Orb and Specter

Legit? Looks like the flash of an exploding transformer when the grid is being wrecked by a tornado, but this is a constant flash and most disturbingly has an erratic movement. It also reminds me of V’ger’s “pure plasma” weapon in the first Star Trek movie.

For what it’s worth, I believe ball lightning is probably a real thing; I don’t believe in supernatural orbs. But anyway, when I saw this in my Instagram feed I was reminded of something I read on wikipedia years ago, a story related by Tsar Nicholas II about his grandfather, Tsar Alexander II:

Once my parents were away, and I was at the all-night vigil with my grandfather in the small church in Alexandria. During the service there was a powerful thunderstorm, streaks of lightning flashed one after the other, and it seemed as if the peals of thunder would shake even the church and the whole world to its foundations. Suddenly it became quite dark, a blast of wind from the open door blew out the flame of the candles which were lit in front of the iconostasis, there was a long clap of thunder, louder than before, and I suddenly saw a fiery ball flying from the window straight towards the head of the Emperor. The ball (it was of lightning) whirled around the floor, then passed the chandelier and flew out through the door into the park. My heart froze, I glanced at my grandfather – his face was completely calm. He crossed himself just as calmly as he had when the fiery ball had flown near us, and I felt that it was unseemly and not courageous to be frightened as I was. I felt that one had only to look at what was happening and believe in the mercy of God, as he, my grandfather, did. After the ball had passed through the whole church, and suddenly gone out through the door, I again looked at my grandfather. A faint smile was on his face, and he nodded his head at me. My panic disappeared, and from that time I had no more fear of storms.

The sangfroid was strong with that one. (NB: I got a little over halfway through a biography of Alexander II last year without coming across any mention of this story.) Of course, considering the source – Nicholas himself, supposedly; the Orthodox church, certainly – the implied basis for the Emperor’s remarkable composure is his piety, but I prefer to see it as his strength of character – a strength corroborated by his behavior during the events of his assassination. It’s a terrible tragedy that the Russian left murdered their country’s only progressive Tsar.

As crazy as this story is, I can see Bismarck and Lincoln – Alexander’s unifying and liberating contemporaries – behaving in the same chill way. In contrast, I can imagine Washington and Napoleon curiously confronting the orb, and as, as it were, farce to their tragedy, I can also imagine Alexander III and Theodore Roosevelt in their superbutch, try hard fashion, attacking the orb with blade and scepter, challenging it to a duel.

Nineteenth century men: they don’t make ’em like that anymore.


My friend Nathan told me that years ago in a teenage compulsive suicidal despair, he drank gasoline. “How much?” I asked. Dunno, but he chugged. “What happened next, did you have to get your stomach pumped?” He said there was no need; he puked it all up almost instantly.

Of course gas isn’t exactly like oil but I think of him when I come across similar stories. For instance, I was just watching a shoot interview trailer in which Jim Cornette says that Wahoo McDaniel, in college, ran 26 miles and drank a quart of motor oil on a bet (legit). Which brings to mind this classic promo in which the oil, at least most of it, is spit out:

I’ve had it all over me on the farm, usually in the form of tractor hydraulic fluid from a ruptured line or stuck coupler valve. The taste is just as it smells, and it lingers. But apparently it’s not too poisonous. There’s also the experience of other omnivore mammals:

The wife of Kenneth Anderson kept an orphaned sloth bear cub from Mysore, which she named “Bruno”. The bear could be fed on almost anything (including motor oil) and was very affectionate toward people.

Can’t have a post about oil consumption without referencing this stuff: