Wednesday, 26 May 2004

Toad Mating Ball

I really have no reason for linking to this image. Other than, perphaps, its oddness and that I stole the link from the writer Neil Gaiman's Journal.

Eyesore of the Month

James Howard Kunstler's Eyesore of the Month is a fun page, and does what it says. Every month he shows some architectural disaster or other and explains what is wrong with it. I've been a bit slow in recommending this for two reasons:

1) This month he has a go at a Frank Gehry building. What he says about it is quite right, though, as far as I can tell. It's a fun building that's meant to be looked at, but less thought has been given to where it meets the street.

2) I recently started reading his book "The Geography of Nowhere" (yes, an English programmer in Austria reading a book about the problems of American towns) and if it was bad I wasn't going to link to him. Fortunately I found it fun and thought provoking. Well, it agreed with what I thought about America while putting it into a historical perspective, so it could just be that it pandered to my ego.

Anyway, Eyesore of the Month well-worth a look. If only for this example. A playground so disconnected with anything that it needs its own carpark. Bizarre.

Wednesday, 19 May 2004

Wing tags hinder penguins' breeding

No one knows what it's like to have a tagged wing:
Penguins breed only half as well when their flippers are tagged for research or conservation, a new study has revealed.

The French team that made the discovery think the extra drag on the flipper may impede swimming and foraging enough to drain energy, impair hunting and thereby damage breeding success.

Makes me wanna go and write a Tagged Wing Penguin Blues...

Speaking of which, I will probably doing my bit at the Blues Bakery again this thursday. I'm not sure about my billing as "The Headbanging Bluesy Englishman in Steyr", though. It's mostly the "in Steyr" bit to be honest, I mean, there's already enough qualifications in there without geographically limiting it too. It also makes me wonder if there's, like, a Headbanging Bluesy Englishman in Braunau, or Linz, or Fucking or wherever...

Tuesday, 18 May 2004

Response Songs

The Guardian has a fun little round up of songs written in response to other songs. Like how Southern Man by Neil Young spawned Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynrd.

Apparently there's some recent rap kerfuffle that set this off.

Rap seems to have a lot of this thing, if you Google for Rap Beefs you'll probably find a huge amount of examples. Anyway...

The article starts off:
Frankee's smash hit F.U.R.B. (F U Right Back) is just the latest in a line of response songs that is almost as old as pop

But surely every school kid who kept awake during English knows it goes back further than that. Response poems were quite the thing once. The most famous probably being The Passionate Shepherd to His Love and The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd.

Thursday, 13 May 2004

Doncaster on the BBC website

The BBC are debating "Is Donny a City?". Which really should have a link to the review of the Donny pub the "Tut 'n' Shive" in there somewhere, with a firm "hell no!". Choice quote:
im a bouncer in donny and think this is the worst pup in donny!its full of sweaty long haired freaks and swamp donkeys

Then, going on to the review of Yates's Wine Lodge:
Yates's has always been the meeting place for people in doncaster, its fun, lively and something for everyone.

I really have been gone a long time. Cos when I left, Yates was a horrible plastic pub with no atmosphere, rubbish music and bad beer. It had nothing for me.

Wednesday, 12 May 2004


The Guardian has an interview with Pedro Almodóvar. Much like his films he comes across as likeably odd
I didn't even feel faith at school. I did ask myself about the meaning of life, so when I was 10, I expressly gave God one year to manifest himself. He didn't, so I reached the conclusion that I was agnostic.

A Great Man Speaks

Listen to those bastards. Not like the fucking Leeds fans last week. They support their fucking club. Ungrateful bastards.

Sir Bobby Robson comparing Newcastle fans to the Leeds fans. Allegedly.

Tuesday, 11 May 2004

I Keep Forgetting to Read Krugman

Or, it might be that when I do I get so angry, not at him but at the truth he tells, that I blank it out.
To their credit, some supporters of the administration are speaking out. "This is about system failure," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. But do Mr. Graham, John McCain and other appalled lawmakers understand their own role in that failure? By deferring to the administration at every step, by blocking every effort to make officials accountable, they set the nation up for this disaster. You can't prevent any serious inquiry into why George Bush led us to war to eliminate W.M.D. that didn't exist and to punish Saddam for imaginary ties to Al Qaeda, then express shock when Mr. Bush's administration fails to follow the rules on other matters.

