Thursday, 30 October 2008

Spotted on Usenet

In a sig:

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Barbeques on fire by the chalets past the castle headland
I watched the gift shops glitter in the darkness off the Newborough gate
All these moments will be lost in time, like icecream on the beach
Time for tea.
Well, it made me laugh. If you don't get it, I'm not going to explain.

Here's the long version of the original.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Label fever

Image by danagraves via FlickrLast night I spent the duration of an entire album ironing some stuff, and cutting the labels out of some T-shirts and jumpers with this sewing-kit sort of tool thingy made for unpicking stitches.

Lately I've become increasingly sensitive to the scratchy feeling labels cause on the back of my neck, which was always one of my sensitive zones, but we won't go into that. I've noticed an increasing tendency for manufacturers, like Columbia for instance, to stop attaching labels altogether, replacing them with printed brand info instead.

I don't think my neck has become more sensitive to scratchy labels. I think it's simply a consequence of ageing, that one is less and and less willing as time goes on to submit to "the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to". Where there's nothing to be done, we submit: hence the knees, and the peeing at five ayem. Where there's something to be done, on the other hand, dammit we want it done.

So the labels in my clothing are gone, by my own efforts. I'd like for all of you reading this to keep that in mind, just in case my body should ever turn up in a canal, or a corn-field à la Casino. When you read the news report saying, "All labels appeared to have been carefully cut from his clothing (occasioning the odd hole here and there)" you'll know it was me, and rush to identify me to the authorities.

My body is intended for medical science, and I don't want it mouldering too long in a city morgue, you see. Consider it a public service.

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Sunday, 26 October 2008

Travelling light

This is the image produced by a body scanner at an airport, from the German magazine Der Spiegel. Pretty revealing huh.

This is what some minimum-wage rent-a-cop will be leering at as thousands of people go through airport security in the coming holiday season, in spring, and next summer. Here's another one:

The name of the game is security, but as the last seven years of post-9/11 hysteria have taught us, it's no more than security theatre. Members of the public are being forced to submit to increasingly intrusive, increasingly insulting and increasingly stupid procedures, designed to combat a threat that hardly exists, in the name of preventing a problem which requires a completely different solution.

How much longer? What other indignities do they have in mind for us?

And why has nobody yet read 1984, despite my calling for it to be compulsory reading?

My own solution: don't travel by air. I don't need to. I'm due to go to Madrid in March, and I'll be taking the train. Other than that, no plans. My American friends? I won't be seeing anyone any time soon.

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Saturday, 25 October 2008

That's Alright

A nice rockin groove, and a video that would make Robert Palmer proud. What more could you ask?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Couldn't have put it better myself

Gian Lorenzo BerniniImage via Wikipedia

Like that grand piazza, which Bernini designed in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the enormous marble sculptures for which the artist is best known are for all practical purposes untransportable.
What does that leave? As it happens, a significant body of work: especially the portrait busts, a genre in which the young Bernini demonstrated that he was head and shoulders above the competition.

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A Scotsman Who Can't Watch A Movie Without Shouting At ...

This is totally me.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Domain names


Image by via Flickr

Domainr helps you find a domain name outside the usual .com, .org field, using lesser-known TLDs (like their own .nr).

Which means there are some unexpected results. For instance, might be available in Spain. is definitely not available in Belgium. might be available, as might

On a more elevated level, you might try, or, but don’t bother with or might be available or it might not. They’re not saying.

Hours of fun for a dreary winter evening.

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Brilliant, and disgusting. Challenge yourself.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

X Factor 2008 - Live Show 1: Laura White (HD)

The next big thing. Wait and see. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Manatee Squash

Crumple zone.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Eddie IzzardImage via WikipediaSomebody had the brilliant idea of illustrating the comedy of Eddie Izzard with some animations done with Lego peeps. What could be more appropriate?

Start here with James Bond, and take it from there.

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Monday, 13 October 2008


In Zadig, the Book of Fate, written by Voltaire in 1747, the hero is an admirable man, and adviser to the King of Babylon. The Queen, Astarte, develops a fondness for Zadig, which shocks the loyal man. He confides in his friend Cador, who advises him thus:

Cador said to him; ’tis now some considerable Time since, I have discover’d that secret Passion which you have foster’d in your Bosom, and yet endeavour’d to conceal even from your self. The Passions carry along with them such strong Impressions, that they cannot be conceal’d. Tell me ingenuously Zadig; and be your own Accuser, whether or no, since I have made this Discovery, the King has not shewn some visible Marks of his Resentment. He has no other Foible, but that of being the most jealous Mortal breathing. You take more Pains to check the Violence of your Passion, than the Queen herself does; because you are a Philosopher; because, in short, you are Zadig; Astarte is but a weak Woman; and tho’ her Eyes speak too visibly, and with too much Imprudence; yet she does not think her self blame-worthy. Being conscious
of her Innocence, to her own Misfortune, as well as yours, she is too unguarded.
I tremble for her; because I am sensible her Conscience acquits her. Were you both agreed, you might conceal your Regard for each other from all the World: A rising Passion, that is smother’d, breaks out into a Flame; Love, when once gratified, knows how to conceal itself with Art.
In other words, both Zadig and Astarte are in danger, he because he has done nothing wrong, and she because she doesn't recognise the wrong she's doing in being infatuated by Zadig. Were they both guilty, and felt guilty, they'd do a better job of covering their tracks, Cador explains.

