29 August 2008

A bit of a character

The chief constable of the North Wales police, Richard Brunstrom, gives the impression of being a teeny bit eccentric.  The evidence, m'lud, quoted from the BBC:

- In an interview with BBC Radio Wales earlier in August, Richard Brunstrom said he expected to "retire and disappear" by the end of next year.  But in an interview with North Wales Weekly News, he said the person who announced his departure was "mistaken".

- Last year, Mr Brunstrom was criticised for showing pictures of a decapitated biker at a private briefing without the family's permission.  He later admitted he had made a "stupid mistake" - but then partly blamed the media for reporting what he had done.

- In December he reportedly broke into his own Colwyn Bay headquarters to test security, but it recently transpired he might simply have had a faulty key fob.

- BBC News, 29 August 2008

Messiah remix goes off

From the Guardian viral video chart, here's a clip of a revivalist church meeting with a bangin' drum'n'bass soundtrack, which kinda goes to show why white middle-class people should never dance in public...

- Guardian, 29 August 2008

Sittin' on the dock of the... hey!

Why did no-one tell me that chart-troubling soft-focus cheese-mongering Fabio-resembling singer Michael Bolton's 1991 album contained a collaboration with none other than Bob Dylan?  In an article on unlikely musical collaborations, the Scotsman tells the story:

Truly a collaboration of the sublime and the ridiculous, as Bob Dylan teamed up with Michael Bolton to write the song Steel Bars which appeared on Bolton's 1991 album Time, Love, and Tenderness. Bolton said he was "awed" by Dylan's decision to work with him. The rest of us were simply stunned.

Definitely a sublime-ridiculous interface going on there.

- The Scotsman, 28 August 2008 

[Courtesy of LhB]

28 August 2008

Letting his freak flag fly

London mayor Boris Johnson recounts the reason for his unbuttoned suit jacket at the Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing, which has occasioned comment from sartorially conservative commentators:
"I rolled my shoulders like Rocky and rehearsed the agenda again in my head," he recounts. "What could possibly go wrong? Take flag, get red circle out to left, wave four times, hand flag to flag bearer. Piece of cake. Just as I had it taped, just as I was in the zone, I became aware of a chap beaming and pointing at his midriff."

Johnson weighed up the situation after several people urged him to do up his button. He decided to ignore the lot of them and rationalised his style choice as a reflection of his "policy of openness, transparency and individual freedom". But he did check if there was an Olympic jacket button protocol first. "I reached instinctively for my middle button first, and then sought, 'Sod it.'"
- Guardian, 28 August 2008

27 August 2008


'A man who chose "Lloyds is pants" as his telephone banking password said he found it had been changed by a member of staff to "no it's not". Steve Jetley, from Shrewsbury, said he chose the password after falling out with Lloyds TSB over insurance that came free with an account. He said he was then banned from changing it back or to another password of "Barclays is better". The bank apologised and said the staff member no longer worked there'

- BBC News, 27 August 2008

Mark E. Smith

Music journalist Stuart Maconie, then with the NME, interviews Mark E. Smith of The Fall:

I produced my cheap Dixons cassette recorder and Smith, though quaffing deep of a pint of 60 shilling, stopped and sat upright. 'Where d'you get that from?'

'Dixons,' I replied, truthfully.

'That's just the kind of gizmo I want. For me lyrics when I'm on the road. A little recorder that takes proper cassettes, not those micro cassette things. I went to buy one in my electrical shop in Prestwich. Bloke offered me one of those Dictaphones that take those stupid little cassettes. I said, "No way, pal. I'm on tour a lot. I could be in a hotel in Oslo, Budapest, Eindhoven. I get an idea for a song, I want to be able to use ordinary cassettes. Not have to go traipsing round Tel Aviv or Brisbane for them stupid little ones".

'He said, "Don't be daft, mate. You're living in the past. Everywhere sells these little tapes now. Everywhere. Get with it, man".

'So I said, "OK, I'll take the machine. And I'll take ten of the little tapes as well".

'And he said, "We don't sell 'em".

MES laughed long and hard and then drank his beer in much the same manner.

- Stuart Maconie, Cider With Roadies, 2004

26 August 2008

Mark Watson on Hell

Affable Welsh comedian Mark Watson explains the watering-down of the modern concept of Hell.

