30 April 2007

Not suitable for Datsuns

'In January, the most expensive parking space ever sold by Harrods, in Knightsbridge, central London, went for £200,000.  Now the company is on the verge of selling another in its branded car-parking complex.  On the market for £225,000, and with a 93-year lease, it has gone to sealed bids and is expected to fetch much more.  Harrods estimates that it will equate to £1800 per sq ft, roughly the cost of a pied-a-terre in Mayfair. 
At the same time, Quintessentially Estates, the property-finding arm of the top end concierge service, has just looked at a garage for a client that is off the King's Road, holds three cars and is on the market for £600,000'
- Sunday Times, 29 April 2007
[Note for New Zealanders: £600,000 is NZ$1.6m]

27 April 2007

On brevity

From a round-up of the Democratic presidential hopefuls' debate in South Carolina:
The debate was free of personal abuse and Mr [Joe] Biden got the laugh of the night. He was called on to respond to an accusation that he was too verbose and asked whether he could provide an assurance to voters he "would have the discipline you would need on the world stage".

"Yes," Mr Biden said, refusing to utter another word.

- Guardian, 27 April 2007

26 April 2007

Defective automatic trousers hurl pilot from plane

Not only is the headline practically perfect, the tagline rocks as well: 'Rogue expando-pants amok in Wallace & Gromit style devastation'.  Tells you all you need to know right there.
- The Register, 26 April 2007

The perks of Catholicism

The Minister of Corrections is reviewing a legislative prohibition that inadvertently prevents Catholic prisoners detained by the Corrections Department from receiving communion wine.  If I ever get banged up, I plan to start a religion with rituals requiring gin & tonics and chicken & apricot pizza...
- Source: O'Connor asks Corrections to review communion wine, Press release, 26 April 2007

24 April 2007

Far fewer than six degrees of separation

A suspected fraudster has been arrested in Wellington after attempting to chat up a woman who happened to be the sister of an alleged victim.  The sister recognised the cad and called the police, after playing along with his chat-up attempt and securing his name and telephone number.  It just goes to show - it pays not to do anything dodgy in Wellington, because everyone finds out about it sooner or later! 
- Dominion Post, 24 April 2007

23 April 2007

On beards, false or otherwise

'The bearded man was now eating some sort of fish with sauce on it.  And Berry, watching him intently, became gripped with a suspicion that grew stronger with each moment.  That beard, he could swear, was a false one.  It was so evidently hampering its proprietor.  He was pushing bits of fish through it in the cautious manner of an explorer blazing a trail through a strong forest.  In short, instead of being a man afflicted by nature with a beard, and as such more to be pitied than censured, he was a deliberate putter-on of beards, a self-bearder, a fellow who, for who knew what dark purposes, carried his own private jungle around with him, so that any moment he could dive into it and defy pursuit.  It was childish to suppose that such a man could be up to any good'

- PG Wodehouse, 'Big Money', 1931 

18 April 2007

They always get their man, eventually

A warrant for the arrest of a man accused with assault in Southland in June 1979 has finally been carried out, when the man voluntarily appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday.  The man, on a regular visit back to New Zealand from his home in Queensland, appeared at court voluntarily, nearly 27 years after the alleged offence took place.  
- Source: Southland Times, 18 April 2007
[When the alleged offence occurred, Robert Muldoon was Prime Minister, Michael Fowler was Mayor of Wellington, and the doomed Carless Days scheme was just about to be introduced.  Which is not to imply a causal link]

England's cricket woes

"Fletcher and Vaughan should be made to swim home, covered in minced chicken livers, golden syrup and feathers," says Louise Peake.
- The knives are out for the England coach and captain after the team's capitulation in the Cricket World Cup; Guardian , 17 April 2007  

17 April 2007

Do as I say, not as I do

"There must be two Justin Langers in the world, I think"

- Ricky Ponting can't believe that Justin Langer, never shy of a word or two himself, wants sledging stopped in county cricket (Source: Cricinfo)

Australians being very stupid

'There was another big docudrama last week, Murder in the Outback (Sunday, ITV1), about the murder of Peter Falconio and the tribulations of his travelling companion, Joanne Lees.  This episodic whodunnit courtroom drama had only one tiny fault - we all knew how it was going to end.  It's really difficult to maintain the suspense when they send the jury out and do that nail-biting, pacing and muttering stuff when it was all over the papers four years ago.  Did they think we'd all get artistic amnesia?  As far as I could tell, the whole point of the programme was to show us Australians being very stupid indeed.  What confirms that they are probably all two dingoes short of a creche is that they co-produced this drama about how stupid they are.  The whole thing could have been made by the New Zealand tourist board'

- A A Gill TV review, Sunday Times, 15 April 2007

13 April 2007

Fame is a fickle master

When asked to decide who is more famous (in a global internet sense) between River Phoenix and Kirk Douglas... Amanda Peet and Sammy Davis Jr... Alan Rickman and Gene Kelly... and Matt le Blanc versus Steve McQueen... what would be your guess?
According to website Famousr, it was respectively River Phoenix, Amanda Peet, Alan Rickman and Steve McQueen.  (So at least some sanity re-emerged near the end there).  It's guided by the weird dictates of the massive and fickle internet community, which is as good a judge as any as long as you equate media volume with fame.  This site lets you rate the fame of the umpteen stars and would-be stars out there, and be warned - it's rather addictive...
[Courtesy of B3ta]

What, you mean you want it back?

