Yearly archives: 2011

Daily Blog 12/31/2011

  • She climbed out of the cockpit of her Fairey Barracuda and became instantly famous. Wearing a summer uniform of white shirt, dark tie and sleeves rolled above the elbows, she slung a parachute over her shoulder and shook out her long blonde hair.
    Back-lit by the afternoon sun, pilot Maureen Dunlop looked unbelievably glamorous.
    And when the picture appeared in 1944 on the cover of the magazine Picture Post, the world was convinced the Air Transport Auxiliary – or ATA – was an-all woman outfit.
    The ATA, or the “legion of the air” as it was known, performed an essential role during World War Two, delivering British warplanes from the factories where they were made to RAF airfields all over Britain. It was dangerous work which gave rise to incredible feats of heroism.

    tags: Spitfire WW2

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Itoshi No Kana

Amongst the many things distracting me in the last few months has been a website called Mangafox. It’s a site dedicated to’scanlations’ of manga series- scans of the originals translated and re-lettered by volunteers. It’s not legitimate, of course, but hey.

As I have a long standing interest in erotic comics I went looking for stuff in the Adult category. Two in particular got my attention. Koibana Onsen is the ongoing tale of an inn which specialises in erotic romantic getaways- and the various hang-ups of the staff. Itoshi No Kana is a paranormal romance which inspired a story idea from me.

Itoshi No Kana, according to the scanlators, means My Lovely Ghost Kana and concentrates on the relationship between the eponymous ghost and Daikichi. As the story opens Daikichi, whose name ironically means lucky, has lost his job and home and taken to squatting in an abandoned apartment block. Here he meets Kana, the ghost of the girl who committed suicide in the room he has chosen to inhabit. Their relationship soon becomes intimate, rescuing each other from their respective hells.

There’s a lot of sex in the first Kana book- the second is more concerned with their growing connection with the outside world- and it’s a lot of fun as well as being very hot. This is despite Japanese censorship rules which mean genitalia aren’t explicitly depicted- there’s a lot of allusion and, when that runs out, erections are often reperesented by a bar of white space.

Itoshi No Kana is a naughty example of the manga subgenre known as Magical Girlfriend. The MG can be an alien princess, witch or hot demoness who makes life complicated for some hapless protagonist. Most often, the protagonist and MG never get to consummate their relationship, continuing through endless scrapes punctuated by panty shots and other tittilation (aka fanservice). Kana ignores the rule of delayed gratification to tell a different story.

I’ve been tempted to do something Magical Girlfriend-y, on and off, for a while and Itoshi inspired me again. So I’ve started the tale of a young man who bumps into a girl who isn’t there as he crosses an old bridge. Having knocked her back into the physical world he becomes her lover and they embark on an exploration of hauntings, beasts and Boggles, all the while tracking down the man who killed her.

I see an episodic series, short stories with different monsters each time, but with an overall arc- the story of the ghost’s murder and revenge. The main characters’ sex life- and the mating habits of were-creatures, vampyres and assorted ghoulies- would be a major part of the stories. Not often enough to warrant the label of Paranormal Erotica (a popular genre on Amazon), but regular and hot nonetheless. So I’m going to do this series under my Garth Owen pen name, I think.

The first story in the series is tentatively titled The Girl On The Bridge and I’m 6000 or so words into it, using it to flesh out some details of the back story and world. I’m far too easily distracted by other ideas and stories I want to work on, but I hope to have this one finished soon.

Daily Blog 12/23/2011

  • What if Christian theology dismissed the virgin birth and other miracles as fairy tales? What if your pastor/priest told you to flush the Ten Commandments down the toilet and instead live life to the fullest? What if Sunday service at your local church consisted in a juicy orgy? All of this could have happened had Carpocrates had his way.

    tags: religion

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Daily Blog 12/14/2011

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Daily Blog 12/13/2011

  • tags: ww1

  • The illustrations obviously and unmistakably depict a Walrus/Seagull-V, albeit with an inline engine. Incidentally, the author of the definitive Walrus and Stranraer book has assured me the old Shagbat never ever used anything but a radial. Funny that it is depicted in Biggles with what looks like the Rolls double row 12 cylinder (as used in the Viking IV amphib). Anyway, the Seagull entered service in ’35 and BFA was published in ’34, but presumably Johns knew about the Seagull much earlier than its service date, being editor of Pop. Flying. Perhaps he showed Sindall pictures as a guide for the illustrations, and for whatever reason decided it should have a Viking engine. Once again, I’d dearly love to know what the author-illustrator relationship was.

    tags: Biggles

  • “Biggles” (nickname for James Bigglesworth), a pilot and adventurer, is the title character and main hero of the Biggles series of youth-oriented adventure books written by W. E. Johns.

