27 April 2006

Hot Gossip!

The Hot Gossip dancers were one of the highlights of the Kenny Everett Television Show. Here's a typical transcript:

[Hot Gossip dancers are interrupted mid-shimmy by Kenny Everett]

Kenny: "Stop! Stop this heathen-ness. It's too turny-onny! It's too hot and wobbly. Stop, do you hear? [Chucks a bucket of water over Hot Gossip] Next time it'll be boiling lead!"

[Dancers squeal a bit. Cut to the next sketch, probably Angry of Mayfair berating the viewer for enjoying the programme too much]


[Kenny standing on his stage set in front of 25 TV monitors]

Kenny: "You may remember earlier on in the show we had to pour cold water on Hot Gossip. That's because they were... wobbling too much. Getting over-filthy. And they measured 200 decibels on the Hot-o-meter. Well, they've promised to behave now, and they've had a cold shower each - they've promised not to be naughty any more. Somehow I don't believe them...

[Cut to silver-clad Hot Gossip dancers writhing to the Theme From Shaft by Isaac Hayes...]

[Courtesy of KL]

Odyssey explained

You don't have to agree with the interpretation of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey - but this Flash animation is very stylish and convincing.

[Courtesy of Louwrens]

Movie-plot threat contest!

'Take trained lab rats with ricin-laced teeth, wrap them in foam rubber balls, drop them from low-flying airplanes over the streets of Hollywood and what have you got? The seeds of a movie plot. So maybe it's a B-grade movie plot, but you get the idea. That is just one of the entries in the Movie-Plot Threat Contest being held this month by a security specialist, Bruce Schneier. Forget bombs in the baby carriage or anthrax-spreading crop dusters. Mr Schneier wants contestants to think outside the box'

- Meg Cieply Peterson in the New York Times, 23 April 2006.

[Courtesy of Louwrens]

Now that's something to be proud of

'It's not twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham'

- Comedian Linda Smith, who died aged 48 on 27 February 2006, describes her hometown of Erith, south-east London. She was voted Wittiest Living Person by Radio 4 listeners in 2002. (Quoted in Guardian Weekly, 10 March 2006)

Microwaves in 1968

'Both the kitchen and the bakery use four 1.5-kilowatt magnetrons, operating on a frequency of 2450 megahertz. Cooking is said to be up to seven times faster than with a conventional cooker. Another advantage is that with microwave cooking the sides of the cooker remain cool: no thermal insulation is needed and the oven is much smaller and lighter at 2.5 tons. Cooking is cleaner and there is far less danger of fire. Moreover, dishes can be prepared in throwaway paper or plastic trays or dishes.

The morale of troops sheltering in foxholes may be expected to benefit greatly from the new cookers. Fresh meals will be prepared within smelling distance, and utensils will be incinerated by the oven after use or cleaned in an ultrasonic sink'

- New Scientist, 14 March 1968, on US Army experiments with microwave ovens

NZ First broadens its appeal to senior citizens

Apparently the party is also casting its net wider to encompass the support of elderly greyhounds, because party leader Winston Peters has announced an adoption programme for retired racing dogs. If only they could vote...

Peters Launches Greyhounds As Pets Adoption Programme

26 April 2006

'The Fat Slags': legitimate topic for academic discourse

English A-level student Rachel Spence scored 38 out of 40 with her Media Studies essay on Viz magazine cartoon characters Tracy and Sandra, a.k.a. 'The Fat Slags'. Worth a read, even if she does manage to slip the phrase 'body fascist' in there. Viz killed off the Slags in 2004 because they'd passed their use-by date.

25 April 2006

Is 'Old Stomach Bloke Infected with Plague' the best insult you can manage?

The Times' Tokyo correspondent spills the beans on his harshest critic (a Japanese blogger), and discusses the curious mildness of insults in the Japanese vocabulary.

This is a country in which someone who is incandescent with rage will, as a very last resort, denounce his antagonist as baka — a word no stronger than the word “fool”. While an English speaker can choose between “Put a sock in it”, “Shut your mush” or “Zip it”, Japanese is restricted to the anaemic urusai, which means nothing more than “You are noisy”. It is claustrophobic to find oneself in a country without insults — or that is what I thought until I encountered the work of Ryunosuke Kita.

