29 December 2009
26 December 2009
Mad Margaret: When I am lying awake at night ... strange fancies crowd upon my poor mad brain, and I sometimes think that if we could hit upon some word for you to use whenever I am about to relapse - some word that teems with hidden meaning - like 'Basingstoke' - it might recall me to my saner self [W.S. Gilbert, Ruddigore, 1887]
- Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, London, 17th ed., 2005
22 December 2009
21 December 2009
For one thing, I happen to think Killing in the Name is an excellent song, so I've already got something out of it. Most importantly, it contains genuine emotion. Even if the climactic repeated howls of "F--k you, I won't do what you tell me!" put you in mind of a teenager loudly refusing to tidy his bedroom – as opposed to a masked anarchist hurling petrol bombs at the riot squad – there is at least an authentic human sentiment being expressed. Zack de la Rocha is audibly pissed off.
Compare this to the pissweak vocal doodle that is Joe McElderry's X Factor single. For a song whose lyrics ostensibly document an attempt to gather the spiritual strength to overcome adversity and thereby attain enlightenment, The Climb is about as inspiring as a Lion bar. It's a listless announcement on a service station Tannoy; an advert for buttons; a fart in a clinic; a dot on a spreadsheet. Listening to it from beginning to end is like watching a bored cleaner methodically wiping a smudge from a Formica worksurface.
But then nobody's buying The Climb in order to actually listen to it. They're buying it out of sedated confusion, pushing a button they've been told will make them feel better. It's the sound of the assisted suicide clinic, and it doesn't deserve to be No 1 this Christmas.
Of course, as Brooker points out, both tracks are ultimately owned by Sony BMG. But the thought that this might in some small way have irritated Simon Cowell makes it all worthwhile, no?
- Guardian, 21 December 2009
20 December 2009
- Jeremy Malies, The Wisden Cricketer, March 2004
19 December 2009
Energen’s defense attorneys want to attend the showdown between the University of Alabama and University of Texas at Austin, scheduled for Jan. 7 at the Rose Bowl. If Alabama wins, it will be the first time in 17 years that they’ve claimed the Bowl Championship Series national title, considered by many to be the apogee of college football achievement.
“Such an event only comes infrequently during a person’s lifetime and is an achievement of such a magnitude that all involved in this litigation should want everyone to fully participate in this achievement,” writes Jon Terry, attorney for Energen, in his nine-point motion for a delay.
Because so many lawyers, jurors, and witnesses are planning to travel to Pasadena, Calif., for the game, it would be a hardship, he says. February would be better. Much better'
- Christian Science Monitor, 18 December 2009
17 December 2009
The Morgan Freeman Chain of Command (img)
It is understood the Hamilton GP, who runs his own private practice, sent out an email to board members where he questioned the integrity of members and DHB management.
He is an elected member of the Waikato DHB board and a controversial figure who has regularly criticised the DHB and media, including posts in an online bog.
- Stuff.co.nz, 17 December 2009
10 December 2009
08 December 2009
- Jo Swinnerton, The London Companion, 2004
'When I arrived from London two days ago I was stopped as usual by the immigration authorities,' he writes.
'I handed over my passport, my completed immigration and customs forms, was fingerprinted and photographed. "Why are you here?" the Homeland Security lady asked me. 'Because the president is scheduled to announce a big increase in US troop numbers in Afghanistan'.
"Who do you work for?" 'The BBC'. "How do you spell that?" Hmmm. A tricky one. How do you spell BBC? 'Er, B... B... C...' The lady looked at me. "Do you have any identification?"
'You are holding my passport,' I said, with a smile'
- Evening Standard, 7 December 2009
05 December 2009
A drunk bridesmaid disappeared from her friend's wedding early this morning, running off and getting lost in the Waitakere Ranges.
Police launched a search and rescue operation to find the 26-year-old, who ran away from the post-wedding party in West Auckland, at a property backing onto the bush-clad hills, about 1.20am.
After a search involving search and rescue volunteers and a police helicopter, the woman was found about 5.30am. She was asleep about 10 or 15 metres into the bush, Inspector Shawn Rutene told NZPA.
She was cold after her night spent sleeping rough, but otherwise fine, he said.
- NZPA, 6 December 2009
03 December 2009
02 December 2009
Public Enemy, ‘Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age’. That's a pun on 'music and our message', in case you were wondering.
Salt N Pepa, 'A Salt With A Deadly Pepa'. I'm sorry, whichever way you pronounce it, pepper just doesn't rhyme with weapon.
Butthole Surfers, 'Hairway To Steven'. A pun's that's both desperate and completely meaningless: a double-whammy of lameness.
REO Speedwagon, ‘You Can Tune a Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish’. Again, completely pointless.
Westlife, 'Allow Us To Be Frank'. Yes, this was an album of Sinatra covers.
Wet Wet Wet, 'Popped In , Souled Out'. This was the first album I ever bought. Even as a seven-year-old, I knew that was a weak pun.
- NME, 1 December 2009
No one should be reminded of Virgin Trains at any time, as their one outstanding achievement is attention to detail, because everything is awful. Any train company can make trains late, but Virgin put in that extra effort, so there's an announcement as you leave that there's no tea because the boiler's busted.
