Sunday, 29 June 2008

Pop principles

This bass was built by the Luthier Nathaniel MillerImage via WikipediaOne of the main reasons I've always been attracted to pop music is the beauty of the stuff. The guitar is a very beautiful artefact, and some more than others. The guitars used by this lot, for example, are extremely covetable, despite the fact that the dude doesn't know WTF he's doing with it in his hands.

I used to have a bass guitar that looked a bit like this:

but the gorgeousness of the instrument (mine was even redder) didn't outweigh the PITA of being the bass player. So it had to go.

I suppose it will disappoint a lot of pop fans to realise that matters they imagined to be of crucial importance can in fact be decided on such superficial criteria. But hey, that's the way it goes.

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Cat's away

Friends Season 10Image via WikipediaAs are Boy Ten and Girl Fourteen.

Off on the last trip to visit Friends in Italy. Who will come back to live here three days after fambly returns.

So I'm alone here on mah own. Till Sunday week.

Where's the partaaaaaays?

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Psychologically sound

Robert Estes KenningtonImage by Robert of Fairfax via Flickr

They tried to make me go to rehab, I said,
If you have to make me, it's unlikely the benefits will be as lasting as if I were to go voluntarily,
So a yes or no, no, no,
Answer is hardly appropriate in the circumstances.

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Domestic situation

BerlinImage by Jose Fan via FlickrI hear a small crash, and go into the kitchen, where Boy Ten is standing looking at the wreckage of a porcelain funnel, kitchen funnel, china funnel he's been using to decant some of his juice back into the box, because he poured too much.

"What happened?" I ask, neutrally. Not "What did you do?" which is needlessly accusatory.

He starts to explain, but he's fighting back tears. I'm like, "It's okay, really. Cmere."

If it had been a cup, no problem. I suspect he's more upset because it was a strange kind of instrument, like an apothecary's tool. And we have -- had -- only one.

So he helps me sweep it up, and that's sufficient penance. I don't want my kids to beat themselves up over stuff. Accidents happen, even when you're being careful. That's what makes them accidents.

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Ukulele Orchestra of GB - Shaft

Saturday, 28 June 2008

You Tube grows up

The YouTube Screening Room is a platform for top films from around the world to find the audiences they deserve.

Every other Friday, you’ll find four new films featured in the YouTube Screening Room.

These films always appear with the permission and involvement of the filmmakers, so be sure to rate, share and leave comments. This is your chance to not only watch great films from all corners of the globe, but also to converse with the filmmakers behind them.

While the majority of these films have played at international film festivals, occasionally you’ll find films that have never before screened for wide audiences.

All films playing in the YouTube Screening Room are displayed within our High Quality player to give you the best viewing experience possible.
Be a part of a new generation of filmmaking and distribution and help us connect films and audiences in the world’s largest theater!


If you’re a filmmaker or distributor interested in playing in the YouTube Screening Room, please send an email with information about your film to

Due to the high volume of emails, we may not be able to respond to every query, however rest assured that we do read all requests. Please inquire only if you own all the digital rights to your film.


SG says: Check out an interesting Oscar-nominated comedy starring Kevin Pollak.

If this can become a repository for real original short films, it could be awesome.

Red, Red Wine

A collection of CorksImage via WikipediaI suppose at the back of my mind I knew this was a Neil Diamond song, although like most people I associate it with UB40, whose version is actually influenced wholly by Tony Tribe's. He was the one who spotted the possibility of a reggae rhythm.

Neil Diamond's original version is a completely different song, firmly fixed in the country genre by its sentiment and its subject matter. He doesn't sound like a country artist, but he writes great songs for those who do. The UB40 video from 1983, incidentally, is criminally cavalier with the lyrics. Here we see Ali getting pissed with his mates to forget his woman, but he's drinking pints, fucksake. You may not think that's important, but it is. Look at the title: it isn't just Red Wine, it's Red, Red Wine. There's a love there that nobody ever felt for beer.

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Enema of the state: Russian spa unveils monument to colon cleansing



Thursday, June 19th 2008, 3:31 PM

Nurses at the Mashuk Akva-Term spa in the Russian town of Zheleznovodsk pose with the newly unveiled enema monument on Wednesday June 18.

MOSCOW - A monument to the enema, a procedure many people would rather not think about, has been unveiled at a spa in the southern Russian city of Zheleznovodsk. The bronze syringe bulb, which weighs 800 pounds (363 kilograms) and is held by three angels, was unveiled at the Mashuk-Akva Term spa, the spa's director said Thursday. "There is no kitsch or obscenity, it is a successful work of art," Alexander Kharchenko told The Associated Press. "An enema is almost a symbol of our region.

Enema of the state: Russian spa unveils monument to colon cleansing

Friday, 27 June 2008

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Every year that goes by, there's an increasing number of young women to whom I can say, "I'm old enough to be your father".

