Wednesday, 30 April 2008


A family of four :en:lovebirds.Image via WikipediaHere's a message from a French lovebird.

This one's from a German wing-commander.

This is one of the boys from the Old Country.

Great fun. The trick to write it so it sounds right. It's harder than you think.

Ask this guy.


Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Saturday, 26 April 2008


So I met this guy, right, and I was like, What do you do? and he was like, I'm a plant geneticist specialising in salad greens and I'm all like, Dude get over yourself, I mean it's hardly rocket science.

A punchline pictured yesterday

Jazz legend Lyttelton dies at 86

I'm sorry I haven't a hankie.



Humph is seated, as you can see, beside the lovely Samantha.

Here's another clip, audio-only this time.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


You have been gladrolled.

Railway tank fail


Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Monday, 21 April 2008


The Puffy ShirtImage via Wikipedia

Last night I dreamed I watched The Puffy Shirt again.

Fifteen years, and still that style hasn't come back into fashion.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Life experience

has been illustratedImage via WikipediaTake a look at this picture of William of Ockham.

You see it? The guy is clean-shaven.

So this is someone who knew a lot about razors, okay? Listen when he says something.

The way things are

Image via Wikipedia

Monkey ;).

The concept of the Monkeysphere explains society to my complete satisfaction.

Now, what are we going to do about it?

What Are Some Things You Can't Say?

Well, what are yours? On a macro scale (it does nobody any good not to abort the handicapped) or the micro (I never loved you from the outset)?

Suggestions in comments.

LOL cat

This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NYC. Famous as Monk's in Seinfeld, and as :en:Tom's Diner, in the Suzanne Vega song of that name. It is located at the northeast corner of W. 112th Street and Broadway in New York, close to the campus of Columbia University, in the same building as the :en:Goddard Institute of Space Studies.A restaurant pictured yesterday
Image via Wikipedia
Everything you could want to know, you'll find here.

For instance:

A listing of the top restaurant franchises for 2007.

Top Latino chefs US-wide in 2003.

Best workplaces in Canada.

Australia's wealthiest managers.

Most powerful African-Americans in film.

And so on.

Friday, 18 April 2008

The real Borat

"I want to love a girl from the hair to the nipple."

"I wanna sing for Mr The Bee Gees."

The real David Brent

This guy is totally a real-life David Brent. Listen to him speak at the beginning, then get out fast, because the singing part is a big steaming pile.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Doghouse Fail

Thanks to Thomas for:

Doghouse Fail « The FAIL Blog

Young hearts run free

You've probably seen this story by now, about the mother who let her nine-year-old take the NYC subway home alone. She's taken some flak, but I applaud her. Kids today are way too pampered. In my day we were let loose from dawn to dusk etc. Some time ago I created this map of my childhood realm.

Of course, having said that, the particular situation we're in makes the level of surveillance and vigilance we exercise on our own children exactly appropriate. Too bad, but that's the way it is. Everyone else needs to let their kids run free, however.


On the one side, photos of you as you were then. On the other side, photos of you in the same pose, as you are now.

Here's what people sent in.

I found it poignant. We've all seen pix of ourselves and thought, "I don't even know that person". And, "I will never be that person again".

I agree with kottke's choice of favourite. His blog is where I saw it.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Britain's Got Talent -- Andrew Johnston

Lad gets bullied at school because his "mates" don't like his sort of music. His response: carry on singing.

A star is born. There isn't a dry eye in the house. He's better than Paul Potts. And the best thing of all -- he doesn't try to do it like Mariah Carey.

Media displays typical good taste

How much do you recall about the Virginia Tech massacre? Take our quiz

UPDATE: Looks like the page was taken down.

Oh well, you get the idea.

Obama would review crimes in Bush White House

Barack ObamaImage via Wikipedia

Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News asked Barack Obama about prosecuting officials of the Bush Administration for possible crimes committed in the Bush years. This is his answer:

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing betyween really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.

Philadelphia Daily News

My advice: Buy as much brown trouser material as you can and hold it for the sudden demand among Washington tailors between November 2008 and January 2009.

Dear diary

Attended a major corporate press conference today, and picked up a few important details:

  • a coffee mug
  • a soft leather card case
  • a soft leather notebook case, pocket sized, small enough to fit in the pocket of your swimming trunks, if you happen to wear such things
  • two pens
  • a very heavy box of Pierre Marcolini chocolates
And the lunch was pretty bloody good, too.

So, what was the company, the occasion, the product?

Who the fuck cares? It's all about the swag, baby.

True saying

You can run, but you can't hide. Because you'll probably be out of breath from the running, and your pursuer will hear you.

What if I had been an innocent little kiddie?

