An eclectic collection of trivia, observation, cynicism, wit....
and the occasional rant.
Enjoy!

I'm Mark. Older than you imagine, pescetarian, husband, father, professional parent & pedant.

I post some original stuff and a bunch of other things that I like. If you own the rights to something you see here and you're not happy about me sharing it, let me know.

This is entirely the wrong time of day

to discover I’m out of red wine.

disaster woe is me no wine

laughingsquid:

An Animation That Explains How a Bean Becomes a Fart

Here you go. The mechanics of how vegetarianism contributes to global warming explained…

vegetarian global warming environment beans

There’s a first time for everything

This is down to Jann and Kristin


Name: Mark
URL: mings
Nickname: Styxx (childhood). Ming (work).
Birthday: November 16
Gender: Male
Sexuality: I’m a Scorpio. Look it up.
Height: 6’3 & shrinking
What time and date is it there: 21:40, 26 August
Average hours of sleep I get each night: 4, maybe 5 if I’m lucky
The last thing I Googled was: valley lay boards. Yes, seriously.
First word that comes to mind: Dendrochronologist. There’s a reason for that. Ask me if you’re interested.
What I last said to a family member: I fixed the Dyson. Have you eaten?
One place that makes me happy & why: The Western Highlands in Scotland, because it’s the only place where I’ve truly felt at home and at peace. 
How many blankets I sleep under: What are blankets? I have a vague recollection of something scratchy from the time when dinosaurs roamed the planet.
Favorite beverage(s): Green tea, especially Genmaicha.
The last movie I watched in the cinema: I can’t remember. It was horrific. So loud it was painful. I’d rather put up with a small screen, a fatter wallet and volume I can control. 
Three things I can’t live without: If people count as things - my wife, my kids, and I’m stumped for a third. I would have said my dog, but she’s gone. Maybe the mountains, but it’s been a while and I’m still here, so I guess it must be water. 
Something I plan on learning: How to finish building my house. How to play guitar properly, if my arthritic fingers will let me. How to speak Japanese. How to relate to people, if it’s not too late. 
A piece of advice for all my followers: The best things in life are free. Get yourself out into the big wide open and experience them for yourself.

Consider yourself tagged if you took the time to read this :-)

mathcat345 theotherwaytoo15

because sometimes, you just need a little Pink Floyd

Yah, but most of the time I need a lot of Pink Floyd.

pink floyd never bettered
There must be many more important things in the world than a picture that I posted a few months ago of Valais Blacknose Sheep on a Swiss mountainside. Apparently, some of you disagree. More than fifteen thousand of you. Perhaps I should finance one to stand in Thanet for the next election. At this rate, it would gain enough votes to block Nigel Farage…

There must be many more important things in the world than a picture that I posted a few months ago of Valais Blacknose Sheep on a Swiss mountainside. Apparently, some of you disagree. More than fifteen thousand of you. Perhaps I should finance one to stand in Thanet for the next election. At this rate, it would gain enough votes to block Nigel Farage…

valais blacknose sheep mountains sheep politics

Thank you Kevin, whoever you are…

… my Dyson sucks, and I mean that most sincerely.

no loss of suction not any more anyway

I’ve learned many things from the internet…

…but it never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there who make videos about how to fix this, do that, or build the other.

I’m genuinely glad they do so, and even more thankful that they were wiling to donate their time and effort. They’ve helped me build my home. Seriously. The best roof framing video I saw showed a guy with a deep southern drawl. a beaten up old truck in the background and chickens running around his feet. None of that detracted from the sheer quality of his knowledge.

So, when our Dyson vacuum cleaner’s motor self destructed, I went to Youtube, not Dyson. I just replaced the motor in ours for less than £15/$25. That’s pitched against £380/$630 for a new one, or some indeterminate figure for an engineer to visit. (But you can bet your shirt that would have been well over £100/$165, plus parts.)

Notwithstanding, I find myself worrying a little when I realise I spent more time watching a guy called Kevin taking apart a vacuum cleaner than I usually do watching anything on TV….

i guess i'll just leave that there home repairs diy must be an age thing
OK, so I know it’s more baby spam. Get over it, there’ll be more: I’m a proud grandfather. Noah bears striking similarities to his father at the same age. Apart from the obvious good looks, there’s a conspicuous ability to sleep. Runs in the family…
Perhaps I should also take this opportunity to mention sheep. Yes, you knew I couldn’t resist it… so here’s Baby Noah learning to count sheep & taking a nap on his Romney Marsh inspired quilt, courtesy of my infinitely better half.
She’d elevate herself to deity level if she’d make one of those quilts for us.

OK, so I know it’s more baby spam. Get over it, there’ll be more: I’m a proud grandfather. Noah bears striking similarities to his father at the same age. Apart from the obvious good looks, there’s a conspicuous ability to sleep. Runs in the family…

Perhaps I should also take this opportunity to mention sheep. Yes, you knew I couldn’t resist it… so here’s Baby Noah learning to count sheep & taking a nap on his Romney Marsh inspired quilt, courtesy of my infinitely better half.

