31 July 2008

14 things mums say at toddler groups

...and what they really mean.
"Shall I fetch you a coffee?" - You have too many children in your care and are plainly not coping. After I've fetched your coffee, I'm considering calling Social Services.

"Oh, don't worry, they all go through it." - Your child is definitely worse-behaved than mine.

"Are you friends with Kate?" - We have some juicy and possibly slanderous gossip about Kate to share.


Trust ye not satnav

The Independent produces its top 5 largely pointless but still amusing satnav driving errors, including the champion, a Syrian truck driver charged with delivering a cargo to Gibraltar, who ended up at Gibraltar Point, Skegness - a mere 2623km from his intended destination.
- Source: Independent, 23 July 2008

29 July 2008

It's lovely! I'll take it!

It's Lovely! I'll Take It! is a collection of the dodgiest and mankiest real estate advertising photographs in existence. Seriously, how some people ever imagined these pictures would convince strangers to part with large sums of money is beyond me. And there's some impressively bad DIY at work here too; the access doorway blocked by a functioning toilet is a particular favourite.

Source: Spare Room

'A rooster on nitrous oxide'

A New Zealand TV reality show contestant and sometime professional entertainer has threatened to consult a lawyer over a newspaper writer's description of his performance of Bee Gees songs as sounding like 'a rooster on nitrous oxide', according to the Manawatu Standard. Perhaps a singing coach might be cheaper and more use than a lawyer?

- Manawatu Standard, 29 July 2008

A medieval sales pitch

'It eases diseases coming of cold. It comforts the heart. It heals all old and new sores on the head. It causes a good colour in a person . . . it eases the pain in the teeth and causes sweet breath . . . it heals the short-winded. It causes good digestion and appetite . . . and takes away belching . . . . It gives also courage in a young person and causes him to have a good memory'
- Hieronymous Braunschweig on the benefits of aqua vitae, a distillate of alcoholic beverages, in his 1512 work, Big Book of Distillation.  Quoted in "Jonathan Yardley on 'Drink'", Washington Post, 27 July 2008   

28 July 2008

How to bring Britain to its knees

'I did think of another way of bringing Britain to its knees,' he said.  'I considered investing the profits from my pharmaceutical company in the newspaper business.  Suppose I had bought the most distinguished paper of your Establishment hypocrites, The Times.  Then I could have put it in the hands of some malleable editor who shared my hatred of Britain and attacked the country from its own mouthpiece.  I could have bought television channels, other papers ... I could have piped in pornography and propaganda through every inlet until ... But no, Bond.  It would have taken too long'

- Villain Dr Julius Gorner, in Sebastian Faulks' James Bond novel Devil May Care, 2008
[It's nice to see some sly wit in a Bond novel]

19 July 2008

Leaving aside the obvious age-related jokes

'In the sweetness of July, the dumb cover of The New Yorker showing Barack Obama in Muslim garb doesn't matter, nor does John McCain's sweet moment when he was asked if it is fair that insurance will pay for Viagra and not for birth control pills and he stammered like a schoolboy.  Politicians have powerful response reflexes that pick up on a key word in the question and play back a practiced response, but McCain blushed and winced, a lovely vulnerable moment that in the languors of July went unappreciated'

- Garrison Keillor, International Herald Tribune, 17 July 2008

09 July 2008

Which regime change?

The head of New Zealand Cricket, Justin Vaughan, is trying to deal with the upcoming scheduled New Zealand tour of Zimbabwe in July 2009, having been told by Prime Minister Helen Clark that New Zealand should not be touring Zimbabwe in its current parlous state. The Herald reports that 'Vaughan says many things can happen in 12 months, such as a regime change, which would make them more sympathetic towards Zimbabwe'.

Would it be scurrilous and disingenuous to point out that that Vaughan's quote doesn't actually specify regime change in Harare, and that he could be talking about regime change in Wellington? Worth asking, I'd've thought.

- Source: NZ Herald, 9 July 2008

08 July 2008

Our Father, who art in Hendon

Our Father
Who art in Hendon
Harrow Road be thy name
Thy Kingston come
Thy Wimbledon
In Erith as it is in Hendon
Give us this day our Berkhampstead
And forgive us our Westminsters
As we forgive those who Westminster against us
Lead us not into Temple Station
But deliver us from Ealing
For thine is the Kingston
The Purley and the Crawley
For Iver and Iver
Crouch End

- "The Bus Drivers' Prayer", Ian Dury & The Blockheads, 1992

[Courtesy of Turbo]

05 July 2008

Lennon 1969

The superb pen-drawn animations of James Braithwaite illustrate this recovered five-minute audio tape interview of John Lennon in a Toronto hotel room by the then 14-year-old Beatles fanatic Jerry Levitan. Turns out it's all about peace, man. The (other) kids of Toronto preferred the Bee Gees to the Beatles? Ye gods.

02 July 2008

Age and achievements

'I do not want to hear about anybody who does anything in their 20s. If you are a 19-year-old who has already accomplished the things I've only been vaguely talking about maybe taking the first steps toward trying to do for the past seven years, then fan-freaking-tastic. Good for you, and now shut the hell up. In fact, I would only like to hear about the accomplishments of people who did things at five years older than whatever my current age is on an ongoing basis. I am 26 now, so I do not currently want to hear from anybody who did anything before the age of 31. Next year, that will rise to 32. And so forth'
- Elizabeth Urello, 'People I Am Sick Of Hearing About', Ducts.org

Some people are never happy

A resident of Atawhai, near Nelson in New Zealand, alerted the media when a Nelson City Council employee travelled to her property on a cycle to carry out a resource consent application. 
"I stood there with my mouth open like an ape," Nanette Thompson said [...]
Mrs Thompson said a previous building consent to erect a tennis pavilion on their property incurred an inspection fee of $857.25 excluding GST, so she was surprised to find staff weren't choosing the most efficient means of travel.
The council officer 'missed his afternoon tea to fit in his cycle ride', the report notes.  The distance between the council offices and Atawhai is 5.3km (here's a map), which makes a cycle journey eminently sensible, if you ask me (which you didn't).  Perhaps this is just an indication of the lack of anything substantive to complain about in Nelson.      
- Source: Nelson Mail, 1 July 2008

01 July 2008

Who's the fairest of them all?

A school play in Japan was recently performed with 25 children acting as Snow White, but no dwarfs and no Wicked Witch because, according to a Times article on the new phenomenon of Japanese 'monster parents', '...after a relentless campaign of bullying, hectoring and nuisance phone calls, the monster parents had cowed the teachers into submission, forcing the school to admit to the injustice of selecting just one girl to play the title role'
Perhaps next year they should stage 101 Dalmatians?   
- Source: The Times, 7 June 2008