29 December 2006

Notepad Invaders

Good solid clicky shooting fun from B3ta, which is strangely reminiscent of a rather familiar clicky shooting fun space game from the late 1970s. I'll wager you'll recognise it.

Use the mouse to control your ship. As a guide, in my one try I managed a score of 13,060. As you get an extra life for completing each level it can get a little bit easy until the faster levels.

Notepad Invaders

28 December 2006

Either that, or the astronomers were on drugs

'To a casual observer it could be the psychedelic creation of a mischievous puppy that has dipped its paws in paint. But it may be one of the most extraordinary pictures ever snapped.

It is, scientists said yesterday, the glow from the first things to form in the universe, more than 13 billion years ago. Snapped by NASA's Spitzer space telescope, the bizarre objects must have existed within a few hundred million years of the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago'

- Sydney Morning Herald, 20 December 2006

[See the link above for the groovy pic, dudes]

Don't forget to flash your lights at parked police cars

'Welcome to New Zealand: Where you can smoke in the Beehive, tall dogs are routinely shortened and it's considered bad manners to close a farm gate. Visitors to Wellington are asked to lift feet while on the cable car - to help it make it up the slope. The utterly unhelpful pearls of wisdom feature in a compendium of "evil advice" dreamt up for tourists by participants in a silly-season competition'

- Dominion Post, 28 December 2006

22 December 2006

What if he ate your shin in Berlin?

'Oh, I loved him, but he was... scary. I was going to invite him up to Maine; I have this beautiful home in Maine... but then I reconsidered because I saw that movie again. Do you want someone eating your brain while you are sitting in your beautiful dining room in Maine? I would have probably had a very nice relationship with Anthony Hopkins, but I couldn't get past the Lecter thing'

- US media personality and former jailbird Martha Stewart, on her brief relationship with Sir Anthony Hopkins

[Courtesy of Louwrens. What about your knee in Paree? Or your neck in Bishkek?]

21 December 2006

All-purpose acronyms

'According to the latest US Department of Defense contracts bulletin, John Deere Construction has won a $46.7 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract for 300 Tractor, Rubber Tired, Articulated, Steering, Multi-Purpose (TRAM). So a tram, another name for a streetcar, it seems is actually an acronym. Does this mean that the following applies...

BUS: Box, upright, with seats
CAR: Carriage, automotive, reverses
TAXI: Tatty automobile, xenophobe inside'

- Flight International, 5-11 December 2006

Sex, pies and videotape

...is the ultimate Shane Warne headline, which is apt given his announcement this week that he will retire from international cricket at the close of the current Ashes series in Australia.

- NZ Herald, 22 December 2006

[Courtesy of Al]

17 December 2006

As opposed to unreality shopping

Christmas shopping without the long queues, masses of people, traffic jams, and parking hassles – impossible? Not for the hundreds of New Zealanders who are choosing this year to do their shopping online. Timaru woman Kimberley Fisher decided to surf the net recently after having no success in several stores to find a specific DVD. "I couldn't find it in the shops so I tried online. It was simple, just a click of the mouse and cheap postage as well, it got here in about 10 days."

Although the 20-year-old said she still preferred reality shopping, when looking for something in particular the internet was perfect.

- Timaru Herald, 18 December 2006

[What, so the internet isn't real?]

Time Magazine: Officially out of ideas

Time magazine names a 'person of the year' and plonks them on the cover, as you probably know. Normally it's someone grand and impressive. But this year, deadlines obviously played a part: Time's person of the year for 2006 is... wait for it... "You". Take a bow!

- Time Magazine, 13 December 2006, also reporting by BBC

[You're in good company. Hitler won it in 1938, and Stalin the next year. Scoop has theorised that perhaps Time intended to award the title to 'YouTube' but the cover was too narrow...]

14 December 2006

Very short stories

Wired magazine asked a bunch of Wired-type writers to submit six-word short stories, following in the footsteps of Hemingway's epic, which he called his best work:

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn"

Very short stories

[Courtesy of Al]

Are you my mate, ya bloody foreigner?

'[Australian Prime Minister] Howard said migrants [to Australia] needed to learn about mateship, but he could not outline how the concept would be tested.

"Mateship is a great Australian concept, it's a concept of everybody pulling together in common adversity," he said. "It's a concept of treating people according to how you find them and not according to the colour of their skin. It's very much part of our ethos. You say 'How do you test it?'. Well, I'm not going to start canvassing what the test is."

- Sydney Morning Herald, 12 December 2006

Love hurts

'As much as we think we know who Courtney Love is, nothing prepares you for the sprawling intelligence or the keen beauty of her. Love is not like most female celebrities. She is bigger than that. Her hands are meaty and her eyes enormous, her bosom has been surgically enhanced and her lips swollen with collagen. She looks as if someone has coloured her in and strayed beyond the lines'

- Guardian, 11 December 2006

[How apt! The interview is worth reading too - see link above]

A load of balls

'It's good to know that the British Transport Police are protecting London's underground commuters from would-be criminals. Last week, they cautioned a man carrying a hockey stick, unimpressed with his rather feeble excuse that he was on his way to play a match. Now a poor accountant (if that's not an oxymoron) Chris Hurd was accosted by a policewoman at Baker Street, near Lord's, and told that the cricket ball he was holding was a "potentially lethal weapon".

