Archive for February, 2009

On the Bismarck: A Short and Fairly Inaccurate Synopsis of Naval Penis Enhancement During World War II.

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Apologies for the belated update.

Once again, here I am, telling you stuff I know, often not very well. In keeping with the theme of the last post, the paltry, patchwork, and semi-inaccurate information that I impart to you will be related to those most humongous chunks of our planet, the oceans. Not in keeping with the theme of the last post, it will be about very large warships rather than very large selachians (cartilaginous fishes, or sharks and rays). Interestingly enough, the short bit of story I’m about to impart will contain nearly as many human casualties as the sum total of shark attacks included in the International Shark Attack File.

To emphasize just how casual and error-ridden this account will be, here is the casual and error-ridden guide to a clueless person’s ship categories that will be used in this account:

  • Corvette: Tiny, nigh-worthless antisubmarine escort used to protect merchantship convoys. Canada built loads of ‘em because that’s just how we roll.
  • Destroyer: Not nearly as tiny, not nearly as worthless, and used primarily for similar duties.
  • Cruiser: Now we’re getting somewhere. Decent-sized, but not in a battleship’s weight class.
  • Heavy Cruiser: Cruiser that spent all of high school pumping iron and popping ‘roids.
  • Battlecruiser: Like a battleship, but with less armor and more speed.
  • Battleship: Hugeass, somewhat impractical, but much beloved by navies the world over until everyone realized at some point during WWII that aircraft carriers could smoke them completely from very long distances.
  • Aircraft Carrier: A ship that carries aircraft, easily recognizable due to its flight deck. You probably guessed that already.

This tale begins, as so many things do, back in World War 2, when Germany was more focused on grabbing lebensraum than making excellent beer. By 1941 they’d seized most of Europe and were attempting to briskly throttle Britain into submission. The British Isles were much too small to support all the materials and goods their population required on their own, particularly food, and the going German strategy was to beat the living snot out of the convoys of merchant ships that made the trudge from Canada and the US over to British shores, delivering ammo, fuel, and food. German U-boats played a massive part in this: small, cheap submarines that spent the majority of their time on the surface, usually only submerging to evade and attack with torpedoes. Smaller warships such as corvettes and destroyers, armed with depth charges, helped fend off the attacks to a certain degree, but it was a back and forth struggle – particularly early on, when antisubmarine warfare was still fairly primitive.

There is nothing humorous about this picture, you callous prick.

There is nothing humorous about this picture, you callous prick.

However, apparently submarines weren’t manly enough for the Germans. Maybe it was because they were underhanded, sneaky, terrifyingly hard to spot, and highly effective. Thus surface ships remained a preoccupation of theirs for some time, despite the general advantage in size and scope that the British Royal Navy enjoyed. Besides, convoy raiding with battleships had a very appealing advantage: while a destroyer or corvette could seriously inconvenience a U-boat it cornered, a battleship was another story. Earlier attempts by the battlecruisers Sharnhorst and Gneisenau were encouraging, and eventually, in 1941, the Germans said “hell, why not” and set out the Bismarck.

Not actually the Bismarck.

Not actually the Bismarck.

The Bismarck was a behemoth, the third largest European battleship constructed in the war, behind only her sister ship Tirpitz (pictured above) and the British HMS Vanguard, which wasn’t complete before the war’s end. The Bismarck-class battleship was the third largest in history, just behind the US Iowa-class, which appeared several years later, and the Japanese Yamato-class, which appeared at around the same time and was best described in almost every dimension as “ginormous.” The plan was to ship out the Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen up through the Baltic Sea to refuel in occupied Norway. From there on they’d strike out into the Atlantic by looping up and over Great Britain and Iceland, where they would meet up with the Sharnhorst and Gneisenau in the mid-Atlantic and blow up as many convoys as they’d like.

Right away, things started going to pot. The two battlecruisers were tied up with repair work. The Tirpitz wasn’t an acceptable replacement yet, so they could either wait or just shrug and press on without backup. The Germans opted for the latter, and set off. Unfortunately, they’d completely underestimated the paranoia of the British, who’d scraped up every battleship, battlecruiser, cruiser, aircraft carrier, and destroyer they could spare, and a few they couldn’t. They knew the Bismarck existed, and they knew when it set out. They also knew exactly what it was up to. In fact, the only thing they couldn’t figure out for quite some time was exactly where the hell it was.