Surfing the byways of the Internet wave, and all unawares I come upon this, without a word of warning: picture of two women and a donkey.

In case you thought I was Scottish, think again

Blog in your native Indic script
Convert English characters to Indic script as you type! Learn more about transliteration on Blogger.


Strange experience

Today I was at this place, with some people, and this thing happened. Some of the people did one thing, and some did another thing. I could hardly believe it.

I suppose it's at times like that, that you really see what people are like.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Let he who is without sin

I usually like The Presurfer because Gerard takes the trouble to look out stuff you may not have seen in every venue on the blogosphere, and mostly without overt editorialising.

However I take exception to this post, which I found to be juvenile, cruel, gratuitous, vicious, discriminatory and quite contrary to the spirit of his blog. Many commenters agreed, and his response was to "get a sense of humour".

I don't know about you, but I get my humour elsewhere than from laughing at people who've done nothing to anyone. I don't kick crips, I don't trip up blind dudes, I don't mock Downies, so call me fuddy-duddy. If you think I'm wrong, feel free to say so in comments.

If not, I think it might be appropriate for me to recruit peeps to go to that post, let Gerard know what your thoughts are on his ill-considered post, then by all means stay and read the rest, because apart from one aberration, it's a very entertaining blog.

You is can be saying that again

PROOFING "Those are fools who do not proof." Digital data are human invisible ones, ergo they has to be proofed. The wide variety of used software, color management, drivers and settings is such a big range, nobody can be experienced enough to estimate the concrete result of a digital workflow process. Only a proof can be the ceckpoint in between, between prepress and print. Although proof itsself is an complicate technical area this difficulties are no excuse to avoid an frequently used proofing through the whole workflow chain.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Musical future

Very much looking forward to this:

June 2009. Maastricht. Book now, baby.

Oratorical Gestures

and many more ...

Oratorical Gestures « Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities

via FriendFeed

The shocking footage you were never meant to see


See Mike Draw

The atheists' nightmare

Bananas are easy to peel, curve toward the human mouth, fit your hand perfectly and taste great.

Therefore God exists.

No joke. These dudes are serious.

Stranger than fiction

It never occurred to me that someone might think that the re-enactments were not re-enactments at all, but honest-to-God vérité footage shot while the crime was happening. It’s crazy for someone to think I had just happened to be out on that roadway, that night, with a 35-millimeter film crew and many, many cameras – cameras taking multiple angles, high angles from overhead, low angles at tire-level looking under the car, even angles inside the suspect vehicle. How could anyone think that? How could anyone believe that? Of course, people believe some pretty amazing things, and it made me think: is it a legitimate question? How do we know what is real and what is re-enacted in a photograph? What is real and what is a simulacrum? It’s a question about images. How do we know what is happening for the first time and what is a re-enactment of an event? In a photograph or in a movie? How do we know it hasn’t been doctored or altered to deceive us about the “reality” we imagine we are observing?

New York Times Blog

Documentary film-maker Errol Morris talks about the use of re-enactments in documentaries, and the whole problem of portraying the truth. Very thought-provoking. In two parts.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco Formed to Honor George W. Bush

Looking to honor the forty-third President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, the recently formed Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is looking to change the name of the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Facility. It seems the group would like to rename the SF Zoo adjacent facility to the "George W Bush Sewage Plant."


Sign of the times

Results 1 - 10 of about 105,000 for plagerism. (0.20 seconds)

plagerism - Google Search


In my day we could at least spell it.


Checkser is a handy checklist maker. Here are the instructions.






Blog, Slog, Filibuster | GEIST Magazine

Tasting notes

Graham crackers fresh from the boxImage via WikipediaA bit of a change this week, as instead of looking at my own local weekend supplements, I've been trawling through the archives of the Wine Spectator's What Am I Tasting? feature, which has produced a magnificent harvest for one week. Bear in mind all the terms we've encountered so far, some 140 in all, have been left out to avoid duplication. And that's only one year of the archive. So lots more plundering to come, I hope.

Another point about the source: these terms are all as used, and for once haven't been translated by me from another language.

And a general point: the WS goes further than the Flemish press, towards the sort of territory often parodied when wine-writers are being mocked. But ask yourself this: how many of these terms do I not understand? How many of them are inappropriate to a description of taste (whether or not they're appropriate to a description of a particular taste)? Okay, words like tar, flint or tobacco may not sound very delicious, but they do, I think, convey something about a taste which you could at least imagine.

The only one that kind of stumped me was 'sanguine'. What did he mean, blood? If so, it makes sense, though it's funny how we usually convey the taste of blood by reference to another material -- metal. So then how far is 'sanguine' from 'iron'? Perhaps we'd need to have the glasses in front of us to know for sure.