Mayor escalates war with own employees

Rambunctious Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt (who had a bit-part in The World's Fastest Indian, parts of which were filmed locally) has been snapped parking his mayoral car both in a no-parking area and up on the footpath, both of which are against council bylaws, in an apparent feud with his own council's parking wardens:
"It was a counter-attack against the wardens parking in the mayoral carpark," [Shadbolt] explained at the time.  It is understood that a parking warden had parked in the mayor's carpark at the Invercargill City Council last week in response to "anti-parking warden" remarks Mr Shadbolt had made.
Next on the agenda: the mayor playing loud music after midnight, drinking in public places, and erecting house extensions without planning permission. 
- Southland Times, 26 August 2008



Jesus loves you

"I like Jesus, but he loves me, so it's awkward" – Tom Stade
"Whenever I see a man with a beard, moustache and glasses, I think, 'There's a man who has taken every precaution to avoid people doodling on photographs of him" – Carey Marx
"'What's a couple?' I asked my mum. She said, 'Two or three'. Which probably explains why her marriage collapsed" – Josie Long
"My friend said she was giving up drinking from Monday to Friday. I'm just worried she's going to dehydrate" – Kerri Godliman
"I know someone whose dream is to be an actor but they're not that good – they got mugged, and had to audition for the part of themselves on 'Crimewatch'. They got Passer-by No 2" – Isy Suttie
"I was talking to my friend from New York yesterday, and I used the expression, 'You can't polish a turd'. He looked at me, disgusted, and said, 'No, you can't, but you can roll it in glitter'. He's a lovely guy but I wouldn't want to go to a craft fair with him" – Steve Williams
- Independent, 15 August 2008


It depends on your definition of 'winning'

'It was the perfect end to a perfect Olympic Games for China as the Olympic flame was handed over to London in one of the world's greatest stadiums last night. As memories of a sensational Games faded, China celebrated achieving its ultimate aim of heading the Olympic medals table for the first time. Unless you are in America, where you will discover that Team USA remain the force in world sport.
The race for the Olympic title is measured in medals, it just depends on which medals you consult. The IOC issues its league table based on the number of golds won, which gives China the honours, but then admits that there is no official system in place to decide who is top dog. So the American public is reading tables counting the total number of medals, including silver and bronze, won at the Games. On that measure, the US keep the whip hand over the home nation'
- The Times, 25 August 2008

22 August 2008

Feminism is not an F-word

Retiring New Zealand National Party MP Katherine Rich gave a speech entitled 'Feminism is not an F-word' to the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women in Dunedin yesterday, outlining her views on the ongoing need for female empowerment, particularly in the workplace, where women still receive lower rates of remuneration.  During her speech Rich mentioned her enjoyment of a rare female triumvirate:
One highlight during her three terms in Parliament was watching the first female speaker of the House, Margaret Wilson, be received by former Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright and Prime Minister Helen Clark.  Not since she attended the Outram Brownies in 1975 had she witnessed three females in charge, she said.

Once every 30 years?  Perhaps she's got a point.
- Otago Daily Times, 21 August 2008 

21 August 2008

Band name maker

From an enjoyable article on dodgy band names I noted a link to the following site that enables you to generate random band names at the press of a button.  You can also customise names around a word or phrase of your choice.  The top three names I'm weighing up for my new supergroup are Fudge Junky, Dreamy Eagle and Septic Sabbath.

20 August 2008

Now that's a positive attitude

'Being Greek, it is very important for me that my country excels in the Olympics, albeit not in the conventional way. So far, we have 15 athletes caught using illegal substances. We are first on the list, with Bulgaria a close second with 11 athletes. I think we need a few more to be sure of a convincing first'

- Panos Papadopoulos of Athens, Greece, commenting on the BBC Olympics forum

[At the time of writing, Greece had won one silver in the men's rowing and two bronze medals: women's triple jump and women's Yngling (sailing)]

19 August 2008

Really dull movies

Hecklerspray has compiled a personal summary of the eight dullest movies of all time. It's funny because there's swearing in it. While I liked Malick's The Thin Red Line (hell, I own a copy) I admit the reference to Rowan Atkinson made me snicker.

[Courtesy of LhB]

How to jump on eggs without breaking them

In this British TV clip from 1974, an accomplished athlete demonstrates his unique technique for jumping on a pair of eggs without breaking them. Kids, do try this at home.