She’d elevate herself to deity level if she’d make one of those quilts for us.

baby grandson noah sheep quilt quilting

Thinking about Ferguson…

…it occurs to me that the laws here in the UK are so fundamentally different to those of the US that the likelihood of incidents like the tragic death of Michael Brown are almost infinitely lower. (Poor grammar I know, but bear with me.)

The simple fact is that our gun laws are very tight. Always have been, and please, they should stay that way. As long as legal gun ownership remains as low as it is, there is a strong case for the police to remain unarmed. 

Don’t get me wrong. I have the greatest admiration for the work that the Thin Blue Line does on our behalf. They have to wear stab-proof vest at all times in order to stay reasonably safe. They routinely place themselves at levels of risk that are, quite frankly, wholly incommensurate with the relatively meagre wage they earn.

But that doesn’t mean they should be armed. The risk of escalation is preposterous. If our police routinely bore arms, so too would the criminal fraternity. The huge risk that our police already face would increase exponentially, as would the risk to the general public,and not just from the criminal fraternity.

There is little doubt that, given the protection (or Dutch courage) afforded by a loaded gun, innocent bystanders would become victims. Sadly, I have no doubt that, in many cases, those innocents would belong to ethnic minorities. Thus, in my view, racial tension and militancy would increase and stability in society would correspondingly decrease.

I watch in dismay as the news of avoidable situations like the killing of Michael Brown unfold. I worry about how our society may progress (or degenerate) given similar levels of “freedom”. Ask the law abiding citizens of Ferguson about how freedom feels. Take the sting out of the media frenzy, and ask yourself how much was stirred up by one-sided, even bigoted, reportage. Ask yourself how much freedom you actually sacrifice in the name of freedom.

I live on a ridiculously overcrowded island. Overcrowding leads to all sorts of social ills; you only have to look at rats. (Google it, if you don’t believe me.) Tell me I’m wrong, by all means, but as much as the lure of the wide open spaces calls me, I don’t think I’d really want to swap the security of what we have here.

ferguson michael brown police gun laws security freedom shooting

I’d forgotten how tiny babies are…

baby grandson
You know it’s going to be a family occasion, so please excuse the spam.
Here’s #1 son with his #1 son. Tumblr, meet Dan & Noah. One’s old enough to have his own tumblr, but doesn’t. The other isn’t, but should. Can you guess who’s who?

You know it’s going to be a family occasion, so please excuse the spam.

Here’s #1 son with his #1 son. Tumblr, meet Dan & Noah. One’s old enough to have his own tumblr, but doesn’t. The other isn’t, but should. Can you guess who’s who?

baby grandson newborn son last of the line it's on your shoulders now... pretty sure I never had that much hair
Welcome Noah everyone.
No 1 son and his wife produced a healthy boy the day before yesterday, so here’s the inevitable picture of proud grandad holding the new last of the line.
Oh, and that’s my Princess in the background (henceforth known as Aunty Em) pretending she’s happy she’s in the same room as a little human…

Welcome Noah everyone.

No 1 son and his wife produced a healthy boy the day before yesterday, so here’s the inevitable picture of proud grandad holding the new last of the line.

Oh, and that’s my Princess in the background (henceforth known as Aunty Em) pretending she’s happy she’s in the same room as a little human…

gpoy rarity grandson noah baby newborn

So this is fun. What most of you knew as Hurricane Bertha has made the trip over the pond, and here’s what’s left in all its glory.

Our near neighbours are having a birthday party. (He’s 71 today.) My wife has baked a Great British Bake Off creation, which is nearly two feet across. Now we have to cart it the thirty or forty yards to our neighbour’s house. In a monsoon. And possibly a canoe…

weather storm hurricane bertha flood british
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
A very moving installation at the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
888,246 ceramic poppies created by artist Paul Cummings, will progressively fill the Tower’s moat in a setting by stage designer Tom Piper. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war.
You can contribute. Each poppy is available to buy, and ten percent of each sale, plus all net proceeds will be split equally amongst six service charities.
Photo: Jim Crossley on flickr, via Twisted Sifter

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

A very moving installation at the Tower of London to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

888,246 ceramic poppies created by artist Paul Cummings, will progressively fill the Tower’s moat in a setting by stage designer Tom Piper. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war.

You can contribute. Each poppy is available to buy, and ten percent of each sale, plus all net proceeds will be split equally amongst six service charities.

Photo: Jim Crossley on flickr, via Twisted Sifter

ww1 centenary tower of london art installation charity military britain
"Keep close to Nature’s heart. Break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."
John Muir (via whats-out-there)
truth quotes wisdom john muir