are about to enter an entirely new phase of COVID, wherein what was averted in the Spring, health system overload, becomes a reality in the late Fall and Winter. We are rapidly reaching the point of no-return. 1100 people died from COVID a couple of days ago; the number of new cases and hospitalizations are through the roof in many places around the country, and ICUs are getting full in a commensurate way.

    • I live in a rural area. We still have a graveside service, usually after a service in a church or a funeral home. However, it is usually just family and closest friends that attend that portion.

  19. In mod.


  20. Comment to Dan in Georgia in mod

  21. Love the idea of your blog, Daniel. Looking forward to it.

    Also love this… “Come for the pandemic, stay for the community” LOL!!!

  22. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Betelgeuse is closer than we thought. And also smaller than we thought. More specifically the famous star is only 66 percent the size astronomers previously had it pegged at, and 25 percent closer to us.

    That just puts it at the size of Ceres’ orbit instead of Jupiter/s.

    And Betelgeuse isn’t spherical. There are constant eruptions on its “surface” that give it a constantly-changing irregular shape, with “bulges” constantly rising and falling with bright and dark areas like giant sunspots, blowing off dust clouds that can block its light. THIS is probably the best guess as to how it looks close-up:

    Ever wonder what kind of damage a 1cm aluminum ball would do to a block of aluminum at 150,000 miles an hour? Of course you have.

    Looks like the battleship armor plate test photos in my 1929 Britannica, except sectioned. The splash crater at the impact point where the metal flowed and splashed like water, and the spall cavity on the other side. Apparently the text block was thick enough that fragments didn’t spall off the back face.

    You ever hear of a rock band from Oklahoma called The Flaming Lips? Yeah, me neither.

    Moderately-weird band name. And their COVID adaptation is clever.

    By the way, The Taunting Squirrels would be a great name for a rock band. Much better than The Flaming Lips.

    Okay, you asked for it.
    (From the names, a lot of these have to be Punkers.)
    Came up with a fictional band name myself in case I ever needed one:
    * Crazy Children in the Attic (with their hit “Chickenbone Chant”)

    A couple years ago over at Slacktivist, the commenters came up with a list of Left Behind-inspired band names. Here’s the only ones I can remember:
    * Steaming Piles of Fresh Produce (and their hit “Drenched in Butter”)
    * Fetuses of the Damned
    * Romanian Robert Redford

    We will conclude our brunch by serving up a delightful montage of 50’s horror films (I think Chaplain Mike is an extra in a couple) set to, of course, The Monster Mash.

    Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s greatest hit, a regular on the Dr Demento Show for the entire time I tuned into it.

    Here’s another one of his from Dr Demento:

    And just search YouTube on “bobby boris pickett” to see his entire inventory.

    * Whore of Babylon

  23. Thinking of weird things that animals do. (and I will try to do the story as well as Jacqueline Gerber reported)

    A person was at a bank’s ATM late at night and saw masked intruders inside the bank. They alerted the police, who contacted Animal Control and ASPCA. The bank’s manager came and opened the door when help arrived. They chased the small racoons around the bank until they left via an open door. No body, human nor animal was hurt.

    Later, muddy footprints were seen on a nearby tree. The guess is that they entered the bank via the air vent and fell through a ceiling tile.

  24. Daniel, my editorial pencil is ever at the ready, and I’m sure it was just a typo, but you said viola when what you obviously meant was voila ….

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      You know, it looked funny to me, but it was very late at night and I was like, “whatever”

    • petrushka1611 says

      I’ve started purposefully taking common misspellings into my speech for my own amusement. I will say “viola” instead of “voila”, especially since I’m a musician. “Needles to say” is another personal favorite.

      I don’t have many friends….

  25. I have a comment in the penalty box again. Maybe this one will suffer the dame fate.

  26. Great Saturday Brunch, Daniel.

  27. Since no one has addressed the elephant in the middle of the room, I’ll do it.

    Regarding IKEA: No matter what you call it, it’s still a horrible, horrible, over-rated store offering bland, faux designer furniture created by fake designers with names like Lars, Helga and Nils. Had IKEA existed in the 19th Century, Kierkegaard would have addressed its existence most severely, most likely in a book called “Either/Or Anything Other Than IKEA.”

    There, that needed to be addressed.

    I feel much better.

    • But…but… I’m sitting right now on a Poang chair that I got from Ikea. It’s comfy. I love it. And it was cheap.

  28. that BOGONG MOTH

    looks like the hats our great-aunt Clara used to wear to church, the bigger the better

    Great Aunt Clara was a woman so mean that when she FINALLY kicked the bucket
    everyone came to her funeral just to make sure she was dead

    they dont make ’em like her anymore they don’t make those hats like that either – some looked like they were decorated with road kill

  29. thatotherjean says

    “They don’t make those hats like that either.”

    Anonymous, you need to search Google for “Church lady hats.” You’d be surprised.