[Courtesy of AL]

It has wallabies, you know

Lonely Planet's new New Zealand guidebook has attracted the usual media coverage and quotations, with New Zealanders as ever interested in how the rest of the world views their country, and in particular sensitive to any criticism, implied or direct.  This self-analysis has extended to the small South Canterbury town of Waimate.  The Timaru Herald observed that '...while Timaru has escaped the sharper edge of Lonely Planet's tongue, Waimate has been ignored completely'.
For the record, Waimate has its own discreet charms including its own wallaby colony, the subject of an annual hunt.  And the town's not short of amenities either; for instance, it will soon boast a brand new public toilet!
- Timaru Herald, 19 August 2008

'OMG busted, LOL!'

The Dominion has reported that New Zealand police e-crime units are being assisted by teenagers, who help to fill in the blanks in some officers' knowledge of online jargon:
Police e-crime manager Maarten Kleintjes confirmed that teenagers had been invited to help police with language used on social networking sites and message-boards.

"We can invite anyone to give us a hand if there's an investigation and we have asked teenagers on occasions – to come to grips with some of the terminology and jargon that they use...  One officer had a lady at the counter who he had no idea what she was talking about – she said she had been ripped off by pop-ups [a form of on-line advertising]."

Here's hoping these youthful crime-fighters will help to stem the onrushing tide of lolcat-related illegality and l33tspeak-based criminal codes.
- Dominion Post, 19 August 2008  

The odds are good, but the goods are odd

A storm of criticism has sprung up to respond to the mayor of St Isa in Queensland, who foolishly joked that there was such a shortage of eligible women in the town that even 'beauty-disadvantaged women' would find themselves a man there.  But the local women have a nice comeback to their unchivalrous mayor:
The lady in the [St Isa] street also hit back, saying the men were far from oil paintings themselves. 
'The odds are good, but the goods are odd,' said Anna Warrick, 27.  And podiatrist Catherine Willett, 26, was equally unimpressed.
'They are too busy drinking beer to notice the women and all they do is whistle or yell or beep as you go past - the sorts of communications skills which I just love'
- Metro.co.uk, 19 August 2008

Dirt cheap?

A recent article in the Washington Post has pointed out that the old expression 'dirt cheap' may not be particularly accurate these days, in America at least:
Even dirt isn't dirt-cheap anymore.  At your local garden center, the cheapest dirt, which often goes by the name of "premium topsoil," may cost $4.99 for a 40-pound bag, about a buck more than a year or two ago.  Dirt and its upmarket cousins offer a glimpse of how rising energy prices have caused inflation in the grittier corners of the consumer culture. Products that are cheap, heavy and bulky, such as bags of soil, are particularly vulnerable to rising freight costs.
Anyone else rushing to invest in dirt futures?
- Washington Post, 17 August 2008

15 August 2008

Polite Australians

"The Australians put their views across in a very polite way and perhaps not as animated or as cynical as the New Zealand players."

- The ICC's general manager of cricket, Dave Richardson, says convincing 22 New Zealand players of the security measures in Pakistan was a tough ask, 15 August 2008 (Source: Cricinfo) 

14 August 2008

Apocalypse then

Frankie Boyle reminds Mock The Week viewers that the future will be a realm of doom, death and destruction once all cities rise up on massive hydraulic legs and begin the battle for resources. Tell us something we didn't know.

[Contains a little bit of swearing]

Relationship problems?

Sorry to hear it. But to put things in perspective, your problems probably wouldn't be as impressive as a couple in Florida who were both arrested: he for alleged possession of cocaine, and she for domestic battery, to whit, allegedly attacking said boyfriend with a toilet seat when he allegedly refused to give her the drugs. (For more details, mugshots and arrest details, follow the link)

- The Smoking Gun, 14 July 2008

Great build-up!

Perhaps the actual high-jump attempt by this very focused Australian athlete left a little to be desired, but as this Swedish news clip from 1988 shows, he certainly impressed with his technique. Well, the Swedish TV weather guy liked it, anyway.

Hurdle hurdle hurdle

BEIJING — Despite encountering a multitude of 36-inch-high wooden barriers along the way, U.S. hurdler David Oliver overcame every single hurdle in his path on his way to winning Olympic gold in the 400m hurdle semi-finals. "As I looked up and saw that first hurdle, I somehow knew it was only the first of many," the emotional and exhausted Oliver said after clearing no less than 10 hurdles during the course of the event. "But when things got really bad around that ninth hurdle, I just dug deep, remembered what I learned from my coach about overcoming life's regulation-sized obstacles, and I jumped over it. Then, merely a few seconds later, I jumped over the 10th hurdle." Oliver went on to profess hope that he could one day "leap right over" his alcoholism, his impending divorce, and his emotionally crippling, nightmarish childhood.