I'll be going back to the WS well in weeks to come, as well as catching up with my usual sources in between. At some point I'll post the full cumulative list, which I'm also updating and keeping in alphamabetical order. If anyone wants a copy, just let me know.

So here is this week's list:

kirsch, French roast, Graham cracker, wood, mineral, lemon verbena, iron, plum cake, loam, dried papaya, cardamom, mushroom, grilled thyme, black olive, sage, boysenberry, dark cocoa, tar, honeysuckle, cracked pepper, smoky, meaty oak, quince, persimmon, dried pineapple, bread dough, butterscotch, plum, spring blossoms, slate, brioche, lemon zest, straw, flowers, hazelnut, fresh earth, garrigue, stone, mocha, tangy grass, chive, flint, sweet spice, sanguine.

Question of stile

Unusual spellings in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility:


Word Modern spelling
stile style
encreased increased
dropt dropped
inforced enforced
stopt stopped
expence expense
may be maybe
stedfast steadfast
aukwardness awkwardness
independance independence
staid stayed
chuse choose
doatingly dotingly
shew show
wrapt wrapped
biassed biased
croud crowd
lavendar lavender
intreat entreat
tremour tremor
wo'nt won't
choaked choked
villany villainy
stilish stylish
extasy ecstasy
doated doted
head-akes headaches
inclosure enclosure
foretel foretell
outstaid outstayed
popt popped
aweful awful
recal recall
engratiating ingratiating
scissars scissors

An interesting fruit in several languages*

According to Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, Topinamboo is the name of a province in Brazil, used  by the satirist (together with Lapland) to signify wilderness, remoteness and so on. There is also a tribe of the same name, also known as the Tupinambas.

Topinambour, meanwhile, is the French name for the Helianthus tuberosus, which our cold maids do Jerusalem artichoke call them. Here's what they look like:

And here's a recipe from St. Delia.

It's not clear why the French should have got it so wrong. The tubers were originally sent back to France by the explorer Samuel de Champlain (founder of Quebec City, and the man for whom Lake Champlain is named) in about 1605, from the area now known as Cape Cod, in I believe Massachusetts. He noted that the flavour of the unprepossessing root was similar to the artichoke, but the French name does not reflect that (nor does the alternative poire de terre, or earth-pear, by allusion to pomme de terre, or potato).

As that suggests, the Jerusalem artichoke comes from neither Brazil nor Jerusalem, but from North America. The name in English is a corruption of girasole, from girare, to turn, and sole, the Sun. In fact the tuber is a relative of the sunflower, called girasole in Italian, which as you probably know turns its face constantly towards the Sun.

Hence the other names for the Jerusalem artichoke: sunroot or sunchoke. The same derivation gives us heliotrope, which also means "turn towards the Sun". Helianthus means simply sun + flower.

The English name artichoke, incidentally, has links to the names chard (or cardoon), the French for thistle (chardon), cactus, and the fruit known as tuna grown in Sicily and elsewhere. The choke part of the word is thought to be related to the Italian for 'stump' (ciocco) or to the fact that the central core is hairy and inedible, but that seems unlikely.


*obviously the Jerusalem artichoke is not a fruit. But interesting tuber might have been slightly off-putting.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

110 best books: The perfect library

Not much you can quibble with, really. Apart from Dave Pelzer, who should not be there. And Lynne Truss. I mean come on, they're listing Thucydides and Proust, Diderot and Blake. Who needs Lynne Truss? Nice they have a crime and a romance section, which allows in The Maltese Falcon and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. They should probably have included plays, and criticism, and more non-fiction in general. Everybody needs to have a bit of Oliver Sacks, Gombrich's History of Art, Bertrand Russell and GBS on music. And where was Borges? Throw 100 Years out and let the master in.

YMMV, of course.

110 best books: The perfect library - Telegraph

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Telling it like it is

Nir Rosen has reported extensively from Iraq, and not only from hotel bars in the Green Zone. He knows what he's talking about. That's why the US congress invited him to give it the benefit of his experience.

This is what he told them. It may come as a shock to some people: the idea of a journalist not sucking up to the regime, but coming to his own conclusions based on (gasp!) first-hand evidence. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Waves of enthusiasm

Check out this spectacular photo on Flickr.

All right, now mouse over it. This is said to be the most commented-on photo on the site.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Great kottke post

I sometimes say "muscles" so that the 'c' has a 'k' sound (the same way the cartoon character Popeye says it), computor instead of "computer" (after Ned Beatty's exaggerated pronunciation of "Mr Luthor" in the Superman movies), and I occasionally say benimber instead of "remember" because it was something my cousin Paul said more than 20 years ago.

