A gift from God


I consider all food a gift from God, but when you go into your garden and pick things you’ve grown yourself, it seems an occasion for extra gratitude: free food from the ground.




Those of my friends and family who are of the atheist/agnostic tradition look at such things as an outgrowth of evolution, which is fine; on one level, that’s correct. But seeing such bounty merely in such terms leaves me with a sense of emptiness, of incompleteness. If there’s nothing but random chance and selective breeding and survival of the fittest, then there’s no one to thank for these gifts.

One take on gratitude was famously given by “Charlie Anderson” in the movie Shenandoah, played by James Stewart:

“Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cook the harvest. It wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food we’re about to eat, amen.”

It is certain, we wouldn’t have food in the stores if it weren’t for the backbreaking and often poorly-compensated work of farmers and laborers, but if it weren’t for the sun and the rain and the soil and the seeds and the wind and the pollinators, there would be nothing at all. So I often remember to thank the Lord for the work of everyone along the supply chain that brought dinner to my table, but recognize Him as the ultimate source of all goodness.

That’s just how I roll.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Times Square Smoker, 1943


Photo found at /r/HistoryPorn, posted by /u/DaHitcha. Text along with the image:

In 1941 a billboard was installed that marked one of the most well knows advertising campaigns in history; Camel cigarettes. This billboard was apart of Times Square’s history for 26 long years. The billboard displayed a man blowing smoke toward his audience with “Camel” gleaming in bright lights.

For two and a half decades the Camel Cigarette was advertised with two novel billboards that were so clever they easily caught the attention of the passing public. Known as spectaculars, these billboards blew the illusion of a giant smoke ring every four seconds. Steam from a piston-driven diaphragm was forced out of a hole, and this mimicked a person smoking. The spectacular most often photographed was located in New York City’s Times Square at 44th Street and Broadway. Some consider this Camel billboard the most famous of all outdoor advertising signs.

I grew up in New York, and I remember this sign well, as will my friends of that era. As a kid I remember standing for as long as I could watching the smoke rings… on calm days they would travel halfway across Times Square. I was sorry to see it go.

Over at Facebook, Marie-Lou Chatel created a colorized version of this photo which gives you a better feel for how it looked:

color camel

Cigarettes and alcohol were a huge percent of advertising back in the day. My own mother was a commercial actress, and Camel selected her as their spokesperson for a time. I remember she’d get a carton a week in the mail as part of her residual compensation.

Cigarette use in the US has been declining steadily since the tobacco heydays:

cigarette use

I’m sure the tobacco industry is unhappy about this, but they have more than made up for their domestic losses by exporting their products of death to foreign economies; while both consumption and exports are on a gradually declining trend, it’s interesting to note that foreign exports still more than double domestic consumption.


It is to be hoped that at some point in the future, tobacco will be once again considered a useless weed with no commercial value, thus saving countless lives and healthcare costs in the process.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Religion to go.

By way of reddtor /u/Typicaldrugdealer, we now have pre-packaged communion. Grape juice and a wafer for the sinner on the go.




The top comment from /u/TAU_equals_2PI was… wait for it…

“Christables™ from Oscar Mayer”

Denomination has not been specified.

It may just be me, but this seems to be reducing the core sacrament of the Christian faith to something terribly banal and mundane.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

To lose weight, take these drops (oh, and eat a 1200 calorie diet…)


It’s not good medicine for a representative of one nutritional product to bash those who rep for another. In my world of ethics, it’s just not done. As a result, I won’t mention any product names in this post, but I want to make a general comment about the way many weight-loss products are advertised and hyped.

Below you’ll find an example, using a homeopathic product as the teacher in the moment, which claims to flush fat and toxins out of your body.

The product concerned contains a panoply of things like Nux Vomica, Ignatia Amara, and about 8 others at 6x and 12x dilutions; the instructions call for placing 10-15 drops under the tongue three times a day.

Oh, yes… and also to eat a 125o-calorie diet while using the products (which cost $150.00 for a bottle of each).

The science behind homeopathic dilutions guarantees that at dilutions of 6X and 12X, there is virtually *no* active ingredient whatsoever in this product – no molecules are left. The physics of Avogadro’s number is incontrovertible.

If you consider the instructions for use of this product, and completely eliminate any reference to the product being referenced, any patient who faithfully complies with these guidelines will have success with weight loss.

Given the average caloric intake of 2,000 KCal for a female, a 1250 calorie diet will result in consistent weight loss, especially when combined with water intake and regular exercise. This weight loss will occur whether or not the patient

* takes homeopathic drops
* sings an aria from “Aida”
* stands on her head and spits nickels, or
* eats a spoonful of portland cement with each meal.