- The Onion, 14 August 2008

Sounds a bit harsh

"A single parent would only be able to claim benefits for two years and after those two years they would literally be pushed over the cliff."
Radio 4

- Private Eye

We didn't start the [expletive] fire

A woman in a chain store in Texas used the f-word in conversation with her mother when she realised that the store was out of batteries, as a tropical storm approached. While this is poor manners, Kathryn Fridge didn't expect to be arrested for the expletive... by a fireman.

"I was like, 'Dang.' I looked at my mom and said, 'They're all ----ing gone," Fridge recalled.

Suddenly, Capt. Alfred Decker, the La Marque assistant fire marshal, appeared from around the corner, dressed in a fire department uniform.

"He said, 'You need to watch your mouth,' " Fridge said.

Perplexed by who the man was — his badge said "fire department" — Fridge offered a scant apology.

"I was like, 'Oh, OK. Sorry?' " she said.

Fridge walked away, but said the man ordered her to come back. She then protested, telling him she was having a private conversation with her mother that was none of his business. When the man ordered her to come to him and she refused, she said he pulled out his handcuffs

Next week: parking wardens to be issued with 007's licence to kill.

- Houston Chronicle, 13 August 2008

Warning Forever

If you fancy an old-fashioned space shooter game, try this freeware effort from Japan - not only are the graphics suitably old-school and crisp, the AI learns from your methods and sends increasingly more difficult boss ships down in an attempt to eradicate your gallant little fighter craft. This is one of those games where there's no need to decide when to fire: yep, just fire at everything, all the time.

Warning Forever

[Note that you have to download the .exe to play, so this isn't suitable to play at work]

Pork sausages are doubly out

From a report on the waning influence of Al-Qa'eda in Iraq:
Besides the terrible killings inflicted by the fanatics on those who refuse to pledge allegiance to them, Al-Qa'eda has lost credibility for enforcing a series of rules imposing their way of thought on the most mundane aspects of everyday life. They include a ban on women buying suggestively-shaped vegetables, according to one tribal leader in the western province of Anbar.

Sheikh Hameed al-Hayyes, a Sunni elder, told Reuters: "They even killed female goats because their private parts were not covered and their tails were pointed upward, which they said was haram.

"They regarded the cucumber as male and tomato as female. Women were not allowed to buy cucumbers, only men."

Other farcical stipulations include an edict not to buy or sell ice-cream, because it did not exist in the time of the Prophet, while hair salons and shops selling cosmetics have also been bombed.

Variants of icecream have been around since before the time of the Prophet.  Wikipedia notes that 'in 400 BC, Persians invented a special chilled pudding-like dish, made of rosewater and vermicelli which was served to royalty during summers. The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavors. The treat, widely made in Iran today, is called "faloodeh", and is made from starch (usually wheat), spun in a sieve-like machine which produces threads or drops of the batter, which are boiled in water. The mix is then frozen, and mixed with rosewater and lemons, before serving'.
- The Telegraph, 11 August 2008  

In other news, the Pope is Catholic

'A few stiff drinks really does make other people appear more attractive, according to researchers who say the alcohol makes us think about sex.  A test on drunk university students has scientifically proven what was common pub knowledge - that drinking improves the appearance of those around you.
A team from the University of Bristol in England conducted a controlled experiment on 84 young heterosexuals, getting half of them tipsy on a drink and asking all of them to rate the attractiveness of people in photographs.  Both drunk men and drunk women rated the faces as being more attractive than did those who were sober, according to New Scientist magazine.

Surprisingly, the effect was not limited to the opposite sex, as drunk volunteers also rated people from their own sex as more attractive'

- 'People more attractive with beer goggles on: study', Otago Daily Times, 14 August 2008

[Is the fact that the survey sample included only heterosexuals significant?  Seeing as the experiment revealed that people from their own sex were rated as more attractive by heterosexual drunks, perhaps the newspaper decided that 'Alcohol might make you gay' was a less palatable headline] 


'Our fans are quite obsessed,' McKenzie told Q.  'In San Francisco they were shouting relentlessly, Take your shirt off!  Take your trousers off!' 
'In Milwaukee we got given cookies with our faces on them,' said Clement.  'One had a beard and one had glasses.  What do you do?  I wouldn't eat my own face.  Or Bret's'
Another night they looked at the balcony to see a couple dancing dressed as robots.
'We're from a theatre and comedy background,' Clement boggled.  'We're not really used to this'.
- Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement talk to Q Magazine, September 2008 issue