The Times, 25 April 2006

Dying old and leaving a beautiful corpse

A Greek Orthodox monk who died 15 years ago is attracting huge crowds of worshippers hailing a "miracle" because his body is largely preserved. Vissarionas Korkoliakos, clad in his robes and the Book of the Gospels clutched in his hands, was discovered intact last month when he was disinterred during repairs to his crypt at Agathonos monastery, near the central Greek city of Lamia.

"Even [his] soft parts are intact," a senior cleric said as the Orthodox Church called it "a celestial sign, a message for our people and our time".

Medical experts said that the body of Korkoliakos, who died in 1991 aged 83, was only partially decomposed because of low humidity in his tomb.

The Times, 25 April 2006

[Far be it from me to be a Doubting Thomas, but in this news report from Samara, he doesn't look too flash. Even for a dead person. But it's just super that his 'soft parts are intact', isn't it?]

The pillows do the talking in Southland

Three thousand, six hundred and fifty-nine people turned out last weekend in Invercargill to make a world record attempt for the largest pillow-fight ever. The streets of Invy must've been even more deserted than usual!

There were no injuries, other than to the pillows.

Source: Southland Times, 24 April 2006

21 April 2006

Have you been bad?

Because David Bowie is very disappointed in you. Come to mention it, so is Gary Coleman.

Literally seconds of entertainment!

The trip of a (possibly short) lifetime

In light of recent riots in Honiara in response to the election of Snyder Rini as the new Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, perhaps the Solomon Star newspaper might like to amend its tourist promotion slogan (see left sidebar).

Next holiday come to the Solomon Islands. Tropical islands, palm fringed beaches, world class diving sites and fishing to die for.

[Courtesy of Junglette]

19 April 2006

1906 San Francisco earthquake

Fascinating archival photographs from the San Francisco earthquake, which devastated the city 100 years ago this week.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports

Dungeon Escape!

If you enjoyed the 1980s videogame Dragon's Lair, you'll likely enjoy this fast-paced no-budget stick-figure homage...

Dungeon Escape!

[Courtesy of Louwrens]

18 April 2006

On the subject of Canadian hairdos

"...I love Canada. It is a great country much too cold for good sense, inhabited by compassionate, intelligent people with bad hairdos"

- Yann Martel, Life of Pi, 2002

'The month ahead holds the prospect of romance... and incoming mortar fire'

Parliament's back-benchers have been rooting out the one great evil of the Government's dastardly plot to subvert all right-thinking individuals' free will and destroy the economy in one fell swoop. Yes, that's right - they've discovered that the Defence Force pays $76 per fortnight for a spoof horoscope column in the Army's newsletter. Scandal! And they've been running the column since 1990. Gasp!!

"While it's not a lot of money, it does exemplify or highlight a culture of waste that is evident within the Ministry of Defence," says NZ First defence spokesman Ron Mark.

[Perhaps someone should point out to Mr Mark that the Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence are separate entities. On second thoughts, it's probably not worth the effort]

16 April 2006

'Someone had left a pile of old baked beans sitting there in my ear canal'

An intrepid BBC journalist goes to a Japanese ear-cleaning salon to get the gunk trowelled out of his murky canals, and learns about the traditional art of ear cleansing. The clinic deployed a special ear-camera to display his progress towards a shiny ear canal, but by the sound of it, the experience is not for the faint-hearted...

Source: BBC

Branding livestock the 21st century way

Presumably the owner of these Dutch sheep has been fuming about the lack of income generating potential of Flossy and Co. before they get sent off to be made into lamb-burgers. Now all he has to do is park them in a field next to a main road, and the Euros will pour in! Plus they'll be nice and cosy in winter-time.

Source: Gizmodo

10 April 2006

100 photographs that changed the world by LIFE - The Digital Journalist

Or, to be precise, 100 photographs that changed America. And if you want to split hairs even further, it's a bit of a stretch to claim that the picture of Betty Grable looking over her shoulder and showing off her insured-for-a-million gams actually changed the world.