Perfectionist that [Branson] is, Virgin also has the worst record for answering complaints, replying to a wonderful 36 per cent within 20 days. I enjoyed some of this service last week, when I rang to reserve a seat but couldn't get through for 26 minutes.
So I said I'd like to complain, and was put on hold for another 15 minutes, then told the complaints department was very busy so could I ring back later. So later I called a customer relations department who told me, "This can happen."
"Is there an explanation?" I asked, and she said: "I've given you one." I said, "What was it?" and she said: "I TOLD you – this can happen."
Just to make sure, I said, "Are you telling me 'This can happen' is the explanation."
"Yes," she said triumphantly.
So it seems Virgin is being run by philosophers from the 13th century. When someone rings to ask why they were stuck for two hours outside Preston they must get told "Ah, 'tis God's will". The station announcements will soon say: "We apologise for the cancellation of the 2.15 to Coventry. This is due to the fact that this can happen. It's not our place to incur the wrath of our creator by asking why."'
- Mark Steel, Independent, 2 December 2009
01 December 2009
...[A] concomitant of the legendary Irish fondness for alcohol and fighting was the sense of humour, very often chauvinist in tone. The 'Wanted' column on a page from the Pensioners' Gazette posted on the wall of one of the rebuilt Fencible houses at Howick carried as an advertisement: 'A wife, with fine points, pretty fetlocks, small muzzle, sound in wind and warranted free from vice'. An item in the 'Marriages Births and Deaths' column mentioned that a Panmure lady 'well known for her beauty and accomplishments is rumoured to be about to be married to fourteen different gentlemen. As soon as we can find out the favoured gentlemen we will chuckle over the knowledge and keep it to ourselves'.
- Quoted in Gordon McLauchlan, The Life and Times of Auckland, Auckland, 2008, p.119-120.
30 November 2009
Hindu fakirs favour a wooden bed bristling with metal nails, but the spiky foam version does the job nicely, says Catarina Rolfsdotter-Jansson, a 46-year-old yoga instructor and writer who uses one every day and describes it as being “quite painful actually”.
“The back looks picked at, as if with a fork”, when a person gets up off the mat. But then “you relax and feel nice again”, she told The New York Times.
Users often claim relief from insomnia, migraines and asthma, while a more zealous group believes that the mat can cure everything from schizophrenia to dandruff.
At times these Nordic nail bed devotees seem like a cult: 3,000 of them gathered recently in a Stockholm park, placing their mats in the form of the rays of the sun. They sang mantras and fell asleep.
Not everyone is convinced of the benefits, however. The Svenska Dagbladet newspaper concluded recently that there was “nothing that even approaches a scientific proof for the effects” of the nail bed.
In response, the largest manufacturer is organising medically supervised trials to monitor 30 regular users.
- The Times, 29 November 2009
29 November 2009
[See also: Never do cocaine with Woody Allen]
24 November 2009
"What we learnt is that someone from Dhaka, in the name of an Abahani official, gave him a call and told that the league matches will resume after the Eid vacation and that's why he cancelled his ticket," said a genuine club official. "He took the decision from the airport but surprisingly he didn't even check with the agent."'
- Andy Bull, 'The Spin' cricket newsletter, 24 November 2009
23 November 2009
Are you interested in a research study?
We are currently recruiting methamphetamine users for a research study. If you qualify, you could receive up to $1402 and a picture of your brain. Call toll free [...]
- UCLA Psychiatry Dept advert, LA Weekly, 13-19 November 2009
20 November 2009
“They’re very colorful and big,” said Cristina Gamez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Some of them are like 2 feet tall.”
Gamez said glass bongs and pipes, contained in nearly 860 boxes of cargo, are worth about $2.6 million [...]
Gamez said no arrests have been made, and an investigation is pending. She said that it is illegal to import, export or sell drug paraphernalia in the United States and that all the items would be destroyed'
- Los Angeles Times, 19 November 2009
17 November 2009
So what should you do when a child throws a tantrum? Many parents, determined not to be cruel or counterproductive, latch on to pre-approved language from books. Walk through a Manhattan playground and you'll hear parents responding to their dirt-throwing, swing-stealing offspring with a studied flatness. A toddler whirling into rage is quietly instructed, 'Use your words'. A pre-schooler who clocks his classmate is offered the vaguely Zen incantation 'Hands are not for hitting'. A kid demanding a Popsicle is given a bland demurral: 'I'm sorry, but I don't respond to whining'. (The preferred vocal inflection is that of a customer-service representative informing an irate caller that the warranty has, indeed, expired). The brusque imperative 'Say "please"!' has been supplanted by the mildest of queries: 'Is there a nicer way to say that?' The efficacy of this clinical approach has not been confirmed by science, but it certainly feels scientific, in part because the parents conduct themselves as if their child were the subject of a peer-reviewed experiment'
- Daniel Zalewski, 'The Defiant Ones', New Yorker, 19 October 2009
14 November 2009
Meanwhile, over the border in England, there was an unrealistic sense of expectation about the clash with the Wallabies. The return of Jonny Wilkinson was not going to suddenly enable England to play fluid, enterprising football. Wilkinson gave them more direction; more confidence and more accuracy with their kicking game.