Should the need ever arise.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Literary Corner

Take “Bleak House,” for example:  If only Richard Carstone had buggered Little Jo in front of the High Court of Chancery, the judges would have immediately snapped into action and settled the case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce before legal fees consumed his entire inheritance.  Of course, Carstone probably would have caught smallpox from the plucky urchin, but at least his lawsuit would be rocketing to the top of the docket.


You find Dickens references in the funniest places.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Short story

خل الهوى خله لغيري وغيركImage by ツ خله على كيفه via FlickrThe day the bees came back, they came in peace. The first of us they encountered was a boy of 14, who panicked, too young to have seen one before, and by chance swatted one of the creatures dead.

They took it as a token of hostility, and who could blame them?

We never got a third chance.

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"Unacceptable" quotes

Living in the Land of Foreign, we're deprived of the pleasures of the greengrocer's apostrophe and "inappropriate" quote-marks, so imagine my delight this morning when I saw this sign by the roadside:

News Flash!
"Sunday papers" available here!

Sunday, 22 June 2008


Just added a rockin new template to my tumblr log. Looks great.

It's a freebie from Sid05 who I discovered via Meg "meish" Pickard (she uses the extended version).

tumblr is really where all the videos should go.

Playing with photos

Digital Camera Fun
Created with - fun with your photos

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Welcome to Totlol

Totlol is a brand new community-moderated video website designed to be enjoyed by those between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.


Face Facts Corner

that is the QuestionImage by MJL.jordan via FlickrThe data contained in the entire human genome would fit on a 4Gb iPod, and still leave room for about 300 MP3 songs.

So we're not as complex as all that. Our entire code is about one-third of the code of Windows Vista.

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Short shameful confession

The White Rabbit.Image via WikipediaYesterday, at the cultural centre, where Boy Ten is taking part in a sort of sketch production of Alice in Wonderland, a moon-faced little girl, blonde as a Midwich Cuckoo, goes to me, "Do I know you?"

I'm like, "I don't know who you know. I can't see inside your head. I only know who I know."

She walked away.

Fucking with the heads of little kids, shocking. But it's never too early to get started on epistemology.

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Pet hates

Double open-end wrench or open-ended spannerImage via WikipediaThe news site reads

but of course it's no such thing. It's video of some people talking about what happened. There's not a single frame of the incident itself.

Apart from that, the headline is wrong. It wasn't the same tool twice. The first time it was a screwdriver, and the second time it was a wrench. Hey, the details matter.


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Bet you never even thought to ask

Here’s what a honey bun actually looks like:

Saturday, 21 June 2008

What would you do?

At the beginning of his Woodstock version of the Lennon-McCartney number With a Little Help From My Friends, Joe Cocker sings:

What would you do if I sang out of tune?

Would you stand up and walk out on me?

And so saying, he does. He sings the end of the second line out of tune. Nobody seems to mind. So there.

Still, I suppose he just had to ask.


Here he is in that historic performance, evidently dancing to another number entirely, and singing … not quite sure what he’s singing. Luckily there are subtitles. Oh, I’ll take this almond love. Yeah, man.


Free oral tradition

The journal Oral Tradition is throwing its archives open.

About Oral Tradition
History of the journal

OT was founded in 1986 to serve as an international and interdisciplinary forum for discussion of worldwide oral traditions and related forms. Since that time, and through the end of 2006, it has been published by Slavica Publishers, with an additional online edition through Project Muse from 2003 onward.

New, Universal Access

With the advent of eOT, the free, open-access electronic version of the journal based here, we aspire to remove many of the natural barriers created by print-based and subscription media. Since we believe that academic contributions should be as democratically available as possible, we are from this point onward offering the journal as a pro bono, gratis contribution to the field. Anyone with a connection to the internet will be able to read and redistribute its contents – not only the current issue, but also the entire 22 years and 10,000 pages of back issues.

In addition to reaching a much larger and more diverse readership, we hope that eOT will encourage submissions from scholars whose voices are not customarily heard in western print media because of the difficulties involved with currency exchange and distribution networks. Let me take this opportunity to offer a special invitation to non-western scholars to join the discussion by sending contributions for possible publication in this newly expanded forum for scholarly exchange. All materials should be transmitted electronically to John Miles Foley, Editor.

Oral Tradition

Sunday, 1 June 2008

The witch is dead, but it wasn't murder

Dorothy GaleImage via Wikipedia

The jurors were not exactly her peers, however. Sixth-graders in Valley Glen argued the case of the County of Oz vs. Dorothy Gale, in which the Kansas farm girl was tried for the water-melting murder of the Wicked Witch of the West. Dorothy was found not guilty of premeditated murder.

Los Angeles Times

The case uis being discussed on alt.obituaries, where my submission, made on an amicus curae basis, was that Dorothy was the duly deputised agent of the chief magistrate for the jurisdiction of Oz, who killed the Wicked Witch of the West (WWW) as she was resisting arrest. Dorothy used reasonable force (some water) and could not reasonably have foreseen the result to be fatal.

But there were other, dissenting, opinions presented.