There's a lesson there for all of us.

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Sunday, 12 October 2008

Hitchens on form

"What are the main principles of a banana republic? A very salient one might be that it has a paper currency which is an international laughingstock: a definition that would immediately qualify today’s United States of America. We may snicker at the thriller from Wasilla, who got her first passport only last year, yet millions of once well-traveled Americans are now forced to ask if they can afford even the simplest overseas trip when their folding money is apparently issued by the Boardwalk press of Atlantic City. But still, the chief principle of banana-ism is that of kleptocracy, whereby those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it. At all costs, therefore, the one principle that must not operate is the principle of accountability."

America the Banana Republic: Politics & Power:

Ronettes - Be My Baby

"For every kiss you give me, I'll give you three."

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Species name

Which bird is known in Hungarian as Kengyelfuto Gyalogkakukk?

For the answer, click here. (SFW)

Speaking of SSCs

Vicent my cousin...Image by Tonyç via FlickrSpeaking of SSC's (see previous post), here are two great sites for confessions:

Post Secret receives anonymous postcards from all over the world, with people communicating things they'd rather not confess out in the open. Some of the submissions are painfully honest, and honestly painful.

The Experience Project aims to put short, shameful confessors in touch with others like themselves, which is a bit odd, as if closet gays or adulterers are looking for contacts with others like themselves. I can see the value of knowing there are others out there going through what you're going through, but I wouldn't necessarily want to get in touch with them.

And then, for the rest of us, there's the secret blog. Something about posting your wickedness to the Internet makes it more cathartic than simply keeping a journal. There's the constant danger of being caught, slim as the chances may be. And a journal, even a beautiful Moleskine, won't allow you to post hyperlinks, photos, audio and video.

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Short shameful confession

This blog is number four on a Google search for the term "short shameful confession".

Also 24th and 45th. Miz UV is at 46. I guess I just have more shame to confess.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

That one

This could be the slip of the tongue that goes down in history. I'd heard about it before I saw it, and even then I was stunned. He really did say it.

I say "slip of the tongue" not to suggest he didn't mean it. I use it in the Freudian sense: he did mean it, he just didn't mean to say it out loud.

It would have been catastrophic against a white opponent. Now, he may as well start calling Obama "boy".


See more funny videos at Funny or Die UK


Good Luck, Father TedImage via WikipediaGot a tumblelog? Back it up.

Not got one? Get one. Me and Towse gots one (each). So that's an endorsement.

So does Graham Linehan, creator of Father Ted and The IT Crowd, who also has a blog.

What more does it take to persuade you peeps?

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Get shaggin

Mingle2 - How Sexually Experienced Are You?20

Everyday Latin

Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!
If you can read this sign, you can get a good job in the fast-paced, high-paying world of Latin!

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.
I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult.

Noli me vocare, ego te vocabo.
Don't call me, I'll call you.

Nullo metro compositum est.
It doesn't rhyme.

Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.
I don't care. If it doesn't rhyme, it isn't a poem.

Fac ut gaudeam.
Make my day.

My World and Welcome... Funny Pages: Handy Latin Phrases:

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Long story short

Hyperwords for Firefox.

Get it. Now. You won't believe you lived without it.

Stuff white people like

Based on a post from the very funny blog of the same name.


Click to biggify

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Elephants, yeah

A tribute to Pavarotti. And elephants.

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The eyeballing game

See how good your visual acuity is. I scored 8.33, having royally screwed up the first couple of exercises before my eyes got into the zone. One or two uncannily close results. Maybe they'll let me be a jet-pilot after all.

The eyeballing game

And feathered canyons everywhere

Towse posted some clouds.

Two can play at that game, sister.

Skill set

Woodcut of the first patented lockstitch sewin...Image via WikipediaHere's a list of skills which Popular Mechanics thinks every man should be able to perform. I don't know what they expect from women.

I've bolded the ones I can honestly say I can do, and asterisked the ones that make me go WTF? I don't even know what those terms mean, let alone how to do them.

The list is obviously lacking in many important areas. These are the kind of skills you expect from a man living in the 1940s, maybe. Or Dan from Roseanne. Some of us in the 21st century have substituted other skills for "splitting firewood" fucksake.

Feel free to play along.