Don't miss the excellent comments tail. This is something I do all the time. Far too many examples to list. A product, perhaps, of speaking and hearing foreign languages all day every day. Though kottke has so many people who do it too. It must just be something peeps do.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Tasting notes tout court

Belimbing alias StarfruitImage from WikipediaHere is today's list of tasting terms, inevitably growing shorter as the weeks go on, and the wine-writer repeats himself. We're going to have to start looking for new sources.

eucalyptus, cream, licorice, thyme, toast, jammy fruit, star fruit, preserved limes, menthol, black plums, chalky, black cherries, cactus juice, redcurrant jelly, red cherries, spicy fennel, raisins, molasses, nettles, melons, leathery spice, honeyed almonds, almonds, marmalade, crystallised pineapple, waxy, marzipan, crystallised peach.

Tasting notes in full colour

From Bizarro by Dan Piraro

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The Predictions of Isaac Bickerstaff

Sometime in February, 1708 an almanac went on sale in London titled Predictions for the Year 1708 by Isaac Bickerstaff. This almanac lay the groundwork for an elaborate April Fool's Day prank that was perpetrated upon one of England's leading astrologers.

Total pwnage in an 18th century April Fool trick. Read to the end to discover the Bounder's true Identitie!

The Predictions of Isaac Bickerstaff

A note from home

Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the Marines.

Excuse notes from parents reviews

As implied by the title, this collection probes deeply into Wagner's vast Ring piece. Accusations of anti-semitism make Wagner's Ring a sensitive area today, but it continues to offer pleasure to many. This is a masterful work of musical scholarship that deserves a place on any sturdy shelf. No doubt it will influence appreciation of Wagner's Ring for many years to come. Among the highlights is the revealing chapter on the many characters than Wagner has managed to cram into his Ring. Also covered are the brass instruments that Wagner designed specifically for insertion within the Ring. There will always be those who are opposed to musical analysis (just the same as there will always be those who resort to juvenile humour, regarding the title). They will say that Wagner's Ring is 'violated' with excessive force of scholarship. For this reviewer, however, Wagner's Ring remains quite intact and is indeed tightened by the exploration. In short, this stimulating venture in and out of Wagner's Ring has resulted in a seminal, fluid output. Reviews for Penetrating Wagner's "Ring" (Da Capo Paperback): John L. DiGaetani: Books

Plus dozens more along the same lines.

Tasting notes in the New Yorker

Consider product A, in which

layers of cedar and raspberry strike a sharp upfront note, while clove and creamy notes add body while contributing an exotic, sumptuous character that conveys luxury in its essence. Might there also be a trace of rubber, though?

And then there’s B, with

its aroma of underripe bananas, and the way the fruitiness opens up on my tongue with a flick of bitterness that quickly fades to reveal lush, grassy tones.

Product C, on the other hand, is

fruity (with a high-profile role for the deliciously garbagey, overripe smell of guava) plus floral (powdery rosy) plus green (neroli and oakmoss).

These are descriptions of, respectively, a chocolate, an olive oil, and a perfume, but you couldn’t possibly guess that. I’ve never caught traces of red fruit in a dark chocolate, I don’t even know what neroli is, and, as for underripe bananas in olive oil, I’m more likely to catch the Sundance Kid in Bolivia. That doesn’t mean that the people who can taste these things are bluffing; rather, they have a vocabulary of specific sense references that I haven’t acquired. (To complicate matters, sometimes these people actually are bluffing.) There is a loss involved in learning about taste: as you gain a more detailed and precise vocabulary, you risk talking to fewer and fewer people—the people who know what these taste references mean. As your vocabulary becomes more specific, more useful, it also becomes less inclusive.

John Lanchester, restaurant critic and author of The Debt to Pleasure, considers our recent series of Tasting Notes, or something like it.


The New Yorker


“If someone comes into my office wearing perfume or with a strong shampoo or laundry soap smell, I have to ask them to leave,” she says. “On occasion, I’ve made people wear a garbage bag over their clothes because the detergent smell was so fierce I couldn’t endure it.”

Some people take their sensitivity to perfumes to great lengths.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Rhythm Stick

Among all the million musical moments on YouTube at the moment, Dury singing this amazing song is probably the single most exciting thing. I tune in half a dozen times a day, wondering what I have to do to make my words even half that good.

Clive James considers his five favourite lyrics of all time.


Guardian Unlimited

Life Before (and after) Death

This sombre series of portraits taken of people before and after they had died is a challenging and poignant study. The work by German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta, who recorded interviews with the subjects in their final days, reveals much about dying - and living. Life Before Death is at the Wellcome Collection from April 9-May 18

Calvin and Hobbes

from deviantART

Breaking news

Breaking news.

(Not a rickroll, honest.)