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January 20, 2006

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I'm not falling for that whole "Oh poor me, I'm not well" ruse it's got going on either. They're coming inland to get us people!

Don't be silly, Edward: it's probably an American tourist that got lost on its way to Buckingham Palace. Happens all the time... :-)

it's probably an American tourist that got lost on its way to Buckingham Palace

*snicker* *snicker* *snicker*

hey, wait...I'm an American tourist when I'm in London...

it's probably an American tourist that got lost on its way to Buckingham Palace

Look kids, Big Ben! Parliament!

"I'm not falling for that whole "Oh poor me, I'm not well" ruse it's got going on either. They're coming inland to get us people!"

But are they trying to save worthy Brits from the mad clutches of Tony Blair?

Edward: this is probably the only thing about you that I find totally, flatly incomprehensible. I mean: the poor guy is lost, and he's so cute!

Edward: this is probably the only thing about you that I find totally, flatly incomprehensible. I mean: the poor guy is lost, and he's so cute!

Me too, H! I dont' get it.

I mean, if he were toy sized, I'd be all like "ahhhh...does the cutsie whalsie want a hug???"

but that freak of nature is 20 feet long!

Slightly off topic, but I bet that I'm the only ObiWi reader to have ever put his hand inside an Orca's mouth and given it a good tongue-scratching.

They're not scary in the least, Edward, and I know that doesn't make any difference to an animal phobia. Mine is big spiders.

Edward: hey, wait...I'm an American tourist when I'm in London...

Yeah, but you can probably fit into the Underground trains: there's no way this tourist could.

How do you get to Wales in the Tube?

it's probably an American tourist that got lost on its way to Buckingham Palace

If I had a Soylent Green flashback in reference to a certain well-known make of luggage, would that make me a bad person?

How do you get to Wales in the Tube?

I'm gonna guess it has something to do with Elephant and Castle, but I can't figure out what...

I give...how?

nevermind...it's "two whales" right?

"How do you get to Wales in the Tube?"

Is the answer related to the hoary Prince Albert in a Can joke?

When I was in England last time, a sperm whale had gotten lost and was trapped quite high one of the rivers (don't think it was the Thames) and in an attempt to get it out to sea, all traffic was stopped under the assumption that the noise was causing the problem. When it was announced on BBC radio, the announcer started to get the giggles. Unfortunately, the following story was about a military coup led by someone whose name was pronounced 'twat', which had the announcer completely lose it on the air, so much so that they did a rather extensive on air apology.

As you might expect, googling is a bit difficult, including those two words gets a number of hits that are not quite what I was looking for. Jes, do you remember this?

The googling also got this article about a 50 ton whale exploding in Taiwan. Just so you know.

Ans.1: Bakerloo, Circle, District, or Hammersmith & City.

Ans.2: Ask the gorillas to get out.

(Actually, I haven't got a good answer. I was thinking of a twist on the Mini jokes:

Q: How do you get 4 gorillas into a Mini Cooper?
A: 2 in the front seat and 2 in the back seat.

Q: How do you get 4 elephants into a Mini Cooper?
A: Take out the four gorillas first.

Q: How do you get two whales in a mini?
A: Over the Severn bridge.)

but it doesn't work without the setup lines.

lj,

That story brings to mind the famous Dave Barry column (entitled "Moby Yuck") about a deliberate attempt to blow up a deceased, beached whale in Oregon by, IIRC, the Coast Guard, in order to more quickly reduce it to the size which local scavengers would seek to prey on the carcass. The result was horrific, recorded by a local TV station and described with unmistakable glee by Dave Barry.

Dantheman,
Thanks, I found that piece here. Just to protect the reputation of the Coast Guard, they weren't responsible, Barry notes
The responsibility for getting rid of the carcass was placed upon the Oregon State highway Division, apparently on the theory that highways and whales are very similar in the sense of being large objects.

Maybe it has something to do with evolution--sea creatures adapting to land? A sea lion disrupted traffic on Highway 101 last summer. It was headed inland until the highway patrol got it reoriented and herded it back to the water.