"She was completely humourless and inflexible, and showed no understanding of my excitement about the Ashes," he fumed. "She confiscated the ball for most of our conversation, gave me a verbal warning and said she was being very lenient." But a spokesman for the police raised a hitherto unforeseen danger: "What if the ball was dropped and hit an old lady further down the escalator?" Old ladies beware'

- Jenny Thompson on Cricinfo, 11 December 2006

Bound for glory

Subtitled 'America in Colour: 1939-43', this feature displays a selection of colour photography of American life during the Depression. The vivid images dispel some of the gloom imparted by the traditional black-and-white photography most of us associate with period photography. Interesting stuff.

Bound for glory

07 December 2006

Phew, it's hot in here

Oops... maybe it pays to keep the mask *on* when you're committing a robbery. Particularly when there's a security camera pointing at you.

Hot robber's face-flash puts heat on gang

- NZ Herald, 8 December 2006

What do the other 15 percent look like?

In a startling insight into the political dynamics that really matter in the cut-and-thrust world of contemporary Australian politics, a Fairfax paper reveals that new Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd 'has been judged less "beautiful" than 85 per cent of candidates at the 2004 federal election'. But there's hope for Kevin yet: 'Prime Minister John Howard fares even worse. A panel of four, which appraised candidate photos from how-to-vote cards, judged Mr Howard to be less beautiful than 95 per cent of candidates'.

- West Australian, 7 December 2006

Do as I say, not as I do (or say)

A Palmerston North youth charged with possession of $125,000 worth of pure methamphetamine has a father with a long history of drug dealing, but apparently dad 'always discouraged him from getting involved with drugs'. Apart from allegedly selling the kid a pound of cannabis and a set of electronic scales to prepare them for sale, that is. There's a spurned girlfriend subplot too - the accused split up with his girlfriend and started seeing her best friend. The ex turned up to collect her stuff, but came across the meth instead. A regular soap opera! Or perhaps Outrageous Fortune is more accurate.

For all the gory details, see the story link below.

- Manawatu Standard, 7 December 2006

Trampoline man

The B3ta newsletter linked to this ad-game - shoot the daredevil chap from the cannon and land him on the trampoline to progress through the levels. It gets more tricky and entertaining once the 'bouncer' pads come in and you can carome the poor sod all over the place.

Trampoline-y game

[Managed 20,300 points in my one go at it]

"I never make predictions and I never will"

For years Private Eye has been running a series of joyful sporting media gaffe quotes called 'Colemanballs', such as the one in the title (the large-looming Paul 'Gazza' Gascoine), and ones like these:

"He [Diawara] brings out an extra six to twelve inches and it's a fantastic tackle. "

"If history is going to repeat itself I should think we can expect the same thing again."

"Merseyside derbies usually last 90 minutes and I'm sure today's won't be any different." TREVOR BROOKING

"In terms of the Richter Scale this defeat was a force eight gale."

For all these and more, see this brilliant yet thoroughly unofficial site...


[Courtesy of Al]

Don't shoot your eye out!

Noisy shooty fun here - make your little kid ricochet the shots of his BB gun around the forest, and earn points for the number of bounces. Makes cool peeoww! noises. Try not to shoot yourself too often - although that's fun too.

Don't Shoot Your Eye Out!

[Courtesy of Louwrens, who managed 254. I got 242...]

Anything to avoid doing homework

'On the afternoon before the beginning of the 1983 G7 summit James Baker, then White House chief of staff, dropped in to see his boss, Ronald Reagan. Mr Baker was worried about Reagan's lack of preparation for the meeting, where "Reaganomics" was sure to be a source of contention, and left behind a carefully prepared briefing book. But when he returned next morning he was furious to find that the book was unopened - and set about remonstrating with his lazy pupil.

"Well, Jim," Reagan replied calmly, "'The Sound of Music' was on last night'".

- Economist, 2 December 2006

Think you're tough?

'Two Spartans survived [the Battle of Thermopylae]. One, who missed the encounter at Thermopylae because he was on a diplomatic mission, hanged himself in disgrace upon his return home. The other, who missed the battle because of an eye infection (not much of an excuse for a solider, never mind a Spartan), went on a suicide mission in the next major encounter with the Persians. When Spartans said that the only way to return from a battle was with your shield or on it, they meant it'

- Brendan Boyle reviews 'Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World' by Paul Cartledge, New York Sun, 4 December 2006

03 December 2006

Depends how good the beer was

A Patea section bought for $1 in 1998 has sold for $65,000. And someone else might be anticipating a similar rate of return: 'At the time of the $1 sale, another section was reportedly swapped for a six-pack of beer. '

- Taranaki Daily News, 1 December 2006

02 December 2006

What's really on womens' minds?

