Monday, September 21, 2009

Frederick Russell Burnham

Imagine this: you're fighting the Boers in Africa, and you've been sent to blow up their bridge. Along the way, you run into a group of Boers and are forced to ride for your life. As you do, your horse gets shot and killed, and crushes you under it. You're knocked out for a day. When you awake, you're alone and badly injured. What do you do?

If you're Frederick Russell Burnham, you go back and blow up the bridge.

Read the Wikipedia entry. In 1901, Teddy Roosevelt said, "I know Burnham. He is a scout and a hunter of courage and ability, a man totally without fear, a sure shot, and a fighter. He is the ideal scout, and when enlisted in the military service of any country he is bound to be of the greatest benefit."

Then, in 1933, the German spy Fritz Joubert Duquesne said, "To my friendly enemy, Major Frederick Russell Burnham, the greatest scout of the world, whose eyes were that of an Empire. I once craved the honour of killing him, but failing that, I extend my heartiest admiration.."

It's a truly astounding example of historical badassery.

Then, if you haven't had your fill of 19th Century badasses named Frederick, read about Frederick Selous. The man made a living hunting every dangerous animal you can think of, and died when he was in his sixties and got shot by a sniper during World War One. And get this line from his biography: "He ate less than most men, and never drank anything but tea, which he enjoyed at every meal. Sometimes he drank champagne at big dinners, but rich wines and high feeding had no attractions to him." Sounds like my kind of chap!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Something I Never Knew About My Name

According to, my name, "Benedek," is the Hungarian form of the Greek "Benediktos." Apparently, Martin Luther noted that "Benediktos" is "666" in Greek gematria.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Long Coats and Wide-Brimmed Hats

Looking over my past few posts, they have been about adorable animals, romantic flower-wielding BART people, and the path to adulthood. This must be remedied before this blog becomes too serious.

So let's talk about badassery. More specifically, the outfits associated with badassery. These outfits can be simple: a loincloth was enough for one famous badass. Then there are people who prefer outfits that are a bit heavier. I must confess, I have a soft spot for something in between: the long coat with a wide-brimmed hat.

I first started to dig this as the "Witch Hunter" look from Games Workshop's Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 lines. You can't go wrong with something like this:

But the original badass in a long coat and wide-brimmed hat was probably Solomon Kane, the Puritan monster hunter created by Robert E. Howard (you know him as "the guy who invented Conan"). And now there's going to be a movie about him. If this trailer is any indication, it's going to be badass to the brim:

And that's awesome.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Bilby: So Cute It Hurts

Based on a picture on the BBC News website, I learned about the bilby, a strange little Australian creature that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a mouse. Needless to say, this thing is painfully adorable, but sadly it is in danger of going extinct. So, since September 13th is National Bilby Day in Australia, I thought I would post something about these squee-worthy creatures.

Have a video:

WARNING: Dangerous levels of cuteness!

Here are some efforts to Save the Bilby. I hope nothing happens to the little guys, so that generations to come will be able to go all gooey at the site of their precious little ears.


Thoughts on a Guy with Flowers

A few days ago, there was a guy at the Ashby BART station holding a bouquet of flowers and nervously/anxiously checking his iPhone. Some people would look at him and think that he had done something wrong and was buying flowers for his sweetheart to make up for it. I may be a soppy romantic at heart, but I like to think that he was simply doing it as a sweet gesture for his beloved.

Either way, I hope she liked the flowers.