Passing through Norway, Bismarck was the victim of what hindsight would reveal to be an extremely pointless and dangerous mistake. Her commander, Admiral Lütjens, opted not to refuel. The Prinz Eugen did so happily, topping up in the port of Bergen while Bismarck hovered. They then set off once more, having delayed for a full day (thus giving the British more time to find them) and preempting the possibility of hooking up with a prescheduled oil tanker a day or so north that would’ve been more than ready to fill up both ships anyways. Yes, this would come back to bite them in the ass.

The British, meanwhile, figured out that Bismarck and friends had recently visited Bergen, had it bombed one day late, and sent the Home Fleet out all over the place. As the German vessels moseyed their way through the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland, two British cruishers, the Suffolk and the Norfolk, found them with radar. A few shots were passed before the massively outgunned and much smaller cruisers could scarper into the fog and pace them from a distance, keeping tabs on their position. It paid off. Some time later, as the Germans left the strait, they picked up other ships on radar. There were two: the freshly constructed British battleship the Prince of Wales, and a much more renowned vessel: the British battlecruiser Hood.

The Hood in its "hood," or possibly its "crib."  Note attitude of relaxedness.

The Hood in its "hood," or possibly its "crib." Note attitude of relaxedness.

The Hood had been the pride of the Royal Navy for quite some time, and from the moment of its comission (1920) to the completion of the Bismarck (1940), it was the largest warship existing and pretty famous, something of an icon of Britain’s fleet. The Germans certainly knew of it, and probably were less favorably inclined. They were surprised to be confronted so immediately by capital ships, and that one of them was so widely known as formidable most likely didn’t improve their moods.

The Hood as seen by the Germans.

The Hood as seen by the Germans.

The four ships came into mutual range and promptly started shooting at each other. The Prince of Wales, being so new that it still had workers on it fiddling with bits, promptly began malfunctioning. The Prinz Eugen had been leading the way for the past while due to an error in the Bismarck’s forward radar, unknown to the British, and so they began to take shots at it, assuming it was the Bismarck. They realized their mistake fairly quickly, however, and after the first salvo started at the correct target. The Germans, meanwhile, focused their fire on the Hood.

About ten minutes in, something happened. The commonly accepted theory is that one of Bismarck’s salvos landed amidships on the Hood and plunged through its somewhat thinly armoured upper deck. Directly into one of its magazines. You know, the locations where all of a warship’s ammunition is stored.

This isn't funny either.

This isn't funny either.

From what’s said, the Hood simply exploded in two and sank immediately, along with one thousand, four hundred, and fifteen of its crew, leaving three survivors to be picked up by the British destroyer Electra.

Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales only had one working gun thanks to hits and general glitching, and was feeling several petals shy of rosy. Its commander wisely chose to get the hell out of there. Aboard the Bismarck there was general rejoicing, tempered with worry. Its forward radar was still screwed, the British knew exactly where they were and had probably become about five times angrier and more determined to see them sunk, and it had recieved several hits, probably from the Hood. At least one of the shots it had taken had caused a leak in its fuel, necessitating a speed reduction for conservation. Lütjens, probably feeling more than a little stupid about his wasted refuelling opportunity, told the Prinz Eugen to go on its way to fulfill the original mission purpose (convoy hunting), while he took the Bismarck down to dry-dock in occupied France for repairs. From there he’d be optimally placed to head out into the Atlantic again once the ship was patched up.

The British, now completely devoted to seeing the Bismarck to the bottom, promptly began throwing everything they had towards its position. First up to bat was the aircraft carrier Victorious. Unfortunately, all it had for planes was outdated Swordfish biplanes, each armed with a single torpedo. Every single shot launched at the ship from the little planes missed but one, which killed exactly one crewmember and caused damage best summed up as “superficial” to Bismarck‘s heavy armour. The attack as a whole, however, resulted in some loosening of anti-flooding blockage, causing the bow to sink down and necessitating further speed reduction until the repairs were reapplied.

Now becoming seriously annoyed by British tracking, the Bismarck took a drastic change in course, swerving around to the south and east and escaping British contact completely for four hours. Lütjens, possibly feeling that he hadn’t done his ship any crippling disfavours recently, thought he was still being followed and sent a message to home that the British promptly intercepted and used to give themselves a rough idea of where the hell he was. Unfortunately, the closest pursuer at the time, the battleship King George V, veered too far north in pursuit and gave Bismarck time to scarper.

