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Meanwhile, in Russia…

Yup, that’s a nekkid woman swimming in below-freezing seawater.

The rationale:

Braving sub-zero temperatures, she has thrown caution — and her clothes — to the wind to tame two beluga whales in a unique and controversial experiment.

Natalia Avseenko, 36, was persuaded to strip naked as marine experts believe belugas do not like to be touched by artificial materials such as diving suits.

The skilled Russian diver took the plunge as the water temperature hit minus 1.5 degrees Centigrade.

The taming of the whales happened in the Murmansk Oblast region in the far north-west of Russia at the shore of the White Sea near the Arctic Circle branch of the Utrish Dophinarium.

An area of the sea is enclosed to stop whales and dolphins getting out and instructors tame the mammals before they are transported to dolphinariums around the world — a practice many animal conservationists consider cruel.

— “Princess of whales: How a naked female scientist tries to tame belugas in the freezing Arctic.” Daily Mail, 16 June 2011.

Let’s assume that their theory is correct and that the belugas do not enjoy contact with artificial materials, such as diving suits.  This would be an argument for taking off one’s gloves, at best.  What other parts of the human body do belugas need to be familiarised with?

The staff at whatever aquarium or zoo these captured belugas end up in are going to be wearing wetsuits, after all.

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The price of greatness is responsibility

One cannot help but chuckle all the way through this post by Chris Manno (a.k.a. Jethead).

Yeah, it’s all about the four stripes. A lot of stuff changes the day you put them on.

Sure, there’s the instant recognition from coworkers. They know the reality behind the symbols of authority and reflect that in their very manner. That’s the outward effect. Inward? Well, you know you’ve arrived.

…You have to be confident to earn the respect of the Cabin crew, plus that of your fellow pilots, who are secretly happy about the fact that you have the four stripes, not them, although they do love to kid around. Never mind that it could be–SHOULD BE–them in the left seat now occupied by your sorry lard ass, no one’s bitter.

— “Airline Captain: It’s all about the prestige.”  JetHead, 18 February 2010.

The closing image and caption are not to be missed.

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Kyle Franklin’s drunken pilot act

Your correspondent can’t decide whether Mr. Kyle Franklin (of Franklin’s Flying Circus) is a daredevil barnstormer in the tradition of the Golden Age, or just a dangerous lunatic who should have his ticket pulled.  The shopworn adage about there being old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots comes to mind.

One thing is certain, though—he must have big brass ones and a lot of skill to pull this off on a regular basis.

Cat business trip

An ad for Japanese travel booking website Jalan, featuring spokes-cat Nyalan.   I would rather see this guy than the overplayed Travelocity gnome any day of the week.

FYI, the fish-shaped card he’s pushing across the table is his business card.  And the product he’s presenting/demoing is a paw-shaped manju.

The Metafilter thread where I found it is also full of win:

Laugh now, but I feel sorry for whomever has to decipher the poor grammar on that cat’s expense reports.


…Often, we don’t really realize what we have until it’s gone, and it’s good to have tender moments like these to help us reflect on the importance of our loved ones. I know that I, for one, will go back to my apartment tonight, pick up my cats, and tell them, “WHO WANTS TO GO ON A LITTLE BUSINESS TRIP. WHO IS A CAT BUSINESSMAN. YOU ARE! YOU ARE KITTY BUSINESSMEN! WHO’S GONNA MAKE THE STOCK GO UP. MEEP MEEP, YOU SO HUNGRY FOR FISH”

And there’s plenty more where that came from:

Nyalan’s summer vacation:

Nyalan prepares for a big date:

Nyalan visits a hot spring:

Nyalan gets a massage:

Nyalan visits a traditional hotel:

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Nerddom and aging

You know you’re getting old when the intersection of décolletage and geekery produces an “ewww”, not a “wow”.  For me, a woman dressed as Darth Vader is the opposite of sexy.

No offense to Evening Arwen, whose creativity we can admire, but I’m trying to imagine the circumstances under which I would want to see anyone bedecked in this attire, and I’m coming up with a “no thanks, I’ll take the soup” every time.

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Learn to Dance: Riverdance

I was never a big fan of “Irish dancing”, but I am little awestruck by Fintan Maher’s raw talent in an art form he has never previously studied.  Here he demonstrates how a talented amateur can pull off a Michael Flatley routine in front of an audience.

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Learn to Dance: Lady Gaga—Bad Romance

Your correspondent was blessed by Nature with the rhythm and raw dancing talent of a blindfolded, epileptic bull in a china shop.  But I can nonetheless appreciate the grace and skill required for others to execute complex choreography; so to this end the Company will serve up an occasional series of dance lessons.  Today’s lesson is fellow Canuck Laurie Ann Gibson‘s cheoreography for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, with guest performer Po, of the Teletubbies.

Also a highly faithful rendition by the very talented dancer, teacher, choreographer and law student Marissa Montanez:

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Guide to Asian Emoticons

When I was a child and one wanted to send a wireless text message to a friend, our messages and emoticons used to look something like this:




Today, of course, the kids do things differently.

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