But if you don't play with the ball in hand at club level and develop passing, running and handling skills - then you can't suddenly do it at test level just because Jonny is back'
- Gregor Paul, NZ Herald, 15 November 2009
06 November 2009
05 November 2009
- Arousing suspicions of locals by sailing Ouvea [their yacht] into the hazardous Parengarenga Harbour
- Crew of Ouvea arousing interest of customs inspector by the spotlessness of the yacht (which didn't appear to have sailed the South Pacific), by having three new, uncreased and unmarked passports, by not fitting yachting stereotypes, by having no cameras aboard despite one crew member being a photographer
- Driving on the wrong side of the road and almost causing an accident, thus alerting a bystander who noted the vehicle's registration number
- Not understanding that internal New Zealand toll calls are traceable
- Using and abandoning a Zodiac, an expensive rubber dinghy, that was noticed because of its rarity and desirability in New Zealand
- Dumping two oxygen cylinders with French markings, which were so conspicuous they were reported to police and could be traced to a Nice manufacturer of special equipment for French armed forces
- Acting so suspiciously on Tamaki Drive, Auckland, that their van registration number was noted and the police called
- Returning rental van to Auckland airport and demanding a $130 refund, instead of leaving the van in airport car park
- Inconsistencies in Turenges' stories
- Turenges both having Swiss passports issued in Paris on the same day with wildly different serial numbers
- Turenges keeping file of receipts on their 'honeymoon'
- Turenges speaking French in front of a New Zealand police officer who was French-speaking
- Being conspicuous for being rude wherever they went
- Being such bad actors
- Phoning numbers in Paris traceable to the French security services
- Getting caught
Source: Mary Trewby, Beachcomber: A New Zealand & Pacific Miscellany, Auckland, 2004
30 October 2009
28 October 2009
25 October 2009
Original composer John Barry left the film because he found it impossible to understand what Philip Kaufman wanted from the score, citing a meeting where the director described his ideal score as "sounding like you're walking in the desert and you see a cactus, and you put your foot on it, but it just starts growing up through your foot."
23 October 2009
26th. I am getting so sick of this exploring, the walking and the diet being both so bad, that were it not for the shame of the thing, I would return to the more comfortable quarters of the Riwaka river.
27th. Worse and worse walking, the rocks being steep and rugged, and covered with underbrush and quantities of brier, the bush almost impassable for the quantity of dead timber and moss. The evening showering for rain.
26th. Heavy rain all day. Broke our fast on a species of fungus found on the rotten trees.
24th. Last night we were again visited with a deluge of rain, which completely covered the surface of the earth, so that we had to sit all night ankle deep in water.
27th. [...] our dog nearly consumed (I was compelled, though very reluctantly, to give my consent to killing my dog Rover), and we could find no other eatable: the weather too cold for eels, and birds are not seen in the black birch woods'
- Quoted in Paul Moon, The Newest Country in the World: A History of New Zealand in the Decade of the Treaty, Auckland, 2007, p176.
13 October 2009
28 September 2009
However, there was the problem of apportioning the crime statistics, and so there arose a complex system of annual budgeting, chits and allowances to see that a) the members could make a reasonable living and b) no citizen was robbed or assaulted more than an agreed number of times. Many foresighted citizens in fact arranged to get an acceptable minimum of theft, assault, etc, over at the beginning of the financial year, often in the privacy and comfort of their own homes, and thus be able to walk the streets quite safely for the rest of the year. It all ticked over extremely peacefully and efficiently, demonstrating once again that compared to the Patrician of Ankh, Machiavelli could not have run a whelk stall'
- Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters, 1988
23 September 2009
There are some marvellous [fish] which lift themselves out of the water and fly for quite a long time like butterflies, but I don't know how long they can stay in the air. I asked experienced sailors about this, wanting to know where the fish came from. They replied that in England and Ireland very beautiful trees grow on the shore bearing fruit like apples. In these apples, worms are born, and when the apples are ripe and fall they break open and the worms fly away because they have wings like bees. If they touch first on land they become airborne and fly with other birds. If they touch first at sea they become sea creatures and swim like fish but from time to time they also use their natural ability to fly.
Perhaps wisely, Ludolph remarked that he wasn't sure if trees like this really existed but he recorded what he'd been told'.
- Quoted in Susan Rose, The Medieval Sea, London, 2007
22 September 2009
21 September 2009
19 September 2009
Daniel Jones, founder of the religion inspired by the Star Wars films, says he was humiliated and victimised for his beliefs following the incident at a Tesco store in Bangor.
The 23-year-old, who founded the International Church of Jediism, which has 500,000 followers worldwide, was told the hood flouted store rules.
But the grocery empire struck back, claiming that the three best known Jedi Knights in the Star Wars movies – Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker – all appeared in public without their hoods. Jones, from Holyhead, who is known by the Jedi name Morda Hehol, said his religion dictated that he should wear the hood in public places and is considering legal action against the chain.
"It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear. It just covers the back of my head," he said [...]
Tesco said: "He hasn't been banned. Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood.
"If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they'll miss lots of special offers."
- Guardian, 18 September 2009
18 September 2009
The Dark Knight star Aaron Eckhart is feeling the pressure to find a girlfriend and settle down - because reporters always quiz him about his love life when he's promoting a new movie.
The actor is currently starring in romantic comedy Love Happens with Jennifer Aniston and he's been bombarded with questions about when he'll get married and start a family - even though he's still single.
