Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gotta learn to do this

Next up, try an Icee.

Bear Woman and Freckled Faced Woman - Arapahoe, 1898

The Sockburn Worm and the Conyers Falchion

According to legend, around the time of the Norman Conquest, a huge man-eating dragon with poisonous breath, here more properly described as a worm, wyvern or flying serpent was terrorising the Sockburn area (known before 1066 as Storkburn) in England . Sir John Conyers took up the challenge to slay the beast. Before heading out he visited a church in his full armour and offered the life of his only son to the Holy Ghost. After killing the worm he buried the hideous beast under a large stone which is supposed to still be visible today.
"Sr Jo Conyers of Storkburn Knt who slew ye monstrous venoms and poysons wiverms Ask or worme which overthrew and Devourd many people in fight, for the scent of poyson was soo strong, that no person was able to abide it, yet he by the providence of god overthrew it and lyes buried at Storkburn before the Conquest, but before he did enterprise it (having but one sonne) he went to the Church in compleat armour and offered up his sonne to the holy ghost, which monument is yet to see, and the place where the serpent lay is called Graystone."
(From British Museum MS Harleian No. 2118, fo. 39, circa 1625-49)
A Wyverm is different than a dragon:  wyvern (/ˈwvərn/ weye-vərn), sometimes spelled wivern, is a legendary winged creature with a dragon's head and wings; a reptilian body; two legs; and a barbed tail. A sea-dwelling variant, dubbed the sea-wyvern, has a fish tail in place of a barbed dragon's tail.

There's a legend surrounding the Conyers falchion, where the sword is said to have been wielded by Sir John Conyers when he slew the Sockburn Worm in 1063. The Conyers family probably came from France to England around the time of the Norman Conquest (1066 and all that). They were granted the manor Sockburn-on-Tees (formerly known as Storkburn) in County Durham in the 12th century, according to the legend because of Sir John's slaying of the dragon. The sword was later presented to the Cathedral of Durham and from that day on each new Prince-Bishop of Durham was presented with the sword upon entering their new Bishopric for the first time in the middle of the River Tees. The senior Conyers offered the falchion to the Prince-Bishop as a sign that he recognized the Bishop as his overlord, and then the falchion was returned to him and he was quit of all services. It lapsed after 1771, and wasn't performed in over 200 years. The falchion was kept at Sockburn Hall, but in 1947, it was presented to the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral by Mr. Arthur Edward Blackett. The ceremony was revived in 1994, when the new bishop took office. It includes the following presentation speech, traditionally made by the Lord of Sockburn;
"My Lord Bishop. I hereby present you with the falchion wherewith the champion Conyers slew the worm, dragon or fiery flying serpent which destroyed man, woman and child; in memory of which the king then reigning gave him the manor of Sockburn, to hold by this tenure, that upon the first entrance of every bishop into the county the falchion should be presented."
The Sockburn Worm itself was almost certainly immortalized by Lewis Carroll in his famous nonsense rhyme, "Jabberwocky", as he lived in Croft on Tees as a boy and it was there he wrote the first verse of the rhyme. There's a theory that the legend has its roots in the slaying of some marauding Viking chieftain, who made their raids using dragon-headed longships, but that would be a too mundane an explanation.

                                                         The actual Conyers Falchion, which indeed appears capable of slaying a "Worm."

Relaxation plan complete.

Learn something new every day

I especially like the cackling laughter when the superficially ridiculous plan comes to quick fruition.

Via, naturally enough, Small Dead Animals

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I have enjoyed great satisfaction from my climb of Everest and my trips to the poles. But there’s no doubt that my most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and medical clinics. Edmund Hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

A walk on the wild side.

C-17's stacking up.

Members of the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., conduct a multi-ship C-17 Globemaster III formation during Crescent Reach 15 on May 21, 2015. This exercise tested and evaluated Joint Base Charleston's ability to launch a large aircraft formation in addition to processing and deploying duty passengers and cargo in response to a simulated crisis abroad. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Corey Hook)

Why you can't climb a tree to get away from a black bear

A group of bison hunters visiting Wood Buffalo National Park in north eastern Alberta, Canada, watched a bear climb a power transmission tower and raid a ravens' nest earlier this month. Linda Powell of Greensboro, North Carolina, shot the photos and video on May 10. 