Luck was on their side, however. In mid-morning, a reconnaissance aircraft spotted the oil slick left by the wounded Bismarck. Somewhat less warming news, however, was that the ship was heading straight for France, and would likely be within the range of cover that could be provided by German aircraft soon. If it was going to be caught, it would have to be slowed down drastically, and the nearest British ships were Force H, a group consisting of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, the elderly battlecruiser Renown, and the cruiser Sheffield.

The Ark Royal, with a few of its little friends.

The Ark Royal, with a few of its little friends.

The Ark Royal launched its Swordfish, which unfortunately mistook the Sheffield for the Bismarck (which it was trailing) and launched torpedoes at it. On the upside, the Sheffield wasn’t damaged (all but one torpedo missed) and the pilots said they were really, really sorry. On the downside, the one torpedo that hit had failed to explode because its magnetic detonators were worthless. The Swordfish were recalled, fitted out with contact-detonator torpedoes, and sent out with a stern warning not to do that sort of thing again.

A Swordfish whose pilot is REALLY SORRY.

A Swordfish whose pilot is REALLY SORRY.

That evening, round two began. This time the Swordfish found the right ship and shot everything they had. They also found out through trial and error that the antiaircraft guns on Bismarck couldn’t be made to aim below a certain angle, and if they came in with their plane’s wheels just scraping the tips of the waves they would be fairly protected from the majority of fire coming from the ship. Most of the torpedoes missed, several hit, and five Swordfish came home damaged, one so badly that it had to be scrapped. The few hits the Bismarck took were safely absorbed by its thickly armoured hull – bar one. One single torpedo, by sheer bloody-minded chance, had smacked into the one marginally weak spot in Bismarck’s armour: its rudder. Bismarck began to develop a list towards port, and, most significantly, its rudder was now jammed, preventing it from being steered.

Despite every effort made to fix it, the battleship began to slowly turn in a very large circle: right back into its pursuers.

That night, British destroyers harassed the Bismarck to exhaustion, launching torpedo after torpedo, none of which had any significant impact beyond that on German morale, which was now rock bottom. The destroyers themselves came out of their raiding with no casualties and minor damage. The next morning, the British assembled for a showdown: the King George V had arrived in company with the battleship Rodney and heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Norfolk.

Bismarck under the gun.

Bismarck under the gun.

The last battle was one-sided. Bismarck’s guns were still working (and focused on the older Rodney, perhaps hoping for a repeat of the Hood), but the list to port and inability to steer made her both a sitting duck and a poor shot. Within forty-five minutes, she wasn’t firing anymore. The British battleships continued to blast the ship, while the cruisers came in to launch point-blank torpedoes. Amazingly enough, the Bismarck‘s hull was still intact, and the ship appears to have been sunk only when the engineers declared it a lost cause and scuttled it. All of the survivors went into the water, where the Dorsetshire and one of the destroyers, the Maori, began to pluck them out of the ocean. Unfortunately, a U-boat alert was called, and the British hastily left the scene with only one hundred and ten crewmen recovered. The next morning, the German U-74 and Sachsenwald picked up five more. The remaining one thousand, nine hundred, and ninety-five crew of the Bismarck all died, some during the battle, but likely the majority in the cold and oil-covered water.

Survivors at the Dorsetshire.

Survivors at the Dorsetshire.

The Prinz Eugen did not locate any merchant ships, and its main success was refuelling and returning to port in France. All but two of the nine refuelling and resupply vessels provided for the German operation were discovered and rounded up. The German navy, the Kriegsmarine, was rendered ineffectual in all operations in the North Atlantic involving surface ships until the end of the war, going back to the tried and true U-boats. The end casualties of the entire incident, the first and last operation that the Bismarck ever participated in, were this:

  • One sunk battlecruiser: the HMS Hood, pride of the Royal Navy.
  • One sunk battleship: the Bismarck, pride of the Kriegsmarine.
  • Roughly three thousand, four hundred, and ten dead sailors; approximately one thousand, four hundred and ten the pride of Britain, one thousand, nine hundred, and ninety-five the pride of Germany.

The sheer number of chance occurances peppered throughout the entire incident was movie-like enough that it was made into a movie in 1960, titled Sink the Bismarck! I saw a bit of it when I was five or six and therefore much more interested in knowing things than I am now.

All original material copyright Jamie Proctor, 2009.