Eckhart, who was previously engaged to actress Emily Cline, admits the constant speculation is starting to annoy him - because not even his mother pressures him as much as the media.
He says, "You know who I'm getting pressure from? The press! When you're promoting a new movie they want to know a) have you slept with your co-star, which I have not, and b) why are you so old and never been married?! And they're getting down my root (on his nerves) about it.
"I think that once you get over the age of 40 people start to ask questions. When you're younger and single, it's cool. Now it's dirty."
- IMDB.com, 18 September 2009
11 September 2009
10 September 2009
Sir, Today's Guides are clearly very different from those of my youth (Archive, Sept 4 and letters, Sept 8). My friend and I joined the 59th Croydon because we wanted to meet the young Scouts who shared the hall. We were then somewhat disappointed to find the two groups met on different nights.
09 September 2009
Hamilton identities and other proud locals are describing the Springbok coach's comments as rubbish and are backing their city to the hilt. All Black and Waikato player Stephen Donald says he'll use de Villier's comments as motivation when he lines up against the Springboks on Saturday. He says the comments hurt him "immensely" and while the beaches on the Gold Coast are not bad, there are lots of nice spots along Hamilton's beautiful river.
Linda Topp of the Topp Twins, who grew up in Huntly, describes Hamilton as the Los Angeles of Waikato and says the South African coach couldn't be more wrong.
02 September 2009
By CHRISTINE KELLETT - BrisbaneTimes.com.au
Last updated 11:23 02/09/2009
Police say dead koalas and other frozen road kill may be used to disrupt the Australian leg of the Repco World Rally Championship in the Tweed Valley tomorrow.
Head of the Tweed-Byron police, Superintendent Michael Kenny, told local media protest groups rallying against the racing event would be watched closely after rumours began circulating about the use of dead animals, the lighting of fires and people laying across the track.
"Some of the bizarre things are that there is road kill been put in freezers that is going to be thrown on to the road during the event," Superintendent Kenny said yesterday.
24 August 2009
22 August 2009
Tim Entwisle, executive director of Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, wants the traditional four seasons to be abolished. Or rather, he wants to tinker with them and add two new seasons: sprummer and sprinter.
Dr Entwisle believes the model of four three-month seasons, which Australia inherited from Britain, is unsuited to the rhythms of a continent with vastly different weather patterns. If the seasonal calendar was adjusted, he says, people would become more attuned to their environment and better able to observe signs of climate change.
Although spring officially begins on 1 September, for instance, Australia's national flower, the wattle, always starts blooming in August, or even July. "Every year people say spring has come early, but in fact it happens every year," Dr Entwisle said yesterday.
He is advocating that spring be brought forward to August and last only two months, to be followed by a new pre-summer season, spanning October and November. Summer would start in December, as it does at present, but would last four months rather than three. There would be a short autumn in April and May, followed by a brief winter in June and July.
"Sprummer" is Dr Entwisle's light-hearted suggestion for the pre-summer season, while the early spring months, he proposes, could be "sprinter". A competition could be held to decide names, he says'
- Indepedent, 22 August 2009
16 August 2009
"We who believe in the immortality of rock took a vow 30 years ago that we would never release this incredibly powerful force unless we faced a Day of Reckoning—and that day has come," said Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, one of the chosen few who helped forge the Secret Vault to Save Rock and Roll, at a press conference in the Welsh highlands. "Just look at the pop charts, and you shall know I speak the truth."
The Guardians said recent developments in the music world, such as the unaccountable popularity of the Dixie Chicks and Sufjan Stevens, have created a "perfect storm of lameness" from which rock might never recover. While Iommi refused to say when the vault would be opened, hard rock sources believe it will take place just prior to next month's Fall Out Boy–Honda Civic tour, which many fear will suck the remaining lifeblood from all that still rocks.
- The Onion, 5 March 2007
The paper examines three possible methods of dealing with a zombie outbreak: quarantine of the zombies, treatment of zombies so that they once again become human, and impulsive eradication of the zombies whenever possible. The models found that quarantine could work, but the end result would be either the eradication of all zombies or the eradication of all humans; if a cure for being a zombie were found, humans would coexist with zombies, but only in low numbers; but eradication, if properly coordinated, could wipe out the entire zombie population in a mere ten days'
When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection
- via IO9.com & Gizmodo
14 August 2009
There is school of thought that says, no good will ever come from a director who is represented by a single moniker: McG, Taz and, of course, Pitof, director of Catwoman. Arguably the most derided of all superhero adaptations, its faults are many. One of the most obvious being that it wildly deviates from its source material, managing to weave a plot that is by turns moronic, nonsensical and most astonishingly of all, took four whole writers to craft.
The one fantastical element on show is the crushingly poor acting of Halle Berry, who with all the CG in Hollywood is unable to look anything less than wooden. Her performance is so bad, that on release, one critic suggested she relinquish her Oscar as punishment.
With little else to offer, the film is heavily reliant on special effects. They come in two flavours, at best eye-strainingly awful, at worst a poorly animated shitstorm. A typical scene involves Catwoman leaping from roof to floor in a blur of CG accompanied by fitful editing and an ear popping R&B score. Upon landing Berry will say something uninspired, trite, and sometimes both: "Miaow" or perhaps "That's purrrrfect" (she is a CAT-WOMAN...do you get it?). In a flash, Berry will kick a goon in the throat, gyrate across the floor and scrabble up a wall in a CG flurry.