On with the list:


1. Handle a blowout
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes*
4. Replace fan belt
5. Wax a car
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle
7. Use a stick welder
8. Hitch up a trailer
9. Jump start a car

Handling Emergencies

10. Perform the Heimlich
11. Reverse hypothermia
12. Perform hands-only CPR
13. Escape a sinking car


14. Carve a turkey
15. Use a sewing machine
16. Put out a fire
17. Home brew beer
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric
19. Move heavy stuff
20. Grow food
21. Read an electric meter
22. Shovel the right way -- which way do they mean?
23. Solder wire
24. Tape drywall
25. Split firewood
26. Replace a faucet washer
27. Mix concrete
28. Paint a straight line
29. Use a French knife*
30. Prune bushes and small trees
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch
34. Fell a tree
35. Replace a broken windowpane
36. Set up a ladder, safely
37. Fix a faucet cartridge*
38. Sweat copper tubing
39. Change a diaper
40. Grill with charcoal
41. Sew a button on a shirt
42. Fold a flag

Medical Myths

43. Treat frostbite
44. Treat a burn
45. Help a seizure victim
46. Treat a snakebite
47. Remove a tick

Military Know-How

48. Shine shoes
49. Make a drum-tight bed
50. Drop and give the perfect pushup


51. Run rapids in a canoe
52. Hang food in the wild
53. Skipper a boat
54. Shoot straight
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
56. Escape a rip current

Primitive Skills

57. Build a fire in the wilderness
58. Build a shelter
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes

60. Floods
61. Tornados
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids

65. Cast a line
66. Lend a hand
67. Change a tire
68. Throw a spiral*
69. Fly a stunt kite
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle
75. Ride a bike


76. Install a graphics card
77. Take the perfect portrait
78. Calibrate HDTV settings
79. Shoot a home movie
80. Ditch your hard drive

Master Key Workshop Tools

81. Drill driver*
82. Grease gun*
83. Coolant hydrometer
84. Socket wrench
85. Test light
86. Brick trowel
87. Framing hammer
88. Wood chisel
89. Spade bit
90. Circular saw
91. Sledge hammer
92. Hacksaw
93. Torque wrench
94. Air wrench
95. Infrared thermometer*
96. Sand blaster
97. Crosscut saw
98. Hand plane
99. Multimeter
100. Feeler gauges

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Saturday, 4 October 2008


The ten digits of a Z560M Nixie Tube.Image via Wikipedia
I've been counting up my demons (as they say in Teh Cold Play) and I find I have one too many.

Could the person this belongs to please come by and pick it up?

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Beim schlafengehen | On going to sleep

The third of the four so-called Last Songs by Richard Strauss (not to be confused with the Strausses of Vienna), this is a setting of words by Hermann Hesse, and quite possibly the most beautiful song ever written. The words, which I’ve translated below with the help of Google, speak of falling asleep, but they are also about dying. Strauss wrote the Four Last Songs in 1948, when he was 84. He died in 1949.

The video is one of several available, and features Lucia Popp.

Nun der Tag mich müd' gemacht,
soll mein sehnliches Verlangen
freundlich die gestirnte Nacht
wie ein müdes Kind empfangen.

Hände, laßt von allem Tun,
Stirn, vergiß du alles Denken,
alle meine Sinne nun
Wollen sich in Schlummer senken.

Und die Seele unbewacht,
Will in freien Flügen schweben,
Um im Zauberkreis der Nacht
tief und tausendfach zu leben.

On going to sleep

Now the day has wearied me
My eager desire is to be received,
Welcomed by the starry night
like a tired child.
Hands, leave everything;
Mind, forget all thought.
All my senses now wish
Is to sink into slumber.
And the unfettered soul,
Floats in free flight,
To live deeper, a thousand-fold,
In the magic circle of the night.

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Friday, 3 October 2008

Ook duiven | Doves too


Image by yourbartender via Flickr

I’ve been looking at the website of one of the mothers of some little kids at Boy Ten’s school. Jo Govaerts is a Flemish poet and writer, and some of her work is listed there. I think she’s pretty bloody good, and of course I'm missing half of it.

She won't mind if I reproduce one very short one, with a rough translation by me, from her 1989 collection De twijfelaar, published when she was only 17 (her first collection was published at the age of 14):

Ook duiven

Ook duiven kwamen eens
aan land gekropen
met de logge poten van
een amfibie. Misschien

wilden ze sterker
hoopten ze harder
geloofden ze meer.

Doves too

Doves too once came
crawling onto land
on the sluggish legs
of an amphibian. Maybe

their desire was greater
their hope was harder
their belief more strong.

Ook duiven | Jo Govaerts

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Short shameful confession

take no prisoners

Image by sarmax via Flickr

I’m not a nice person. All those things I did you thought were nice, they were all planned, thought-out, rehearsed. I did it to make you like me. I know what works and what doesn’t.

On the other hand:

Even fake kindness is better than no kindness at all.