LIFE - The Digital Journalist

[Courtesy of Davotfm]

07 April 2006

And druids are really spooky too

Did you know that according to the excitable and imaginative Mr Jack Chick of Chick Tracts, if you celebrate Hallowe'en you're implicity aiding and abetting the cause of dastardly satanists and witches? Apparently 'witchcraft is exploding amongst teens today'? And that as we get closer to the second coming of Jesus, both satanism and human sacrifice will increase? I know you're itching to find out more...

[Yes, I know it's not particularly relevant in April. Let's pretend I'm just ahead of my time]

Finally, proof that Dungeons & Dragons is evil

A Florida prison officer was fired from his job for striking his wife. The reason? She told him he was spending too much on D&D fantasy toys. Must've been the orc that broke the camel's back. Actually, I'm quite impressed that someone who plays D&D actually has a wife in the first place. Well done!

Source: Associated Press

Did dad have a history of pulling practical jokes?

Three Singaporean chaps had to be rescued from a snowy Japanese mountain this week. When retrieved by the Japanese authorities, one of the men claimed that his father had told him to seek out a legendary karate teacher on the mountainside.

"Japan looked so small on the world map that we thought we would be able to find him straight away," one of the group, aged between 25 and 50, was quoted as saying.

Another fellow who needs to brush up on his geography. Not to mention his gullibility, come to think of it.

Source: Reuters

Psychedelic Republicans

Finally, just what you've been waiting for - psychedelic trading cards featuring prominent Republican politicians. And if that wasn't exciting enough... they're 60 percent off! As the site points out, 'mind-expanding traditionalism was never more fun'. Just say yes, kids - collect the whole set today!

Beatlemania: a social disease with no cure

"This is without a doubt the worst pop-music-related illness in history," said Dr William Horst, director of Cedars-Sinai Hospital's Hullabaloo Ward. "It's worse than the rocking pneumonia, the boogie-woogie flu and the hippy-hippy shakes combined"

- The Onion reports as the Beatles reconquer America, April 1965

Basketball agent needs to brush up on his geography

American basketball forward Jamar Brown could conceivably be a little cross at his agent back in the US. See, Jamar thought he'd be playing basketball for six weeks for an Australian club, making quite a bit of cash. Turns out his agent's not too strong on details: Jamar was signed to play four months for the Manawatu Jets in Palmerston North, for not very much cash at all.

Oh, and his agent forgot to arrange a return ticket, so Jamar got grilled at Customs in Auckland, and neglected to arrange a transfer to Palmerston North (which is about 400km from Auckland)...

"The situation's not the team's fault and not my fault - it's all my agent's fault," Brown said.

Source: Manawatu Standard, 7 April 2006

05 April 2006

'Is that room service? A chewy bone, please'

Apparently President Bush's dog squad that accompanied him on his trip to India last month stayed in five-star hotels while they were there. Oh, and holy men said that their presence defiled a holy shrine of Gandhi. And their food was flown in from the US. So I guess they weren't allowed to call for room service after all. The lack of opposable thumbs might've made it difficult anyway.

Source: News of the Weird

Bishop: 'Easter about Jesus, not jelly wrestling'

The Bishop of Canterbury has expressed a firm preference for his flock to commemorate the crucifixion and ressurection of Jesus this Easter, rather than, say, attending a semi-nude jelly wrestling event at the Wheatsheaf Tavern on Banks Peninsula. The publican, Donna Blackburn, who has a well-judged eye for the criteria for both quotability and publicity, 'admits it is possible items of clothing could fall off'.

But, disaster! Due to public outcry the jelly wrestling is being moved from Easter Sunday to Easter Monday. Er, how exactly is that less inappropriate? Damn, I wish I'd paid attention in religious study class in primary school now.

[Seems like the new proprietor of the Wheatsheaf is keen to drum up extra business. The last proprietor was one of the publicans prosecuted for flouting the new smokefree law]

02 April 2006

She'll be proud of her middle name, once she learns to pronounce it

BEAUMONT – On February 25th to CAMILLA (nee Huntington-Whiteley) and GINO, a daughter, Hermione Popocatepetl.

- Daily Telegraph (UK)

Don't worry, the weevils are safe!

I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that the Department of Conservation has sprung into action to rescue some weevils, who are apparently in mortal peril on the south coast of Wellington. Phew, a close shave there.