What grates the most, as with many films on this list, is how the makers have taken something good and turned it into a patronising, bland and soulless exercise which should have been left in the litter tray.
- Tom Fenwick, The 10 worst comic book adaptations of all time, Denofgeek.com
[Blog post number 1000! Hoopla!]
'Yes, it is too long, but Funny People is nonetheless the most interesting big-budget film to come out of Hollywood this year, and it certainly deserves a wider audience. It will probably have to wait until it comes out in DVD to find that audience, when the public comes to its senses. As for the public, if it keeps turning out in droves on opening weekend for films such as GI Joe and Watchmen, it doesn't deserve to have any good films.
Obviously, one can go too far with this line of reasoning. There is a natural temptation among producers and directors of duds to console themselves with the following socratic line of reasoning:
A. The Wizard of Oz was a flop.
B. The Pink Panther 2 is a flop.
C. Some day, The Pink Panther 2 will be as beloved as The Wizard of Oz.
Alas, reality doesn't work that way. History tends to be very hard on motion pictures that suck beyond belief, which is certainly the case with The Pink Panther 2. History catches up with bad films, and repossesses their kudos, but it also catches up with good films and tries to atone for their earlier mistreatment'
- Joe Queenan, Guardian, 13 August 2009
13 August 2009
Aleisha Kendrick won't sleep without her phone switched on, will check for new text messages every second, and ensures her phone is fully charged wherever she goes.
A while ago, Aleisha sent 12,000 texts in just one month. She has three phones, lots of friends, and a well-exercised thumb. She has swapped plans and changed numbers many times in order to keep texting.
"If I didn't have my phone I'd feel empty. It's my life, it's my baby. I'd feel out of the loop, like I'm missing out. I'd probably cry and go insane."
Her friends Georgia Comer and Andrea Prattley knew of other friends who had put their phones into condoms so they could text while in the shower.
Beth Comer once used a sealable plastic bag to protect her phone from water damage while showering and Andrea usually wrapped her phone in a facecloth so it wouldn't get wet while she was in the bath.
Bernice Rangirangi said her 20-minute shower was too long for her to be without her phone. What if she misses out on gossip? What if something happened and she wasn't the first to know?
Bless 'em. Of course there are healthy doses of the usual teen hyperbole involved, but I can offer some useful advice to the frazzled teens: don't worry about your phones. You live in Timaru. How likely is it that something interesting is going to happen?
- Source: Timaru Herald, 14 August 2009
12 August 2009
A 60-year-old man has been convicted of groping a woman in a Minnie Mouse costume at Walt Disney World.
John William Moyer of Cressona, Pennsylvania, told the judge he is innocent.
His son said before sentencing that his father would never inappropriately touch a woman, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
He was convicted on Tuesday of misdemeanour battery and sentenced to write the victim an apology, serve 180 days probation and complete 50 hours of community service.
Moyer must also pay US$1,000 (NZ$1505) in court costs and possibly undergo a mental evaluation.
The victim says she had to do everything possible to keep Moyer's hands off her breasts.
- AP, via Stuff.co.nz, 12 August 2009
27 July 2009
From North Africa, Rommel complained to Berlin that his supply line had been cut and that, of 60,000 troops promised, only 8,093 had arrived. In the aftermath of the action Mussolini was "depressed and indignant", [Admirals] Brivonesi and Bisciani lost their commands, and [Count Galeazzo] Ciano considered there would be "profound repercussions ... Under the circumstances we have no right to complain if Hitler sends Kesselring as commander in the South". The Italian high command had a capacity for self-delusion, "pulling out their usual inevitable and imaginary sinking of a British cruiser by an Italian torpedo plane; nobody believes it". Italian reconnaisance photographs taken after Force K had returned to Malta showed a cruiser moored near the dry-dock. This, insisted the Regia Aeronautica's chief of staff, Generale Pricolo, was evidence that one British cruiser had been hit. "This," commented Ciano despairingly, "is equivalent to declaring that a man is probably dead because he has gone to live near the cemetery. Clowns, tragic clowns..."
- Richard Woodman, Malta Convoys, London, 2000
24 July 2009
Look closely at the moon. It is the face of Chuck Norris. One wolf would not be enough to pay him homage. It takes three. (Katherine, California)
- Amazon.com, via Threadless.com
20 July 2009
- Stephen Fry, The Spectator Lecture, Royal Geographical Society, presented in London 30 April 2009
15 July 2009
- Nicholas Pegg, The Complete David Bowie, 2000, summarising reviews on Bowie's 1995 album 1. Outside.
02 July 2009
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Jeff Goldblum Will Be Missed|
It should be noted that the NZ Police issued a clear denial of the hoax.
01 July 2009
However, Wairarapa's hold on the shield was shortlived. The youngest player at the time, Hori Thompson, said most players thought the season had ended so left the region for shearing work.
"The coach turned up on a Thursday at work and said, 'You guys are playing this weekend'. Most of the lads had been drunk for two weeks since the win ... and no one had been training." Wairarapa went down 17-14 to South Canterbury in the first defence'
- Dominion Post, 2 July 2009
29 June 2009
'We cut back and forth to see what clothes Lady Gaga had chosen to wear at least four times. And, to be fair, she was wearing increasingly ridiculous outfits every time we did. She was also singing songs, of course, while wearing clothes, but the emphasis was definitely on the clothes.