    He first appeared in the story “The White Fokker”, published in the first issue of Popular Flying magazine, in 1932. The first collection of Biggles stories, The Camels are Coming, was published that same year. The series was continued until the author’s death in 1968, eventually spanning nearly a hundred volumes – including novels and short story collections – most, but not all, of the latter with a common setting and time frame.

    tags: Biggles

  • Gallerie 64bis is showing original art through the whole history of the French Heller kit company, from 1957 through to the present. The exhibition brings together some 60 original works by artists such as Michel Bez, Francis Bergèse, and Daniel Bechennec. These are little-known names outside their native country perhaps, but their skills are well worth a closer look – at the show if you can, or via the internet if you can’t. Either way, it’s good to see paintings free of the necessary commercial surroundings of titles and descriptive texts on the boxes.

    tags: model art

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Biggles and the casual racism 2

Biggles and the casual racism, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

We bought a lot of old books recently, including a few Biggles tomes. Biggles in the Blue was only lightly racist, with its references to "coloureds" and negroes. But five pages into Biggles Flies Again we get this little outburst from Algy- "Jungle Airways Limited, Joy Rides for Niggers, Flip-Flaps for Cannibals," when pondering running joy-rides in Guiana.
It was a more innocent time……

Daily Blog 12/05/2011

  • Are you angry that HMRC lets big business avoid huge sums on their tax bills? Are you concerned about the impact the cuts will have on our public services? There is something you can do! Help us take HMRC to court over the deal that allowed Goldman Sachs – the global banking giant- to get away with avoiding millions in unpaid tax.

    We are taking HMRC to court because we believe that their secret deal was unlawful. HMRC and Goldman Sachs can afford the best lawyers in town, so we need your help to take them on. It’s the people’s court case.

    Our fantastic lawyers are taking the case on a no-win, no-fee basis, but if we do lose our legal case we are likely to be liable for HMRC and Goldman Sachs legal costs, and we can’t imagine the bill is going to come cheap! Without this money we can’t continue with the legal challenge.

    tags: activism banks ukuncut

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Merlin 81mm smart mortar round

Another piece of history we’ve come across in amongst a load of other stuff in a lot. Having bought a lot of demi-johns last week I spotted the ammo tin which was bundled with them. These tins can be useful for storage and are worth a few pounds each. This one, however, had an interesting label on the side, proclaiming it to be from the Experimental Stores and contain 3 inert Merlin warheads for trials on a range near Glasgow.

The Merlin 81mm smart mortar round was a weapon developed a little too late. It was a fire and forget homing round which would seek out tanks at the end of its trajectory and guide itself in for the kill. Teams could fire the projectile from 4 miles away and at the top of its flight it would start scanning for targets- moving tanks for preference, what might be stationary ones as second choice. It was intended to be fired at the masses of Soviet tanks expected to roll across Western Europe should the Cold War go hot, and be more accurate and effective than just lobbing bombs and hoping.

The Merlin was considered superior to other guided or “smart” mortar bombs being developed at the same time if only because it would have been fired from a standard piece of kit rather than requiring its own dedicated launcher. Apart from the fall of the Berlin Wall rendering unlikely the conflict for which it was developed there were also issues with getting the electronics small and reliable enough. It only ever got to the testing stage, which is where this case is from.

You can own this piece of military history, because the case is for sale in the Spinneyworld eBay shop.

Information on the Merlin from here and here.

BORE, King of the Northpole

BORE, King of the Northpole, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

This document was issued to Warrant Officer W Papworth on November 5th 1945. The full text of the document reads-


We BORE, King of the Northpole and
The Land of the Midnight Sun – Do hereby declare that:

Warrant Officer Papworth. W.

did in this year 1945 with Our permission cross the Souther Boundary of Our
Realm – THE ARCTIC CIRCLE – in latitude 66° – 33 N for the purpose of
visiting Us and Our Queen Aurora Borealis and to chase the wicked Huns from
Our Lands.

By virtue whereof, We Bore, call upon all our subjects – Laps, Eskimoes,
Polar Bears, Blondes, Reindeer, Sea Lions, Whales and other Creatures of the
Frigid North, to show him due deference and respect.

Disobey under pain of Our Royal displeasure.
Signed This Day 5th Nov 1945
on Our Royal Iceberg.


[There’s a signature which has sadly faded]
Comd. of the Royal
Arctic Frontier Guard.”

The certificate has been framed to be displayed (the hook is actually and old ring pull araldited to the back) and must have hung in some proud veteran’s home for many years before I found it in amongst an auction lot along with copies of The Arctic Times- the most Northerly English language newspaper in the world. It’s not a grand official document of the war, but tells us something about the humour of ordinary soldiers sent to serve in far flung corners of the world.

This and other cool stuff can be found in the Spinneyworld shop.

Daily Blog 12/02/2011

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Daily Blog 11/29/2011

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Daily Blog 11/28/2011

  • While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

    tags: usa

  • As you work on your mystery or thriller, you suddenly realize that you need to know more about guns. You want to do some research so that you can take advantage of a gun’s individual characteristics in your story and what that says about your character. But you also want to avoid the most common mistakes. Where do you start?

    tags: guns weapons writing

  • You probably haven’t heard of a man named Stanislaw Burzynski. He offers a treatment called antineoplaston therapy, which he claims can treat cancer, in a centre called the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas. That’s quite a claim, but the Nobel Prize Committee does not need to convene quite yet, because this treatment has been in non-randomised clinical trials since its discovery by Burzynski some 34 years ago. Moreover, no randomised controlled trials showing the effectiveness of antineoplaston therapy have been published in peer reviewed scientific literature.

    tags: Burzynski bad science

  • John Amery (14 March 1912 Chelsea, London – 19 December 1945) was a British fascist who proposed to the Wehrmacht the formation of a British volunteer force (that subsequently became the British Free Corps) and made recruitment efforts and propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany. He was executed for treason after the war having pleaded guilty.

    tags: WW2

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.