13 August 2008

Biting off more than he could chew

A Wellington storeman has admitted a charge of theft in relation to the disappearance of a legally-owned collection of weaponry being shipped from Wellington to Christchurch for later sale.  Amongst the small arms stolen there was also an Oerlikon 20mm anti-aircraft gun.  Perfect for hunting or target-shooting... as long as the target is as big as a plane, that is.  I guess if he put it up for sale on Trademe.co.nz he would've specified 'buyer to collect', because the postage would've been something chronic.

- NZPA, 12 August 2008   

12 August 2008

Never accept a ride from a bass player

...particularly this one, who was playing his bass guitar whilst driving at 65mph (104km/h).
[From MightyGirl's blog on the top 10 stupidest ideas on Flickr]

'P.S. You're low on milk'

Police in Oldham, Lancashire, raided the wrong house recently, smashing a door when its residents were out.  Instead of leaving an official note explaining the error, they instead re-arranged the alphabet magnets on a fridge to read OLDHAM TASK FORCE CALLED.  Saves paper I suppose.  (For story & pic see link)
- BoingBoing, 12 August 2008  

The Prime Minister of America

Republicans in Montana have chosen 85-year-old Bob Kelleher as their nominee to challenge the incumbent Democrat senator, Max Baucus, in the upcoming election.  Only problem is: the Republican Party aren't keen on Bob at all.
So what is the problem with Mr. Kelleher? Well, for one thing, he is almost certainly the only major party candidate anywhere who has pledged (as he did in previous campaigns) to scrap a cornerstone of the Constitution.

He wants to replace the equal branches of executive, legislative and judicial government with a parliamentary democracy patterned on England's, with a prime minister who would lead both the executive and legislative branches. Under the change, the speaker of the House of Representatives would take the first prime minister's chair.

The idea of the current speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, as a prime-minister-in-waiting has most certainly not endeared Mr. Kelleher to the Republican powers that be.

"Separation of powers is ruining this country," Mr. Kelleher, a lawyer, said in defense of the proposal in an interview in his tiny, cluttered apartment, where a dog wandered in and out and friends periodically shouted up the stairs to see if anyone was home.

- 'Candidate Shocks Party and Himself', New York Times, 11 August 2008

Ambassadors for their country

So no-one in the Spanish men's Olympic basketball team, their organising committee, their sponsors or the newspaper that published the image thought it might be quite offensive to print a picture of the entire team grinning whilst making the infamous schoolyard 'slitty-eyes' gesture?  And particularly offensive when the Olympics is being held in Beijing?  Eedjits.    
- 'Spain's eye-catching faux pas', Guardian, 11 August 2008 

11 August 2008

Man Realises Fly Has Been Down For Entire Life

CHICAGO — Moments after retiring to a small suburban home, raising three sons, and enjoying a distinguished career as a trial lawyer, local resident Fred Havemeyer was mortified to learn that the zipper of his pants had been down for the past 56 years of his life, sources reported today.

"Oh, for crying out loud," the Chicago native said upon realizing he had just spent six decades walking around with his pants undone. "You have got to be kidding me."

Despite trying to reassure himself that "maybe nobody had noticed" that his fly was open during the latter half of the 20th century, Havemeyer only grew more crestfallen the longer he thought about his gaffe.

"You mean, this entire time? On the wrestling team? Vacationing with Margaret and the kids at Lake George? During my first communion?" said Havemeyer, his flushed face buried deep inside his hands. "Oh Christ, the '60s! I just remembered the 1960s."

Added Havemeyer, "Why didn't anyone I have ever known at any point in my life say something?"