It was an ever-present pressing question with the bands who dropped by the BBC3 sofas. "So what'll you be wearing on stage, then?" - though mainly this was related to the lady-bands. Lily Allen (with her single white glove and catsuit) the Ting Tings (catsuit) and so on. Of course, we would then cut to them singing, onstage, wearing what they'd just described - so, really, we could have just waited. And then seen their clothes. With our eyes.
But it could be argued that with Lady Gaga, it was not only part of the appeal, part of the package: it was the majority interest. Undeniably she cuts a fine figure, in increasingly bizarre outfits. First up, a glass-shard covered dress with a skirt seemingly designed with displaying her pert buttocks top of the priority list. With blonde hair mostly covering her face, from the neck up, she resembled nothing so much as a cross between Karen O and a blow up doll, while from the neck down, she was a 3D paper doll with detachable outfits. Including one with a bra that spouted fire. The crowd screamed approval, but you had to wonder how much of that had to do with the music. And isn't that the point? Or am I being outdated about all of this?'
- Guardian, 27 June 2009
25 June 2009
[...] And make no mistake: Mr. Bay is an auteur. His signature adorns every image in his movies, as conspicuously as that of Lars von Trier, and every single one is inscribed with a specific worldview and moral sensibility. Mr. Bay’s subject — overwhelming violent conquest — is as blatant and consistent as his cluttered mise-en-scène. His images, particularly during the frequent action sequences, can be difficult to visually track, but they are also consistently disjointed. (And proudly self-referential: the only director he overtly cites is himself, with a shot of the poster for his movie “Bad Boys II.”) The French filmmaker Jacques Rivette once described an auteur as someone who speaks in the first person. Mr. Bay prefers to shout.
- New York Times, 24 June 2009
24 June 2009
23 June 2009
1) Have a place for the Sellotape and wrapping paper. Giving presents is tedious enough without having to turn the house upside down every time you want to pretend you like someone enough to have remembered their birthday.
2) Find your dressing gown cord.
3) Find a job in a book or cake shop, depending on which you'd save first from your house if there were a fire.
4) Cook only meals that dirty just one pan.
5) Don't be afraid to eat out of the pan.
6) Get a cat. Not if you're bounded on all sides by dual carriageways, motorways and a shooting range, and are out 14 hours a day, obviously, but otherwise, get a cat.
7) Buy only every fifth thing you take a fancy to when out shopping.
8) Always take an umbrella.
9) And a mini A to Z.
10) And put the phone back on its thing.
11) Buy one of those plastic eggs that you put in a pan with real eggs that tells you how hard-boiled they have become. A life of perfectly boiled eggs is a life of true contentment.
12) Maybe the cat will even come and sit in your lap. You see how it all begins to tie in?
Have a bit of a tidy up and then a cup of tea.
13) If you are a woman who alternates between two favourite handbags, buy a second set of everything you habitually take with you - make-up, hairbrush, painkillers, cosh, hip flask, facsimile of the Holy Prepuce, or whatever else it is that helps you get through the day - so you don't have to keep decanting your support system from one to the other. This is not a waste of money - it has been estimated, by me, just now, that the average woman loses 406 years of her life shifting this stuff around, so what you are actually doing is buying yourself literally hundreds more hours a day. Do it.
14) If you are a man who alternates between two favourite handbags, I suspect you may have already engineered for yourself a lifestyle that can admit of no more happiness and I applaud you unreservedly.
15) Remember, unless she's actually in the room, your mother cannot see you. And even if she can still sense that you're doing something wrong, she'll never be able to prove it.
Upon fulfilment of these goals, perfect happiness, I assure you, will ensue'
- Lucy Mangan, Guardian, 23 May 2009
22 June 2009
[Transpower's chief executive] told The Press heat pumps were efficient and ideal for parts of the country with colder winters, like Canterbury.
"My big worry with heat pumps is in areas like Auckland. They do drive up winter load, but initially some of the load will go down because they are more efficient than what they are replacing. But then people will use more electricity."
Aucklanders also tended to use heat pumps as air-conditioners in the summer, which could lead to a secondary summer peak in electricity use as well as the country's traditional winter peak, he said.
Anything that can shift the blame to the evil Aucklanders obviously goes down a treat in Canterbury!
- Source: The Press, 20 June 2009
Placards at the seats, which earlier had identified delegates from France and Venezuela, now read “Caprica” and “Aquarion.” The panel included William Adama (played by Edward James Olmos), the admiral of the spaceship Galactica, and Laura Roslin (played by Mary McDonnell), the president of the Twelve Colonies, along with two producers from “B.S.G.” and a handful of earthbound U.N. dignitaries. Whoopi Goldberg, a big fan of the show, had been enlisted to moderate. The line of sci-fi buffs snaked out the door. A sign on the wall reading “Smoking Discouraged” (the U.N. is not subject to New York City regulations) enhanced the feeling that the event was taking place in another dimension. What the frak?