Picture Credits (all images found on Wikipedia):

  • Painting of a U-boat attack: “Versenkung eines feindlichen bewaffneten Truppentransportdampfers durch deutsches U-Boot im Mittelmeer” by Willy Stower. Public domain.
  • Picture of the Tirpitz: Photographed early in her career, probably in 1941.U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Source: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h59000/h59655.jpg. Public domain.
  • Picture of the Hood: British battlecruiser HMS Hood circa 1932 while fitted with an aircraft catapult aft, taken from the U.S. Naval Historical Center. Public domain.
  • Altered picture of the Hood: As above, but prey to the abomination of Microsoft Paint.
  • Painting of the sinking of the Hood: Sinking of HMS Hood. Painting by J.C. Schmitz-Westerholt, depicting Hood’s loss during her engagement with the German battleship Bismarck on 24 May 1941. HMS Prince of Wales is in the foreground. Courtesy of the U.S. Army Chief of Military History. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph. Source: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-atl/batlt-41/bismk-c3.htm. Public domain.
  • Picture of the Ark Royal and Swordfish: Photo # NH 85716 British aircraft carrier Ark Royal with a flight of “Swordfish” overhead, circa 1939. Source: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h85000/h85716c.htm. Public domain.
  • Picture of Swordfish: A Fairey Swordfish from the aircraft carrier HMS ARK ROYAL returns at low level over the sea after making a torpedo attack on the German battleship BISMARCK. IWMCollections IWM Photo No.: A 4100. May 1941. Beadell, S J (Lt) Royal Navy official photographer. Public domain.
  • Picture of Bismarck’s final battle: The Final Battle , 27 May 1941. Surrounded by shell splashes Bismarck burns on the horizon. Photo taken during World War 2. Photograph published in: The Bismarck, Robert Jackson, Weapons of War, 2002, ISBN 1-86227-173-9. Photographer not identified, so UK Copyright contended to have lapsed 50 years after publication. Public domain.
  • Picture of Bismarck survivors: Survivors from the BISMARCK are pulled aboard HMS DORSETSHIRE on 27 May 1941. IWMCollections IWM Photo No.: ZZZ 3130C. 27 May 1941. Royal Navy official photographer. Public domain.

On Sharks.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Since I have very little that I can tell you, I might as well tell you the little that I can. It shouldn’t take long, so don’t worry. Consider, for example, sharks.

Seeing as the ocean is the largest environment on earth, and the one that we’re the least adapted for, it follows that we’re a bit naturally skittish of it and the things that live inside it, particularly its bigger predators. Not only are they possessed of pointy teeth and the natural inclination to put them to gruesome purposes, but they take the worrying fact of large carnivores being far more physically capable than we are and add in a new terror: that we are naturally helpless in their environments. A lion is scary. A tiger is scary. A bunch of wolves is scary. A shark is very scary, because not only is it large and capable of physically harming us, we’re also confronting it in the sea, where our ability to run away, hide, and fight is magnificently inept. Sure you can’t usually outrun, outfight, or evade any of my other examples, but at least you can try. Attempting most actions in the ocean as a human is like trying to get around some thick woods with no arms, a pair of broken legs, and diabetes. It’s possible, but you’ve got a pretty big set of handicaps. And if you tried to live there, you’d probably just die unless you brought along a hell of a lot of equipment.

So sharks are scary. They’re big predators, and they’re big predators that dwell in places that make us feel helpless and inept. Natural paranoia is easy to fall for here, even though sharks are a pretty varied lot and plenty of them pose as much threat to humans as, say, moose.

The face of fear.

The face of fear.

The maw of terror.

The maw of terror.

However, those sharks don’t interest people as much because, paradoxically, we like things that have the potential to kill us a whole bunch. So, in order to appease all our morbid interests, allow me to present the three sharks widely regarded as the most dangerous on the planet. Let’s start with the third.

The Bull Shark

It's in your rivers, eating your legs.

It's in your rivers, eating your legs.

The bull shark is, to put it bluntly, fairly plain in appearance. It’s pretty big (7-13ish feet or so) but not enormous, coloured unexceptionally, and a bit stout. It’s also very, very grumpy, highly territorial, likes shallow waters that people tend to splash about in, and looks generic enough that it’s often difficult to recognize. If you can rearrange the letters in that last sentence to spell out “disaster” then you’re lying but also quite perceptive. It’s responsible for a long list of bitings, gnawings, gnoshings, chompings, de-limbings, and outright murderations.

