Monthly Archives: February 2008

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Tortoise sets house on fire

A Berkshire couple returned home to find their house had been set on fire by their 70-year-old tortoise.

Emma, who also has a dog and two baby tortoises, said: “We were out shopping when we got a call from the fire brigade saying that our tortoise had set the house on fire.

Happy Birthday

Today Victor Hugo is 206 years old.

Toys and Tragedy

In later years, they’ll tell you grandpapa
Adored his little darlings; for them did
His utmost just to pleasure them and mar
No moments with a frown or growl amid
Their rosy rompings; that he loved them so
(Though men have called him bitter, cold and stern,)
That in the famous winter when the snow
Covered poor Paris, he went, old and worn,
To buy them toys, despite the falling shells,
At which, like they, laughed Punch, with all his bells.

From L’Annee Terrible (The Terrible Year), Jan 1871

More translations of his poetry

The Book House: Say Hello to Valerie

I’ve mentioned it before here several times. It’s my favorite bookstore here in St. Louis. The Book House.. I can’t visit without leaving with a book.

No, I didn’t go there this past weekend. However, this month’s Stlbloggers Blog Carnival asks for local paranormal events. And The Book House is haunted by at least one ghost.

We are located in a charming Historic Victorian House, built in 1865, about 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis where an eclectic mix of quality rare, out-of-print, new, and used books are tucked into nine rooms on three floors of winding staircases, filled with nooks and crannies and a dungeon we call the “Bargain Basement”. Our house is patrolled by two store cats Chaucer and Blake as well as at least one documented ghost.

That comes from the store website.

As legend has it, there is a small chamber on the second floor of the Book House in Rock Hill that was the favorite playroom of a little redheaded girl. It’s said she was the daughter of a nineteenth-century prostitute and may have drowned in a creek that once ran alongside the drafty farmhouse. Her restless spirit lives on, or so the story goes.

That’s from a June 2006 Riverfront Times article. That article’s main focus was the store’s pending closure. As I posted in October of 2006, the closure had been delayed “about a year or so.” We’re up to the “year or so” mark, and there are no hints on the website at least that it is pending.

I think perhaps the Ghost (whose name is apparently Valerie) not only helps patrons find books, but is helping the store stay alive.

Nader

Nader has announced he’s running again. I insist on taking the optimistic attitude and agree with Southern Beale’s analysis. He did so poorly in 2004 (0.38% of the popular vote) that there’s no reason to worry.

Updating Metaphors

The BBC is asking for ideas on how to update some metaphors.

The inspiration appears to be the declaration that a bridge in England will finally be painted after 100 years of painting. Since the task began, a job that takes so long one has to start over again immediately has been compared to ‘painting the Forth bridge.” But they’re predicting they won’t have to start again for at least 25 years, so it no longer applies.

(My favorite suggestion that was submitted by a reader was: looking for WMDs. Though that doesn’t fit exactly. “Fighting a War on Terrorism” would work, as I believe there will always be terrorists. “like deleting spam” is also a good update.)

Other phrases the BBC suggests needs updating:

Putting the Cart Before the Horse (reversing the natural order of things)
My suggestion: Put the comments before the blog post?

Sending Someone to Coventry (ignore them)
My suggestion: Sending someone to Siberia (perhaps outdated too)

throw a spanner in the works (deliberately sabotage)
My suggestion: Release a virus on the network

Spinning a yarn (tell a tale)
My suggestion: Creating work for Snopes

Giving a blank cheque
I’m not certain this is outdated yet. The BBC states that several British stores no longer accept checks. And many American stores won’t either. However, the banks do. A blank check still has the same power.

Doff of the cap to Quantum Tea

A thief with very big pockets

Stolen Bridge

I think the Czech police should question David Copperfield and see where he’s been lately. There apparently have been bridge thefts in Russia as well recently, and I haven’t heard anything about Copperfield in the US for a few years. Maybe he’s traveling.

What would you do?

You get an important email intended for someone not yourself. Let’s say a travel itinerary. You look up the individual on the internet, and find out their real email address (similar to yours explaining the confusion.)

What would you do?
A) Reply back to the travel agency, inform them they made the mistake, and provide them with the correct address, and where you found it.
B) Forward the itinerary directly to the intended individual, so that they know the travel agency made a mistake.
C) A & B
D) Nothing
E) Something Else

Do you think what you would do might change after repeated instances?
Would it matter if the person was involved in politics whether or not they agreed with you?
Would it matter if the person was politically active in a foreign country?

Purely hypothetical, of course.