This poster reveals the secret truth we clueless boys have wondered about all our lives...

A Woman's Mind Magnified

[Courtesy of Spare Room]

Oh, it makes sense when you explain it like that

'Some of the money was spent in contacting the Russian mafia as we tried to clone mammoths. But you can't say that [on an expense claim] so we expensed it as money for cows for experiment'

- Disgraced South Korean stem-cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang explains his expenses, Reuters, 24 Oct, quoted in New Scientist, 4 November 2006

'A brown condom stuffed with walnuts'

Clive James knows perfectly well that a man with a talent to amuse will always have some difficulty persuading the public that he can, so to speak, quote Wittgenstein. And, once they know that he is also from “the bush”, they will expect some coarse material, too. Thus it’s brave of him to stand by the original version of his much-misquoted image of Arnold Schwarzenegger (it was “a brown condom stuffed with walnuts”) against subsequent plagiarism and dilution. He coins a new term for authorial humiliation, when he speaks of a publisher’s “advance” that is really a retreat.

- Christopher Hitchens reviews North Face of Soho (Unreliable Memoirs, Vol. 4) by Clive James, Times, 15 November 2006

[If you're interested, the Guardian has an entertaining spoof digested read of NFoS, which includes this passage on his filmstar interviewing: 'It wasn't an unmitigated success, as I invariably had a better understanding of the actors' work than they did, but it was none the less instructive']

Find your Transformer name

I'm Cliffjumper Tucker Magnus: smart, brave and puny! Apparently.

Find your Transformer name

[Courtesy of KL]

At least it doesn't give you cancer

'What's going to be banned next? Sex?'

- Laurent Lefevre, owner of Au Metro bar in the 14th Arrondissement of Paris, on France's decision to ban smoking in bars and restaurants from 2007. (AFP, quoted in New Scientist, 14 October 2006)

Russell Crowe: 'The biggest case of miscasting in history'

'The former ad exec Peter Mayle's 1989 best-seller A Year In Provence shot him to prominence, and now his 2004 novel, on very similar lines, has been turned into a humourless slice of tourist gastro-porn. A Good Year stars, incredibly, Russell Crowe as the conceited Brit who inherits a sumptuous house and vineyard in the south of France from his rascally uncle (Albert Finney); he comes over intending to flog it for a barrowload of euros, but finds himself falling in love with the locals and their adorable life. It is the biggest case of miscasting in history. Anyone, *anyone*, would have been better in this part. Steven Seagal would've been better. Janette Krankie would've been better. Ridley Scott directs, and makes a chain-mailed gladiatorial fist of the comedy involved'

- Guardian Weekly, 3 November 2006

Hope she's forgiven him by now

'Sir - You said that the Boeing 747 was also delayed, for two years in 1969 ("The airliner that fell to earth", October 7th). The letter of intent, signed in December 1965, proposed the first delivery in November 1969. Actual first delivery, signed by me for Pan Am, was December 12th 1969. That is a date I cannot forget. It was my wife's birthday and I was late for dinner'

- Letter to the editor from Robert Wallace Blake, Economist, 4 November 2006

01 December 2006

Mmmm... devil biscuits...

A Christchurch Catholic school principal was accused of "working for Satan" after allowing pupils to work with Muslim girls on a school project. St Thomas of Canterbury College principal Bruce Stevenson was abused over the phone by a woman objecting to a Young Enterprise Scheme project involving a group of Year 11 boys and Muslim girls from the United Muslimahs of Canterbury. Stevenson said the woman accused him of working for Satan and that he would go to hell for his actions.

- The Press, 1 December 2006

How forgetful Londoners leave the world behind

The things people leave behind in cabs...!

'One man abandoned his drunken girlfriend asleep and told the cabbie that he was leaving her as a tip. Another driver was lumbered with a man wearing only underpants. Other taxi drivers in the capital have reported finding a machinegun, an antique telescope and a bag of diamonds worth £100,000 on the rear seats of their cabs'

- The Times, 28 November 2006

And he should definitely avoid doing it in the woods

Dilbert's Scott Adams has been thinking about the art of pilfering funny stories from the news for the purpose of blogging:

The key to finding good humor fodder is that the story must be NEARLY funny without being completely funny on its own. For example, if I see a story about some spatially challenged burglar who got his head stuck in a chimney, and a stork built a nest in his ass, that’s already completely funny. There’s nothing for me to add.

What I’m looking for is a story that makes me giggle before I even know why – the potential is there but it needs some magic humor dust to make it all that it can be. I mention this because I was reading on MSNBC.com that the Pope is visiting Turkey. This is 50% funny all by itself.

Then I read that 20,000 Muslim protesters in Istanbul were chanting “Pope don’t come!” (Seriously.)


- The Dilbert Blog: Nearly Funny Things