Gordana Jankulovska, the Interior Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is using a BMW X5 that might be the one stolen from football superstar David Beckham last year.  News reports from Macedonia have indicated that the car, which was impounded in Macedonia and requisitioned for ministerial use after it was illegally imported into the country, may be the luxury car stolen from Beckham in 2006.  But Ms Jankulovska isn't too worried about the possibility of driving stolen property. 
'"If no owner claims the property, the car can be auctioned or kept for state use", Jankulovska explained to the BBC.  She told B92 radio in Belgrade that she was a fan of Beckham and would like to meet him if it turned out that the car belonged to him'
- Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2007

Don't call me fatso or I'll sit on you

The Herald reports that 'supersize uniforms are being made to fit ever-larger children, and an Auckland school outfitter says it is now making school shorts with a 140cm waist and size 15 shoes.  School uniform manufacturer Underwoods says the national average had jumped by about six sizes over 50 years as boys and girls get taller and fatter'
Article linked below includes excellent picture of a flag-sized pair of shorts 'for obese boys'.
- NZ Herald, 12 April 2007

11 April 2007

Needed for the war effort

Reports from Christchurch indicate that the canopy of a MiG-21 fighter jet parked outside the city's Java Cafe has been stolen. The Canterbury police have a few leads, though. Their press release notes that 'it is believed the canopy was taken by two 'very happy' males with either Irish or UK accents'.

- Source: NZ Police press release, 10 April 2007

10 April 2007

Commuter cat

A white cat with one green eye and one blue eye has been using a local bus service in the English Midlands to save himself the bother of walking 400m down the street.  Nicknamed 'Macavity the Mystery Cat', the feline has been travelling on the 311 bus every few days since January, always getting on and off at the same two stops.  Perhaps there might be a clue in the fact that the stop at which he alights is near a fish & chip shop...
Passenger, Paul Brennan, 19, who catches the 331 to work, said: "I first noticed the cat a few weeks ago. At first I thought it had been accompanied by its owner but after the first stop it became quite clear he was on his own.  "He sat at the front of the bus, waited patiently for the next stop and then got off. It was was quite strange at first but now it just seems normal. I suppose he is the perfect passenger really - he sits quietly, minds his own business and then gets off."
Might be too good to be true, given it was reported in the Mail and the Sun, but so what - it's a great story anyway.  And there's some good pictures of said clever cat at the link below.
- ThisisLondon.co.uk, 10 April 2007

04 April 2007

Astor 1 Churchill 0

Many of you will know the famous verbal sally between Lady Astor, the first woman to serve as an MP in the House of Commons, and Winston Churchill:

Lady Astor to Churchill: "If you were my husband, I'd put arsenic in your coffee."
Churchill: "Madam, if I were your husband, I'd drink it!"

But she also had the better of Churchill on one occasion:

Lady Astor was giving a costume ball and Winston Churchill asked her what disguise she would recommend for him. She replied, 'Why don't you come sober, Mr Prime Minister?

- Source: Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, Wikipedia

Friends for the time-poor

Ten seasons of Friends in 90 seconds, as linked to by Sideswipe / Spareroom.

Duck Soup and Cover

'This is Groucho Marx. A few days ago I was talking with the Director of Civil Defense and he told me some things that I feel everyone should know. That's why I'm speaking to you now. Did you know, for example, that your chances of surviving an atom bomb attack are excellent? It's true, but there's a big if! You must do everything possible now, to help yourself and your family. Nobody else will help you! Listen, because this is important! Keep a complete first aid kit handy. Keep a closed container of drinking water in your refrigerator, enough for 3 days. Be sure you have a good fire extinguisher. Take a look around your house right now and pick out the safest spot, away from windows and doors. Make sure every member of your family understands he is to rush to that safe spot when there's danger. I'm convinced that these precautions are necessary right now, and I hope I can convince you. They're important to your family, yourself, and your community'
- Groucho Marx, in a 1953 public service announcement for US Civil Defense
[For more peachy Civil Defense announcements from the A-Bomb scare days, see Atomic Platters]

03 April 2007

It's like the video for 'Black Or White' all over again

Courtesy of the B3ta newsletter, here's a morph-y face website for you to play with.  Says there are 750,000 possible variations you can come up with.  Worth a few minutes of your time to tinker with it, to see if you can produce the most heinously warped combination of face parts.

Who said men can't multi-task?

Murder trials are a serious business, but also rather time-consuming. So it seemed yesterday, when the police officer assigned as security to a murder trial in Invercargill was double-booked. So while the man accused of murder sat in the dock, the detective had to divide his time between two courtrooms and also some extra mobile telephone calls outside in the corridor. According to the Southland Times, the detective said,

"I was only outside in the hallway anyway, making a few calls and arranging witnesses. He would have had to come past me."

If the gentleman in question is found guilty of the crime with which he is accused, here's hoping his cellmates don't hear how he missed a golden opportunity to head for the hills. Or perhaps Southland chaps accused of murder are by nature a particularly law-abiding bunch.

- Southland Times, 4 April 2007

02 April 2007

Help Tha Police

Adam Buxton, formerly of The Adam & Joe Show, illustrates the law-enforcement-endorsing and hitherto unknown, not to mention non-sweary, themes running far beneath the surface of NWA's legendary track "F--- Tha Police", in this short clip.  Never fear, it's resolutely safe for work.  And for the ears of young children.
[Courtesy of Al]

All the news that's fit to print

From a fifth and last paragraph of a report on the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament:
'As for the three-day event, England and Scotland reached the last eight, Wales won the second tier plate final and Samoa took the title'
Nice to see they wedged the result in there somewhere.  The first four paragraphs of the article addressed the admittedly far more important issue of the crowd costumes, and were illustrated by two photos: one of five midriff-baring girls wearing short skirts and medical masks and gloves, and another of a girl wearing a tiny PVC skirt and a t-shirt reading 'Too Hot?'.
- Metro.co.uk, 2 April 2007