What makes the bull more than just a somewhat ordinary-looking but highly touchy genera-shark is its ability to tolerate freshwater environments. Shark blood is highly concentrated to prevent osmosis from sucking out their juices into the saltwater of the ocean, and if you put the standard shark in freshwater it’ll suffer the reverse effects – the much more diluted liquid flushes itself into the shark like there’s no tomorrow, with less than pleasing results. Bull sharks have developed the ability to alter their blood concentration, dropping it for long freshwater trips and raising it again when they head out to the ocean. They also get rid of a lot of their excess water on freshwater trips via urine. Lots of it.

By the way, if you’re wondering just how well this thing tolerates fresh water, Lake Nicaragua in Central America has a permanent population of them. Occasionally seagoing relatives stop by to hang out via rivers into the Caribbean. They’ve been found thousands of miles up the Amazon and the Mississippi. One made it into Lake Michigan at one point. They’re pretty dedicated travellers. For all you know, one could have made it into your city’s water reservoir and spent years tunneling its way through the pipes with its fangs. It could be waiting right underneath your bathtub’s drain for the sound of movement that will trigger its steely muscles to unleash a deadly fury that will smash through your bathroom floor like wet paper and shove dagger-like teeth into your soft, tasty innards.

The Tiger Shark (AKA “the Garbage Can of the Ocean”)

Portrait of a gourmet.

Portrait of a gourmet.

The second point on our list is the tiger shark. It’s capable of getting quite a bit bigger than the bull (10-20 feetish – making it probably the second largest predatory shark) and is further distinguished by its wedge-shaped noggin, striped sides (which are most prominent in youth and fade with maturity), notched teeth, bad attitude, and peculiar habit of eating things apparently just for the hell of it. When you find those long lists of odd things sharks have eaten (license plates, suits of armor, barrels), odds are the tiger’s responsible. Its more organic meals take the forms of fish, seals, sea turtles, sea birds, other sharks, squid, and honestly just about anything else that looks at it funny and appears edible. And as stated above, sometimes the last one’s optional.

Tigers are most tropical to subtropical animals, but they edge into cooler water sometimes. They’re often found in water relatively shallow for sharks of their impressive largeness, and this combined with their aggressive attitude and tendency to eat things on a whim firmly seats them in second place on this list. Hawaii, Florida, and Australia, or at least their swimming populations, can attest to this.

The Great White Shark (AKA White Pointer, White Death, White Shark)

Not a white supremacist, although fairly supreme in its own right.

Not a white supremacist, although fairly supreme in its own right.

The most dangerous and largest predatory shark on the planet at the moment (averaging 13-16 feet and going up to 20 feet and slightly over), and therefore the shark most likely to appear in movies with crappy special effects. The great white is only white against its belly, with an upper colouration that ranges from blue to black to brown, creating a countershading effect that makes the shark more difficult to see when viewed from above or below.

The adult white’s fangs are built for sawing through thick chunks of meat, with lots and lots of serrations like you’d get on a really good steak knife in a fancy restaurant. This is perfect for its prey, which is typically marine mammals. Seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, and so on. Unfortunately, humans are about the same size as several of those prey items, and are also mammals. This can lead to cases of mistaken identity, which usually resolve themselves with an embarassed great white swimming away and an equally embarassed but somewhat distracted human messily bleeding out in midwater. Alternatively the shark may realize that you aren’t its typical menu item before it strikes, in which case it may ignore you or decide to check you out. Since it has no hands and its skin is thicker than a good leather jacket, if it wants a close-up examination it has to mouth you. Unfortunately, no matter how gentle it is, you’re liable to get stabbed during the mouthing process. The good news is that in the process the great white will have likely realized that your high muscle-and-bone to fat ratio makes you a highly un-nutritious meal and swum off. There’s only so much room in a shark’s gut, and an unfatty meal item as large as a human is a phenomenal waste of space that could go towards some delicious elephant seal.

The above gives a fairly nice idea of why great whites are dangerous to humans. However, that’s only half the picture. The other half is proximity. Great whites love to eat seals and sea lions. Therefore, they are found near seals and sea lions. Seals and sea lions are found in large numbers in California, South Africa, and Australia. Therefore, great whites are found in large numbers in these locations. California, South Africa, and Australia are home to loads of swimmers, surfers, spearfishers, snorklers, divers, and other people mucking about in the ocean and on the beach. Therefore, oh shit.