- The Onion, 9 August 2008

J Christ, c. Iscariot b. Pilate, 33

'The origins of cricket are hotly debated, and now it seems there is evidence that it started much earlier than anyone had previously thought. And it was played by none other than Jesus himself, according to an ancient Armenian manuscript. Bear with us, it takes a little explaining: a Dr Abraham Terian unearthed the material in the Armenian Gospel of the Infancy (what do you mean, you've never heard of it), which was translated into Armenian in the sixth century from a much older lost Syriac original. Still with us? Terian discovered the book more than decade ago and it has now been translated into English. "Jesus is instructed to watch Israel's house and not leave the place while the master goes away on a tour to collect clothes to be dyed. But no sooner has Israel left the house than Jesus runs out with the boys,'' Terian told AAP. "The most amazing part of the story of the nine-year-old Jesus playing a form of cricket with the boys at the seashore, is that he would go on playing the game on water, over the sea waves.'' Wonder if he had a godly cover-drive or practiced religiously'
- Cricinfo, 11 August 2008

Billy Joel strikes back

'I had no idea when you interviewed me that you considered much of my later work to be `sentimental rubbish', or that you thought songs like "Uptown Girl" and "We Didn't Start the Fire" were `abominations'. And your back-slapping, buddy-buddy style of conversation betrayed no indication that you actually compared talking with me to `sleeping with an inflatable girlfriend'.
"You didn't bring any of this up during the interview, and I certainly would have welcomed the opportunity to discuss those kinds of things, person to person. I believe that it's always best to be upfront with someone when you have strong opinions about their work or their image, simply as a gesture of respect, or if the respect isn't there, then purely as professionalism. Had I known you felt this way, I still would have done the bloody interview, but your comments reveal you to be already critically predisposed and somewhat insincere. You are still welcome to attend our concert in Auckland, but just as a safety precaution, please wear a hockey mask'
- (Purportedly) Billy Joel, responding to a NZ newspaper interviewer's snarky criticism, Sunday Star Times, 10 August 2008 
[I tend to agree with Smithies re: Joel's later pop material, preferring his earlier more sophisticated songs from the 70s, but there was no need to be quite so rude about it.  After all, even Bowie went pop in the 80s] 

Forget the election...

...just give us more pictures of dogs in hoodies!

A dog wearing a hoodie was outed yesterday as one suspect in the rummaging of National leader John Key's rubbish.

The dog pictures were produced in Parliament yesterday by Cabinet minister Phil Goff, who said National's photos of rubbish strewn outside Mr Key's Helensville electorate office showed his paranoia rather than any political espionage.

"Here is the evidence of the prime suspect, a small dog - members can see that it is wearing a hoodie. That is probably why it is the prime suspect," said Mr Goff.

- NZ Herald, 8 August 2008

07 August 2008

Guinea Pig Olympics

It's not just we humans getting into the Olympic spirit these days - our guinea pig brethren are also in on the act. Unbeknownst to us, the furry lettuce-nibblers have been staging their own Olympics to battle it out for sporting glory.

Guinea Pig Olympics

[Courtesy of AL]

Or maybe you could just hang some art up?

'The point of Work In Progress is to show the gap between the initial vision and the reality that is the finished exhibition. This gap contains hundreds of different choices and decisions, compromises and prioritisations and ideas that never happened. It is a process that we live with every day. What you get to see in Work In Progress is, in other words, a long way from what you meet in the finished exhibition, Mary - The Dream of Woman.

Work In Progress consists of a working area with desks and notice-boards. Here there is research material, literature, ongoing research, music, models and artefacts. The project group uses this location at times for meetings and practical work. When this happens then you the visitor can observe this work in "real time"'

- Placard in front of an empty exhibition hall at the History Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, 16 July 2008

06 August 2008

Karate's out too

'I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it'

- George Bernard Shaw

Banned by the BBC

From an article on a new CD compilation of tracks that have been banned by the BBC:
BBC bans used to be so much simpler. "Death, drugs, sex and swearing" were the four no-nos when Mike Read was a Radio 1 DJ. The Small Faces' Here Come the Nice, a tribute to their dealer, featured the rather unambiguous line "he's always there when I need some speed", yet somehow evaded the censors. The Smoke's My Friend Jack, Read recalls, wasn't so fortunate. "The chorus was 'My friend Jack eats sugarlumps' and the band tried to cover it up by pretending it was about a horse. People didn't recognise the terminology on Here Comes the Nice, but there was an awareness of lysergic acid. People knew those sugar lumps were not Tate & Lyle's."
Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side was a single of the week on David Hamilton's afternoon show in 1973, in spite of it mentioning "giving head". Years later, Mike Read played it on Radio 1 once and was told: "We don't play that record any more." "'Why not?' I asked. Mr Naive! I had to go and ask somebody. I mean, I knew about the action, but I hadn't heard anyone use that phrase."
- The Times, 6 August 2008