But if you move to Kansas, it is likely that the ELEPHANTS will get you! The elephants, like the whales, are going after you, human, for your sins.

But if you move to Kansas, it is likely that the ELEPHANTS will get you! The elephants, like the whales, are going after you, human, for your sins.

The Oregon exploding whale was brilliantly explained by Dave Barry. But the curious might want access to more about it.

Here's a site dedicated to that spectacular 1970 event:

http://perp.com/whale/

They even have the video of news reporter Paul Linnman (who's still on TV in Portland, BTW) describing the event. The site is pretty slow, though.

[em]I'm moving to Kansas.[/em]

Don't even joke about that, Edward. I'm just here for the PhD, hiding out in the only progressive bastion in the state. I'm getting the hell out of here ASAP.

Not even for the pleasure of meeting you would I wish Kansas on you.

[em]I'm moving to Kansas.[/em]

Don't even joke about that, Edward.

Thanks for the warning Louise. I suspected I might not fit in, but if it's a choice between an overwhelmingly conservative popuation and humongous blood-thirsty aquatic mammals...

...you're right...I'll risk the whales. ;-)

Kansas: the land God ironed.

To me, whales are a lot like tigers. They're marvellous to look at--from a distance and where they can't do bodily harm to me (though in the case of most whales any harm would be purely unintentional).

though in the case of most whales any harm would be purely unintentional

NO! That's just the general public's perception because they've got great PR...these beasts are killers, I tell ya. Sinister, conniving, bullies not afraid to push their weight around to advance their diabolical plans.

This "cute" fella was most likely SPYING from the Thames. Reconnaissance for the pending war against the huma...hang on....

[[[...What?....I'm blogging.

Again? But I just took my meds....]]]

"these beasts are killers, I tell ya. Sinister, conniving, bullies not afraid to push their weight around to advance their diabolical plans."

Dunno about bottle-noses, but certainly one's sympathy for orcas can be severely taxed by watching footage of them playing hacky-sacky with baby seals. (And that's even after I buy into the slick PR rebranding that labeled them 'orcas' to begin with, instead of their previous, more descriptive name).

Your best way to bring people over, Edward_, is to pit cute against cute. Sure, in the abstract whales are cute. But baby seals are cuter--and did you see what those heartless whales did to that adorable baby seal?

Then your next move: toothed whales are carnivores, folks. They probably have a strong taste preference for baby seal over, say, skin-diver. But how strong?

Sounds like somebody needs some http://www.cuteoverload.com !!

hil:

compared to the California Central Valley, Kansas looks like western Colorado.

south of Sacramento: the land God ironed, using a boatload (Ark-load?) of starch.

Louise: how is Lawrence? I've a good friend getting his PhD in film there.

Francis, Lawrence is great. I'm a big city gal, but I'm enjoying hanging out in a smaller town and against my expectations, I've even got a bit of school spirit. Also, no whales.

Kansas has nothing on Eastern Colorado; the flattest land you've ever seen, if you can loosen the definition of flat to encompass planar, but not necessarily horizontal.

Kansas is also less flat than Florida and Louisiana and most of Illinois, but now I'm curious about how flatness is defined. Having driven through both Kansas and Eastern Colorado on one trip, I found Kansas much more full of gently rolling hills. Eastern Colorado is simply a table-top that's a bit off-kilter.

Wasn't an IgNobel prize given in 2004 to someone who proved that yes, indeed, Kansas is flatter than a pancake?

Comes as no surprise. At some scale, the Himalayas don't even register as mild irregularities.

R.I.P., big guy. :-(

ahh damn.

I was only joking.

That's a real shame. ;-(

Oh no. That's awful, if not entirely surprising.

There are parts of Kansas that I have driven through where I'd see a speck on the horizon, and a couple of hundred miles later it would reveal itself to be a water tower. Flat as flat can be.

