beige_alert: (fireworks)
In the book The Backyard Lumberjack (by Frank Philbrick and Stephen Philbrick) there is a section on lumberjack competitions. It includes this wonderful bit:

Chain saws are powerful and loud to begin with, but competitors in the hot saw competition have clearly decided that their chain saws need to be much bigger and produce a noise somewhere between the Rolling Stones being electrocuted in a Quonset hut and a cat in a cyclotron.

These people run fuels like methanol-nitromethane, which is ideal for people who really, really want maximum power and don't mind doing a major engine overhaul after every few minutes of operation. "I was warned that the stuff was incredibly flammable and unstable by a guy pouring the fuel back out of the saw, which had a dangerously hot muffler. I asked why it had to come back out, and why some of the fuel was leaking rapidly out of the saw..."

"We run mainly this methanol he-urr, ahnd it c'rodes thuh enjuhn to let it set in there. We hata put the gas back in and run it fer a minute t'clean her owt. Reason it's pourin' owt is I drilled a buncha howles ta let in mower ayer."

These fellas were from the Canadian border of Vermont and loggers by trade. Their accents were so thick, and endearing, and hysterical that I forgot that a man was telling me of a strategy wherein he intentionally drilled holes through the top of his gas tank. One might call it devotion.

He also mentions, "Though I personally witnessed only four hot saw competitions, I saw two accidents."

There is, I understand, a women here in Wisconsin who is both a strong competitor in the hot saw competitions and a grandmother.
beige_alert: (MilwaukeeRiver)
Today at the library I found The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers & Rogues, by George Choundas. This is a book about how to talk like a pirate. A 470 page book. With excruciating detail. Citations of the books and movies the phrases were found in. And, as an added bonus, printed on paper with printed-on browned edges and fake tears and bound with faux-aged cover, for the ancient text look. The mind boggles at the effort that went into this. It's not entirely clear who needs this book. I suppose you'll appreciate it if you are one of those people who takes Talk Like A Pirate Day really, really seriously. (You know who you are.) Also, it might be handy if you LARP aboard a pirate ship, though less so if you speak German on your vessel, unless you can convince the rest of the scurvy ignorants swashbucklers to learn English. (According to my plan, at this point [ profile] jaelle_n_gilla should be laughing really hard. I'm sure she'll let us know if my plan is a success.)

Good luck to you and a fair wind!
beige_alert: (Default)
The Bomb: a Life by Scottish author Gerard J. DeGroot, is not, overall, a funny book. One would not expect it to be, given that the subject is nuclear weapons. It does, nonetheless, have some funny passages. Like this one:

The first bona fide thermonuclear device was born in 1952. It was not a bomb in the conventional sense but more like a factory for producing an explosion. Nicknamed ‘Mike’, it weighed 65 tonnes and was two storeys tall. Most of its bulk was devoted to the refrigeration unit needed to keep the thermonuclear fuel at -250 degrees centigrade. Anyone familiar with American refrigerators should not be surprised at its dimensions nor at the capacity of the US to build it.


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January 2015



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