Mullet euphemisms

  • The Billy Ray Cyrus
  • The 10-90
  • The Kentucky Waterfall
  • The Bi-level
  • The Faded Glory
  • Business in the Front, Party in the Back
  • The Achy-Breaky Big Mistakie
  • Fillet or Femullet (generic terms used to described any mullet on a woman)
  • The Ben Franklin
  • The Missouri Compromise
  • The Louisiana Purchase
  • The Camaro Crash Helmet
  • The Shlong (Short in front, long in the back)
  • S&L Crisis
  • The LPGA
  • Hockey Hair
  • The Soccer Flip
  • The Joe Dirt
  • The Nape Drape
  • The Convertible
  • The Tennessee Top Hat
  • The Canadian Passport
  • The New Jersey Neckwarmer
  • The Wayne Gretzky
  • The Sly Stallone
  • The Chattanooga Choo Choo
  • The Neck Blanket
  • The Wisconsin Waterfall
  • The Mississipi Mud Flap
  • The Short-long
  • The Norco Nape Drape
  • The Sfilby (Short in Front, Long in Back)
  • - Source: Wikipedia

    05 August 2008

    Over-booking: No ticket to ride

    'What has a number of us so perturbed on this flight is an old airline scam that Continental has pulled on us this morning. They've over-booked our 8.50 am Newark-to-San Francisco flight. For European travellers who are unfamiliar with over-booking, the practice may startle you. Simply put, America's Federal Aviation Administration permits airlines to continue selling reservations on a flight long after the seats have sold out. (This is allowed only on flights that originate and terminate in North America.)

    It's the equivalent of buying a concert ticket online and showing up to the venue to find that ticket is not enough to get you in the door. If you want to see the gig, you have to wait outside and hope an uncaring arena employee can convince one of your fellow concert-goers to give you his seat. If you've come with a friend, you have to hope two people will give up their seats. Of course, such charity doesn't exist on the perimeter of a sold-out concert venue, nor does it exist inside an airport terminal as rows are being called. Do-gooders of all stripes want to get to their next destination as soon as possible; to them, the desperate beggars on the sidelines are invisible. And because no sane person will give up his or her seat, no matter how forlorn the pleading party appears, a series of bribes are required to lubricate the negotiations.
    Perversely, there are travellers I know who take great joy in being thrust into such situations. The power to say yes or no, while being dangled a $350 voucher, they feel, is a great rush. They have the power to spare a poor soul. Or, they can flick down an outstretched thumb and let the lions have their way with the miserable wretch, as they no doubt will recount later in the airport lounge to adoring strangers.
    My wife, an Italian, had never heard of over-booking until this morning. She could not conceive that the same country that offers same-morning drop-off laundry services for $7.50 a load could so routinely stiff its air passengers. Our story happens pretty much daily in the US, aggravating frequent flyers everywhere. This time was unusually perverse, I thought. Two hours before check-in, we were informed at the counter that even though we had purchased our tickets four months prior (and my credit card was charged a few weeks after that), that the transaction merely guaranteed us "a reservation to fly, not a seat". But we were in luck, we were told. We could be bumped to a later flight, depositing us in San Francisco ten hours after our initial planned arrival, and accept as compensation an unspecified percentage of what we'd paid. "Sometimes, it can really add up," the airline rep informed us, uncannily channelling Agent Smith of Matrix fame'
    - Bernhard Warner, 'Overbooked: airlines face a web rebellion', The Times, 30 July 2008 

    Non-newsworthy shampoo imperilled

    '...[I]t was instructive to read the LA Times on Wednesday, 24 hours after an earthquake hit the city, causing exactly zero injuries, and (much to the disappointment of TV's rolling news channels) failing to seriously damage one building.
    Photos on the front page (headline: "Why we rolled with the punch") revealed that some shampoo bottles had been knocked off the shelf of a K-Mart, and a window was smashed at a building in Pomona. But the real fun was to be had underneath the inside page report. There, an extended joint by-line listed all the reporters who had been dispatched by [LA Times exec Tony] Pierce to cover the tremor. It carried a total of 39 names, neatly demonstrating that everything really is bigger in the US – even the number of men it takes to skin a cat'
    - Guy Adams, The Independent, 4 August 2008
    [The number of journalists it takes to skin a cat, surely.  The earthquake was hardly impressive: it was only a 5.4] 

    04 August 2008

    Publican keen on career change

    A New Plymouth publican is 'relieved to hear his establishment had become the first in Taranaki to be shut down for breaching liquor laws', the Otago Daily Times reports.  The owner of the Outback Pub 'n Grub told the media that after two other bars closed down his establishment attracted new clientele and things rapidly got out of control:

    Central District liquor licensing co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Tracy Patterson spent more than two hours undercover at the Pub 'n Grub and saw how out of control things had become.  Ms Patterson told the court she had seen patched Black Power members dealing what appeared to be methamphetamine at the bar and people smoking cannabis near the doorman.  A teenage girl was so drunk she remained oblivious to the fact her breasts were exposed.  A middle-aged patron passed out next to Ms Patterson as she watched an under-17 sports team from Wellington being served at the bar.  The night was punctuated by a man leaping onto a table, raising his middle finger to the entire bar and yelling, "Who runs this place? I'm going to smash them."

    Yep, sounds like the right time to bow out.

    - Otago Daily Times, 5 August 2008

    Herodotus' polyester shirt

    On 'the father of history', Herodotus (c.484 BC - c.425 BC):
    'With his garrulous first-person intrusions ("I have now reached a point at which I am compelled to declare an opinion that will cause offense to many people"), his notorious tendency to digress for the sake of the most abstruse detail ("And so the Athenians were the first of the Hellenes to make statues of Hermes with an erect phallus"), his apparently infinite susceptibility to the imaginative flights of tour guides in locales as distant as Egypt ("Women urinate standing up, men sitting down"), reading him was like—well, like having an embarrassing parent along on a family vacation. All you wanted to do was put some distance between yourself and him, loaded down as he was with his guidebooks, the old Brownie camera, the gimcrack souvenirs—and, of course, that flowered polyester shirt'
    - Daniel Mendelsohn, The New Yorker, 28 April 2008

    Bill Drummond

    Bill Drummond is the former frontman of post-modern electro-pop shysters The KLF.  He and his bandmate Jimmy Cauty are most famous for euthanising the KLF by burning a million pounds of their pop earnings and then deleting their back catalogue.  According to The Scotsman, 
    'Talking to Bill Drummond tends to inspire extreme thoughts. He is, in many ways, an extreme man. Legend has it that when he was a rock manager in the early 1980s, he planned Echo and the Bunnymen's tour schedule by drawing rabbit ears on a map and sending them along the route. And that, at the peak of the KLF's success in the early 1990s, he seriously thought about cutting off his own hand live on television. In the end he settled for pretending to shoot the audience. Before the KLF burned all their money, the duo gave Rachel Whiteread a £40,000 award for being, in their view, "worst artist of the year" when she won the £20,000 Turner Prize. Since then, Drummond has devoted himself to various, less costly projects, such as an exhibition called Is God a C***? (with a phone line allowing you to vote yes or no)'
    Drummond's most recent music project, The17, involves choirs of 17 people singing just one note, with no audience.  The notes are recorded, and then played back to the choirs just once, and are then deleted.  Apparently it's 'a polemic about the death of recorded music'.
    - The Scotsman, 4 August 2008

    02 August 2008

    A treasure trove for future archaeologists

    One by-product of the recent winter storms afflicting New Zealand has been a rich new vein of archaeological deposits laid down for future dirt-scrabblers to exhume and categorise.  Case in point: the owner of Golfers' World, a 9-hole course in Riverlands on the outskirts of Blenheim, has reported that

    ...about 10,000 golf balls are slowly disappearing into the mud forever.  Owner Terry Agent had been planning to pick the balls up first thing on Thursday after rain closed the driving range on Wednesday, but unfortunately he never got the chance.  Besides the golf balls, Mr Agent also lost mats and a car parked near the edge of the driving range was submerged.

    Okay, so I guess future archaeologists might not take too long to work out that it was a golf course.  But perhaps now the balls are planted they'll germinate and there'll be a lovely crop of fresh new ones in the springtime?

    - Source: Marlborough Express, 1 August 2008

    01 August 2008

    Deadbeat superhero husbands

    Ladies!  Fancy a comic book superhero for a husband?  Then perhaps you should read this informative article before you accept any propositions.  Behold:

    YELLOWJACKET (aka Henry Pym): Not to put too fine a point on, but Henry Pym's kind of an asshole, and an incredibly sketchy one at that. If he isn't feeling insecure about his abilities ("I'm just not big enough!"), he's building robots who eventually go insane and murder billions galaxy-wide.

    The 6 Worst Comic Book Super-Husbands

    [Source: Largehearted Boy]