It’s important to remember, despite all of this, that sharks most definitely do not think of humans as food items. If they did, no one would ever go anywhere near the ocean, even with their populations hacked down to their current, abysmally low levels through fishing. Most human-shark encounters probably end with the human not even knowing the shark was anywhere near them. Most sharks aren’t dangerous to humans at all. Most shark attacks are easily treated and shark attacks themselves are rare as hell. Even with all of this taken into account, large, predatory sharks are always going to be scary based on the very issues I mentioned at the start of this ramble: they are very large predators that dwell in an environment in which not only are they supreme but we are abjectly helpless in a manner like nowhere else on earth.

Don’t fear the sharks. You don’t have to love them, cherish them, and try to give them huggles (that last one’s a bad idea all around), but you don’t have to fear them. And you definitely should not hate them. Ever. If you have to hate something, hate dolphins, because we all know what smug little buggers they are, with their cutesy faces and high levels of intelligence and apparent attitudes of friendly curiosity that make forming anthromorphic attachments as easy as playing pin-the-tail-on-the-elephant. At least hating dolphins is a challenge, with a lot of mental effort going into forming delusions that large. Hating sharks is like hating people who don’t quite agree with you: it’s easy to do and a sign that you are a major-league dip with the intelligence of a fruitcake. And if you don’t quite agree with that, I hate you.

As a parting note, there is only one species of shark that is to be actively loathed on its own merits, and it is found on the internet exclusively.

The Lolshark (AKA “Proof of Abuse of Graphics Programs”)

The horror.

The horror.

Thankfully far rarer than the lolcat. A shark that is given a caption is a sad thing whose very existence is inhumane and insulting to sharks as a whole. The lolshark pictured here is a perfectly innocuous basking shark, a cousin of the great white that feeds exclusively on plankton and that comes in second place in the “largest shark existing” awards, just behind the whale shark, an equally peaceful filter-feeder that also moonlights as the largest living fish. Now it is but a wretched shadow of its former self that exists only “for the lulz.” If you are unfortunate enough to come across one of these once-noble creatures, put it out of its misery immediately.

Now that that’s over, you know a bit more about sharks and I’ve run through at least half of everything that I know. And knowing is half the battle. Which, in my case, I think I lost years ago.
All original material copyright Jamie Proctor, 2009.
Picture Credits (all items were lazily located on Wikipedia):
Moose: Picture taken by bcameron54 on June 01 2008 off the shoulder of Highway 60 in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada.
Horn Shark: Picture taken by Magnus Kjaergaard in La Jolla, California.
Bull Shark: Public domain image from Wikipedia.
Tiger Shark: Adult female tiger shark, “Scarface”, approximately 16 feet in length, exact age unknown. Taken May 2007 at Shark Reef Marine Preserve, Beqa Lagoon, Fiji, by Terry Goss (Nikon D70S w/Nikkor 12-24mm in Ikelite housing, natural light at 65fsw). More at http://terrygoss.ifp3.com.
Great White Shark: Original image summary: Photo by Terry Goss, copyright 2006. Taken at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, August 2006. Shot with Nikon D70s in Ikelite housing, in natural light. Animal estimated at 11-12 feet (3.3 to 3.6 m) in length, age unknown. More photos can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pterantula/sets/. Removal of distracting elements from Image:Whiteshark-TGoss5b.jpg (taken by Terry Goss), edited in Helicon Filter by Althepal.
Lolshark: Nightmarishly twisted from a public domain image of a basking shark found on Wikipedia.

First.

Monday, February 16th, 2009

This post has been sanctioned “first” in accordance with the harmonious and ancient policies of the internet. May it live long and prosper, be viewed by more than a single digit’s worth of people, and be unblemished by server trouble, trolling, flaming, or leet haxing.

On the topic of “firsts” beyond their internet applicability as “that stupid message trolls post on comments sections and forum threads rather than actually thinking,” an interesting statistic that I may have hallucinated once stated that most blogs rarely get past that first sixpack or so of giddy posts, and a fairly major amount stall out on their very first. I don’t know about you, but I personally just can’t wait to become a statistic.

Anyways, maybe you’ll find some stuff here. Maybe you’ll even like it. Either way, it’s now time to wait in something quite a bit less than suspense as I muddle around and figure out how to run what is probably the simplest website design known to man.