- New Yorker, 6 April 2009
16 June 2009
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Formidable Opponent - Don't Ask, Don't Tell|
11 June 2009
- Comedian David Mitchell, interviewed in the Guardian, 8 June 2009
08 June 2009
Today the antics might raise less than a smile, but in the mood of the times and even 30 years later they were regarded as hilarious. It was in the late 1890s that Ah Fook Hu, a Chinese storekeeper, won spectacularly at fantan, withdrew his savings from the bank and set off for his homeland, never to be heard of again. Relatives, suspecting that Ah might have been murdered for his money, posted a reward which attracted the attention of a Swedish miner, John Magnus, then working a claim about 10 kilometres downriver from Alexandra. Magnus had little sympathy for the Chinese and could not resist the opportunity to dress a sheep's carcass in the manner described in the reward, complete with pigtail woven from the hair of a black billygoat. Elaborate surgery was carried out on the sheep - its head was covered with inverted sheepskin, teeth were bared and a nose fashioned from a sheep's kidney before the whole "face" was stained with Condy's fluid. By the time they had finished the carcass was stinking, which doubtless aided the success of the scheme, for the "body" was placed by a river for another miner to find and rush to Alexandra in all innocence to claim the reward. The local constable, despatched to recover the corpse, was assisted by Magnus' friends to bring it to the town. Here a sergeant and a doctor made a hurried examination before they converted the stables at the Bendigo Hotel into a morgue for the purposes of a post mortem. Ah Fook Hu's brother denied that it was his relative, but others were more certain and positively identified the corpse as being that of the hapless Ah. The post mortem began. Slowly the body was undressed. Eventually, when the trousers were cut to reveal a sheep's leg, the shocked and sombre crowd erupted with mirth. Doctor, police and mayor all rapidly retreated in a state of embarrassed confusion, as Magnus and his friends repaired to the bar of the Bendigo to celebrate. A local resident was paid to bury the corpse but at dawn the next morning it was propped up against the hotel's front door. Those taking part were overcome by their hilarity and seemingly none spared a thought for Ah Fook Hu, who had disappeared without trace.
- Diana & Jeremy Pope, South Island (Mobil New Zealand Travel Guide), 6th ed., Auckland, 1993
Tomasky talk: European rail en route to America?
'November 30, 2007, black male, limo, age "50+": 'He was peeing into a bottle and I disturbed him'
February 12, 2008, white female, truck, age "50+": 'I won't freeze for you'
July 11, 2008, black female, bus (Access-a-Ride), age "25-35": 'Then don't breathe'
August 8, 2008, white male, sedan, age "35-50": 'Guy was rolling a joint'.
Pakenham is unusually shy and well mannered for a curmudgeon, and his accounts of unpleasantness make several references to 'guff' and one mention of a 'MAJOR ISSUE'. Some of the most vivid rebuttals have come from what he calls 'two-time losers', or repeat offenders. (September 3, 2008: 'Get away from me. Go move to China'. September 16, 2008: 'His buddy said, "You are not human"). The idler-in-chief appears to be Tommy, a white male who works for the city and has been caught by Pakenham four times. (March 13, 2008: 'It's Tommy once again. Asleep at the wheel'). But - good news! - Tommy now drives a hybrid'.
- Ben McGrath, 'Engine Trouble', New Yorker, 18 May 2009
[Courtesy of Louise]
29 May 2009
- Ann Morrow, Cousins Divided, 2006
[Princess Alice was the mother of Alexandra, the last Tsarina of Russia, who was brought up at Queen Victoria's court after the untimely death of her mother in 1878 when Alexandra was only six years old]
28 May 2009
The 196 prisoners will cycle in a pack and breakaway sprints will not be allowed. They will be accompanied by 124 guards and prison sports instructors. There will be no ranking, the idea being to foster values like teamwork and effort.
"It's a kind of escape for us, a chance to break away from the daily reality of prison," said Daniel, a 48-year-old prisoner in the western city of Nantes, at the official launch of the event.
- Reuters, 25 May 2009
21 May 2009
'Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been ruled out of the World Twenty20 tournament in England due to genital warts, a Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman said overnight.
"We have pulled him out of the World Twenty20 on the basis of a medical report given by our doctor which said that Akhtar needs 10 days to recover from groin wounds," the PCB said.
"The medical board has reported that Akhtar was suffering from genital viral warts."'
- Stuff.co.nz, 22 May 2009
- Economist, 20 May 2009
20 May 2009
- The missionary Richard Taylor in 1855, on the character of Wellington and its climate. Quoted in Philip Temple, Presenting New Zealand, Auckland, 2008
19 May 2009
The yellow zig-zag "school keep clear" sign has been painted in Aberdeen at St Peter's Nursery in The Spital.
The work - costing about £200 - was carried out despite the building being boarded up.
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: "Staff have been instructed to check orders for all outstanding works to ensure they are still required."'
- BBC News, 19 May 2009
15 May 2009
WA Today quotes Salt at length:
Analysing competitors in the Cleo Bachelor of the Year competition, Salt, who is also author of the book Man Drought, said he believed the type of men in favour could change next year.
"You might find a very subtle shift in the type of celebrity male or desired male body shape might shift from hairless, sleek, a bit wimpy to the more muscular," he said.
On a global stage, he said actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Zac Efron may become less popular with female fans, while Tom Selleck lookalikes would be back at the top.
And he believed tradesmen would start being very popular.
"There's a bit of brawn, muscular, a bit of honest sweat. I'm sure that's quite appealing to some women and the market for that will expand," he said.
