Stranger than Fiction

Now is the perfect time to go through your kitchen cupboards

Tap to view the expired food at full size.

The end of the calendar year is a perfectly good time to go through your kitchen cupboards and look for anything that’s seriously well past its “best before” date. Consider the jar in the photo above. That’s not peanut butter, caramel, or dulce de lecheit’s Miracle Whip from about 30 years ago!

Here’s a little more context, courtesy of the Things Found In Walls – And Other Hidden Findings Facebook group:

Stranger than Fiction

Your new YouTube obsession: James Blackwood, Raccoon Whisperer

If you haven’t seen it yet, go to YouTube and watch this channel now: James Blackwood – Raccoon Whisperer.

Blackwood is a retired RCMP officer who lives in Pictou County, Nova Scotia and now feeds raccoons full-time. The raccoons eat well — here’s what he’s fed them:

Sometimes he serves chicken hot dogs, hard-boiled eggs, grapes, apples, bananas and unsalted peanuts.

“I cook sausages for them, I do Hamburger Helper with sauteed mushrooms, Vienna sausages, roast chicken, pigs-in-a-blanket. And Tim Hortons doughnuts.”

(For those of you unfamiliar with Canada, Tim Hortons is more than just a place to get donuts. It’s synonymous with Canadian identity.)

Here’s more from a CBC article titled Meet the ‘Raccoon Whisperer’ of Pictou County:

One of his oldest raccoon friends, Rascal, will turn 13 in the spring. He knows her birthday because it was her mother that first reached out to him from the raccoon world. She had been hurt, likely by a car, and so Blackwood and his wife Jane took her in. That was 1999. “We gave a soft release into the wild and she’s been here with us every year since,” he says.

That raccoon later returned with her cub, which Blackwood and his wife named Rascal. His wife took to raccoons with a passion and on some nights 18 turned up for the late-night eats.

Jane Blackwood died in 2003 of cancer. Jim Blackwood merged her love of raccoons with his love for her, and so became the Raccoon Whisperer. “I fell in love with the animal and would not have it any other way. I am a retired RCMP officer and this is what I do full time,” he says.

It may seem that Blackwood is training his own Raccoon Army of the night, but I get the feeling the raccoons have trained him to be a reliable source of exotic food that’s just unavailable to most wild creatures.

He should be doing reasonably well if he’s monetizing his YouTube videos. He currently has 328,000 subscribers, and a number his videos have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of views.

It’s not all raccoons and peanut butter sandwiches on his channel. Sometimes, he’ll throw in a musical performance:

Go ahead, watch this channel — it’s mesmerizing!

James Blackwood – Raccoon Whisperer

Stranger than Fiction Tampa Bay

Can’t nobody tell me nothin’

Tap to view at full size.

This rider was seen cruising Lil’ Nas X style on Saturday in V.M. Ybor, an eight-minute drive south of where we live.

Note that he’s wearing a toque/knit cap. That’s because it was a relatively brisk 27° C/80° F that day.

(Found via Reddit’s /r/Tampa.)

Music Stranger than Fiction The Current Situation

The day Mike Pence became a Soundgarden lyric

He was also Outshined.

If you watched the vice presidential debate on CNN last night, you saw the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head and stayed there for over two minutes. The New York Times wrote about it, Fox News is spinning it, the Biden campaign is having fun with it:

Twitter in general was having fun with it:

…and I was reminded of Drawing Flies, an underappreciated gem from Soundgarden’s 1991 album, Badmotorfinger. Here are the lyrics:

Sitting here like uninvited company
Wallowing in my own obscenities
I share a cigarette with negativity
Sitting here like wet ashes
With x’s in my eyes and drawing flies

Bathed in perspiration drowned my enemies
Used my inspiration for a guillotine
I fire a loaded mental cannon to the page
Leaning on the pedestal that holds my self denial
Firing the pistol that shoots my holy pride
Sitting here like wet ashes
With x’s in my eyes, and drawing flies

I’ll say hey, what you yelling
About, conditions, permission, mirrored self affliction
Hey, what you yellin’ about sadist’s
Co-addiction, perfect analogies
Hey, what you yellin’ about conditions
Permission mirrored self affliction
Leaning on the pedestal that holds my self denial
Firing the pistol that shoots my holy pride
Sitting here like wet ashes with x’s in my eyes
And drawing flies (flies)

Sitting here like uninvited company
Wallowing in my own obscenities
Share a cigarette with negativity
Leaning on the pedestal that holds my self denial
Firing the pistol that shoots my holy pride
Sitting here like wet ashes
With x’s in my eyes and drawing flies

But enough talk — crank up the speakers, and put it on!

It Happened to Me Stranger than Fiction

Taco Bus isn’t messing around with their “Tacos of Terror”

I’m teaching programming on Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., which means I’m often getting something to go from one of our local eateries. Last night, I got dinner from the Seminole Heights Taco Bus, where I saw the sign pictured above.

I thought the bit about having to sign a waiver was just advertising hyperbole, but I asked the person behind the counter, and it’s true — you have to sign one before ordering.

Scorpion hot sauce is made with scorpion peppers, which typically have a heat rating of 2 million scovilles. At that point, it’s not food; it’s a weapon.

I might try it, but definitely not before I have to spend 4 hours teaching a class. I don’t want to do that while dealing with the subject matter from the song below:

Music Stranger than Fiction

When you love the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” but don’t know the language

This performance — as seen on Brazilian TV show Alerta Amazonas — perfectly captures  the Spirit of 2020 like nothing else: Incredibly flawed, but damn it, we’re going to soldier through it somehow.

It’s my new favorite cover of Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit, Total Eclipse of the Heart:

Some days we’re the singer, some days we’re the twirling guy.

In case you were wondering what my old favorite version was, it’s Hurra Torpedo’s cover:

And for old times’ sake, here’s the original:

Thanks to Raymi the Minx for the find!

Florida Internet Finds Stranger than Fiction

Meanwhile, in Florida…

Tap the photo to see the Florida-ness at full size.