If you are a person of science and reason, you owe it to yourself to take a hard look at the scientific reality of what is going on with homeopathic or other similar weight-loss products, instead of being dazzled by all the marketing weasel words.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


What ever happened to the Skyhopper?

The Internet remembers everything. Everything. Even things that people desperately want it to forget. as witnessed in the Streisand Effect.

So if I go hunting for something I remember seeing years ago, I expect it to be there, in some way, shape, or form… even if only as a relic, an artifact.

And when I can’t find it, I find it… disturbing, to say the least.

The dream of the one-man helicopter has never been fully realized, although a lot of people have spent a lot of money on the idea. I remember years ago one outfit was working on one. There were pictures, videos of the thing being tested in tethered mode, solicitations for investment, the works – all very professional.

It may have failed. It may have been a ponzi scheme. Anything could have happened. But there should be some remnant of its existence on the net, but… nothing.

I’ve searched for skyhopper, one-man helicopters, personal helicopters, two-fan hovercraft, and fifty other permutations.


I remember it used two of these things:


… attached to a sort of one-man tripod. Now I can’t draw worth hqiz, but the basic idea was this:


The pilot would stand on the two platforms, hold on to the controllers, and off he’d go.

I’m almost 100% certain the thing was called the “skyhopper,” but that term has now been co-opted by something from the Star Wars universe. It’s as if any reference to this invention has been carefully and deliberately scrubbed from the internet.

That makes no sense at all… even failed inventions leave traces. And I know that i’m not experiencing a false memory – I was intrigued by the pictures and the concept when I first saw it, and followed it closely until it became clear that no further progress was being made.

Now, I put no stock in conspiracy theories[1], but the absence of any reference to this thing goes against everything I have come to understand about the persistence of information on the internet. It’s just strange.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

[1] What’s really happening, of course, is that the Air Force saw this idea, classified it, killed the inventor, scrubbed all references from the internet, and is now developing the idea secretly at Area 51, aided by the Erich von Däniken foundation.


Wow, Ban Ki-Moon knows who I am!

Today’s mail from the Lads from Lagos:

From: “UNITED NATIONS” <cbnexecutive@onebox.com>


United Nations Headquarters

New York, NY 10017, United States
Tel: +17754105879

Hello beneficiary,

This is to bring to your personal notice that the United Nations(UN) in collaboration with International Monetary Fund(IMF) have considered you as one of the recipient of the AWARD from the UN. The award is aimed at assisting Entrepreneurs to advance upwards and to encourage Philanthropy as well. This is our goal an Non-Profit/Humanitarian organization.

As a recipient ofthis honorable award, you will be receiving the sum of US$10.5million (US$10,500,000.00). Please do accept this pay and also help the less haves around your community.

We have have contracted the Zenith Bank Plc, to handle this payment to you as quickly as you contact them on their detail below:

All you have to do is to contact Chief Financial Officer of Zenith Bank – Mr Stanley Amuchie with your detail and he will do the necessary thing to put back smile on your face once again.

Submit the following:

Your Legal Names:
Contact Address:
Date of Birth:

Contact Person:  Mr Stanley Amuchie
Email: (

Thank you.

Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General,
New York, USA.

Send your replies to: zenithtransact@mailbox.sk
In case it’s not clear to anyone who receives the same kind of email – this is a scam. Ban Ki-Moon would not be sending email of this nature to any individual, let alone from an email address like “cbnexecutive@onebox.com,” or with a return address at some random mail service in Slovakia.
Despite the proclamation “No Upfront Fees,” you can be 110% certain that any victim who responds to this sludge will be asked for money in one form or another, again and again, until they finally catch on or are rendered penniless and indebted.
No Because No
Erika Eichelberger recently wrote at Mother Jones about her opportunity to interview a couple of these drones – it makes an interesting read.
These scams are rampant, and will continue as long as there are people who are willing to sacrifice their ethics for what they perceive as quick and easy cash. Be careful out there.
The Old Wolf has spoken.

After an Internship (courtesy of the reddit community)

reddit is a strange beast. Tailor your subreddits and settings carefully to avoid the dark side and the NSFW (not safe for work) stuff, and it can be a source of valuable information as well as good entertainment. If you like cats, paving your floor with pennies (don’t forget the sealer), using bananas for scale, and a host of mad references, you may find it a congenial place. But I digress.

Recently redditors began posting pictures of what it’s like after an internship at [company name.] I found these amusing – and revelatory – so I have collected them here for your reading pleasure.


At Google


At Microsoft




At Apple



At Comcast


At reddit

And, of course, what it’s like after an internship at pretty much anywhere these days:

homeless person sleeping in cardboard box


The Old Wolf has spoken.