"Many tradies are actually making an absolute fortune.
"If you look at a man as an investment after 20 years they've established their own business they can be quite successful - so I think tradies for ladies should not be underestimated."
- WAToday.com.au, 3 April 2009
13 May 2009
08 May 2009
The Dynamitards in America
NEW YORK, May 4
The New York Times says there are many indications that the extreme Irish Nationalists in the United States are making preparations to perpetrate another series of dynamite outrages in England during the celebration of the Queen's jubilee.
Perhaps they were in some fiendish league with the Vitrioleuses and the Pistoleers. Oh, alright, I made that last one up.
- Times Archive blog, 8 May 2009
07 May 2009
A postcard sent from the Netherlands to Timau in Kenya accidentally ended up in Timaru, New Zealand - a small misdelivery of 13,250km. So, Miggy Looy of Kenya, if you're expecting some mail, it may be a while in arriving. (Although if you're in a hurry you could always just read the message from the newspaper's photograph - tut tut...)
- Timaru Herald, 7 May 2009
05 May 2009
"In the last two months it's gotten very, very difficult to find ammunition," says Richard Taylor, manager of The Firing Line, a gun shop and shooting range in the Denver, Colorado, suburbs.
"There are a lot of rumors floating around that the present government would like to increase taxes on ammunition. I think [there is] just a lot of panicked buying going on."
While campaigning for the White House, Obama supported re-enacting the now-expired ban on assault weapons. But there is no indication that the administration will take up that measure -- or any other gun-control initiative --anytime soon.
- CNN, 4 May 2009
04 May 2009
29 April 2009
'Lecturers at an Auckland tertiary institute have staged the first of a planned series of "lightning strikes" over what they say is increasing and unrealistic workloads.
About 150 Manukau Institute of Technology staff joined a picket line during Tuesday's two-hour action, which began at 10am, Tertiary Education Union organiser Chan Dixon says'
- TVNZ, 28 April 2009
[Beware their mighty wrath, or install lightning rods on your meagre hovels, either/or]
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|The Last 100 Days|
27 April 2009
- From R.C.J. Stone's biography of William Brown, DNZB
Interrupting Pastor Terry Pridgen's sermon on His unending mercy, God appeared suddenly before His flock as an intense beam of white light, instantly dispersing the earthly forms of those seated in the first two pews. Sources said the remaining congregants had to avert their eyes from their Creator, whose booming celestial voice overwhelmed their worldly senses and humbled their hearts as He politely apologized for not calling first.
"I AM the God of Abraham, the LORD MOST HIGH, who brought you forth from the bondage of Egypt," God said unto church members, many of whom cowered in reverent fear of Him. "Thought I'd just pop in and see how things were going. Please, pretend like I'm not even here."
The Supreme Being then thanked the choir for its "lovely introduction" and took a seat to the right of the altar.
According to wholly repentant witnesses, who were scarcely able to look upon the Alpha and Omega, much less conceive of the enormity of His Might, God did not speak again for the entirety of the service, but was seen nodding approvingly during the Nicene Creed.
Attendees reportedly did not ask the One Who Made Them Flesh why He had chosen to visit their small parish, though some suspected the church's new electric organ might have had something to do with it.
- The Onion, 21 April 2009
25 April 2009
[The Notificator is] an automatic machine with a small desk or shelf, having a glass window in the desk and a roll of paper or thin cardboard beneath. By the insertion of two pennies the window can be slid aside and a message written, which will then be turned onward, the window being closed ready for the next user. Each time a fresh message is written the shutting of the window will move a ratchet - the only mechanism embodied in the invention - and so place the column of messages one space higher.
Messages will remain in sight for some time - the machine is sufficiently tall to leave them visible through a glass panel for at least two hours, it is calculated.
The Notificator was not a success, and the company was declared bankrupt in 1937. Anyone keen to lay odds that Twitter will still be around in six years?
- Source: Times Archive Blog, 22 April 2009
22 April 2009
Quoted below is the official information pamphlet for the scheme:
Information for all owners of petrol-fuelled vehicles
Car-less days stickers are printed in seven different colours, one for each day of the week, and have the day printed across them.
You must choose a day, obtain the correct sticker for that day from a Post Office by entering your selected day at the base of your motor re-licensing form, and fix it to your windscreen by 1 July 1979. It will be an offence NOT to display your car-less day sticker from this date.
Place your car-less day sticker on your windscreen alongside your motor licence sticker.
You may change your chosen car-less day only if:
1. Your sticker has been lost, stolen or destroyed.
2. You have bought a new or used car.
3. You can convince the Secretary of Energy that your chosen car-less day will cause you extreme hardship.
If you wish to change your car-less day for any of the above reasons, ask the nearest Post Office for an 'Energy 1' application form.
ON THE DAY YOU HAVE CHOSEN, YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE WILL BE PROHIBITED BY LAW FROM BEING DRIVEN ON THE ROAD, IF AND WHEN THE GOVERNMENT ACTIVATES THE SCHEME.
Traffic officers will then be making sure that your vehicle is not driven on your chosen car-less day.
- Car-less days pamphlet, Ministry of Energy, Wellington, New Zealand, 1979, quoted in Richard Wolfe, Instructions for New Zealanders, Auckland, 2006