The bear on the way up.  That is a really long way - I guess bears aren't afraid of heights!

Woo hoo, it's Saturday!

The perfect river

I can't decide if I'd rather jump in and swim, or sling a Kastmaster into those pools to see what might bite.  There's gotta be some nice trout in there.

Sometimes you just have to smell the daffodils

Spring has sprung

Swimming hole of dreams

Bob drank what he wanted, whenever he wanted, because he was a cat.

Freckles, they are good.

Something about snow in the desert....

Cabin Porn

Northern Lights edition

Fuel leak!

Somebody better have a fire extinguisher.

Friday, May 29, 2015

In your dreams, dude!

Cabin Porn

This one's in Austria.  You can tell because of the Teutonic precision that has gone into stacking the fire wood.

A snippet of Kurosawa's genius.

A calm and focused bowman is a good thing to have.

I hear you, sister

I shouldn't admit this, but I once took a hammer to a soda machine that took my money for the umpteenth time without disgorging my drink.  It took the beating without a word.  I felt much better.

Unleash the cheetah!!

I can't wait for this to be weaponized.

Zuckerberg's big mistake

In the summer of 2009 Facebook turned down WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton for a job.
Like any other dejected interviewee, he used Twitter to express his glass half full disappointment: "Facebook turned me down … looking forward to life's next adventure."
That adventure helped inspire Acton and partner Jan Koum, a Ukrainian immigrant whose childhood experience of Soviet era surveillance, to create the WhatsApp messaging service. Now a blockbuster deal with Zuckerberg's Facebook has turned them into multibillionaires.
In poignant nod to Koum's rags to riches success, the deal was signed in a now empty office block where his family once collected their food stamps.

So much for the image of the intellectual superman

 According to an estimate by a U.S. education company, some 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from American universities last year alone – and the main reasons were poor grades and cheating.

The survey comes amid reports that federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh have indicted 15 Chinese citizens for allegedly taking part in a college exam scheme.
Stacked up against the huge numbers of Chinese students who go to American universities every year, the failure rate isn’t so bad, WholeRen said, though it does suggest a change in the once-shining image of students from China.
“Chinese students used to be considered top-notch but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat,” said Chen Hang, chief development officer at WholeRen, which is based in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Students from China account for nearly one-third of all international students in the U.S., taking the single largest share, according to a March report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Financially strained public universitiesare aggressively recruiting students from abroad.
Unlike American students who more frequently enter programs that fit their capabilities, Chinese students care most about the reputation of the school, trying hard to get into the top universities. But in reality they are not always prepared to study in highly-competitive programs, said Mr. Chen. More than half of the Chinese students expelled were from top 100 U.S. universities, the survey found. Cheating at exams, plagiarism and finding other students to write papers for them were frequently cited as the specific causes of expulsion, the survey showed.

Friday Open Road

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

One of my neighbors just had this fine load of hay delivered.

All the cattle in the field all looked like this.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Caleb Earwood and his fiancée Maggie wanted to pray together before their ceremony, but didn’t want to be seeing each other before their vows.

Demonstrating the type of commitment and honor our country needs. May they prosper.

Funniest thing I've seen today

The link

A clip filmed with a smartphone shows a formation of Special Ops helicopters at work north of Baiji in Iraq.

Although the quality of the footage is pretty bad, the clip in this post, filmed by Iraqi forces north of Baiji, Iraq, is extremely interesting.
It shows a formation of four U.S. MH-60 and two MH-47E choppers, followed by two more Black Hawks, flying at very low level during a mission somewhere in Iraq.

They are probably on their way back from doing something, as it's said they almost always operate at night.  I'll bet the Iraqi/Kurds there were glad to see them go by.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015