The NYT headline: "Thames Whale Does Not Survive Rescue Attempt"

This makes it sound like the rescuers killed the whale. Cmon, headline writers, clarity, active verbs.

Rilkefan: This makes it sound like the rescuers killed the whale

Well, technically, they did, though it's true that the whale would likely not have survived if they hadn't made the rescue attempt.

Ichthyosaur hunts the Great Kansas Sea.


For that matter, there's "The Great Nebraska Sea".

There are parts of Kansas that I have driven through where I'd see a speck on the horizon, and a couple of hundred miles later it would reveal itself to be a water tower. Flat as flat can be.

To thrash an already over-thrashed point, if Kansas was perfectly flat in a cueball-round sort of way, an object 200 feet tall can be seen at the horizon from just under 20 miles away. It'd take some serious deviation from the ellipsoid to make the average water tower visible from hundreds of miles away.

More serious than, say, the spread between Florida's peak and low elevations (about 350 feet). That said, in some sense Kansas may be less locally rough than Florida, while also having far fewer trees, so you get far longer sightlines.

Have we beaten it to death yet, or do we need to go into terrain elevation variance and correlation distance? If so, I'm going to have to do research.

Which, not right now. Right now, I'm trying to convince my management to try and fish a very, very smart guy out of retirement so he can help me solve a problem I've been beating my head against for the last six months. Or even solve it for me; what pride I may have had in my own level of knowledge and ability has withered in the face of failure over time.

Slarti: true enough about the water tower. Nonetheless, I swear it did happen (I mean, I remember wondering, what is that? and not getting my answer for a couple of hours, at which point a water tower was revealed.) Possibly it was just an area of local real-non-cue-ball flatness.

Not doubting you, hilzoy. A combination of relative treelessness and large elevation correlation distance is probably what's at work here, along with, as you pointed out, God sanding flat a bit of the cueball.

Well this is how flat Iowa is: I could ride my bike twenty miles south into the wind, turn around and be pushed all the way back to town no hands.
I think I can explain the watertower phenomena. There is a water tower about every thirty miles all the way across the central plains. Each water tower is accompanied by two trees and a small building of some sort. You see one in the distance, watch it until out of boredom your attention drifts, then look again....

In the Netherlands (very flat - there is a reason biking is so popular :) ) we have ONE hill that is 308 mtrs tall and happends to be our highest point. So we named it st. Pete's mountain :).

LOL about the watertowers Lily

Slarti:Actually, I know about the flatness of Florida too, since my great-grandfather built a pink marble art deco tower (??!) (it was 'a gift to the American people', many of whom seem not to have noticed) on the highest point in peninsular Florida, which iirc is only a few hundred feet above sea level.

Holy crap; I never made the connection! I've been there a number of times; it's absolutely gorgeous. Well, the tower I've never been inside of, but the gardens are beautiful, particularly when the camillias are in bloom.

He did good work, your grandfather. I highly recommend the place despite its proximity to one of those dreaded places where gravity apparently doesn't work as one would expect.

Slarti -- glad you liked it (as one of its intended recipients). I do too, actually. It took a beating during the hurricanes (I think it was the season before last when two very bad hurricane paths crossed, essentially, in the middle of all those camellias), but is said to be recovering nicely. Luckily, very few of the huge old trees were damaged.

I have been inside (I was on the board for a few years, and so used to come through your neck of the woods a lot) -- it's quite nice, especially the carillon part and the bells. Also, I was thrilled when they got into the preservation of endangered plants a decade or so ago -- I think they do quite good work on that.

(Being on the board was kind of fascinating, in an anthropological way -- I was the youngest person there by at least twenty five years, had the lowest income by orders of magnitude, and didn't even want to speculate about how far off the charts I would have been in terms of wealth. At my first meeting, between sessions, I was sitting having tea with the various wives, and they were talking about table settings, and someone turned to me and asked how I set my table, and before I could think better of it, the honest answer popped out of my mouth, namely: I haven't been able to afford to get a table yet. -- At which point a silence descended over the room.

Ah, memories ...)

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