I also liked Monbiot in the Graun today, if only for the bit (admittedly tongue in cheek):
"Great Britain," the organiser insists, "is fascinated with the idea of sexual abstinence." In my day such a fellow would have been horsewhipped.

Hunting ethics

Fark has a link to this story about a hunting journalist getting fined for breaching the "fair chase ethic". I guess the joke is that the bloke should have know better.

For me, what's funny is that there's a "fair chase ethic". They are hunting deer with high powered rifles, what's fair or ethical about that? Send 'em in with a Batleth[1], that'll be fair.

[1] A ceremonial Klingon sword thingy. It kind of looks like antlers.

Monday, 10 May 2004


Completely unanticipated by me, Blogger has been updated. This means I can now have comments on this site.

Give it a try.

Thursday, 6 May 2004

HEDLEY! er no, wait...

Hedy Lamarr invented the Internet.

From Vince Keenan. Who also mentions that Defamer started up this week. Defamer is a Wonkette/Gawker (they're all published by Nick Denton who also runs Fleshbot) for Hollywood. Gossipy fun, this time with people you've heard of.

Wednesday, 5 May 2004

This should make me happy, but...

Werewolves of London has been voted for as having the best opening lines of a song ever.

A couple of things annoy me about this. Firstly it sort of reinforces the image of Zevon only having the one song and, sadly, its all he's remembered for. Secondly, it's not even Zevon's best opening line.

I hear Mariachi static on my radio
And the tubes they glow in the dark

Well, I went home with the waitress
The way I always do
How was I to know
She was with the Russians, too

Grandpa pissed his pants again
He don't give a damn
Brother Billy has both guns drawn
He ain't been right since Vietnam

I woke up this morning and fell out of bed
Trouble waiting to happen
Should've quit while I was ahead
Trouble waiting to happen

I went walking in the wasted city
Started thinking about entropy
Smelled the wind from the ruined river
Went home to watch TV

Some prayers never reach the sky
Some wounds never heal
They still say someday the South will rise
Man, I want to see that deal

Got a Glock in the bedside table
Machine gun leaning by the bedroom door
Kevlar vest in the closet
Well, I wear it when I go to the store

You've got an invalid haircut
It hurts when you smile
You'd better get out of town
Before your nickname expires

I was staying at the Marriott
With Jesus and John Wayne
I was waiting for a chariot
They were waiting for a train
The sky was full of carrion
"I'll take the mazuma"
Said Jesus to Marion
"That's the 3:10 to Yuma
My ride's here..."

To pick one or two.

The Man Who Hated Football

He's a sports writer. It seems like he loved football very much and in many small ways it began to let him down, so now he can only see all the imperfections.

It is currently fashionable to write pretentious pieces - God knows I've done it myself - about the excellence of modern sports-writing. In such pieces it is obligatory to provide some historical and literary heft by alluding to the fact that both Ring Lardner and Damon Runyon started as sports-writers. That's true, but the crucial word is "started". Both did write about sport, but both grew up and moved on to other things. Lardner, according to his biographer Johnathan Yardley, turned away from baseball aged 34 because "he wearied of the stupidity of so many of the game's fans". And he never had to listen to a phone-in on TalkSport.

Odd. I titled this post before reading the whole article and got to the bottom where it seems the subject has written a book about his dissatisfaction with football with exactly the same title.

Tuesday, 4 May 2004

Games as Litrachur

Costik is back with another thought provoking post. This time about games as literature and what is literature anyway.

But this points up the trickiness of the distinction. Literature (excluding that literature which is non-fiction) is fiction. All literature means is "the good stuff," and what constitutes "good stuff" is purely a subjective consideration, except that we have collectively decided to agree that anything sufficiently old that still has a readership qualifies by default. There's a hair's-breadth of difference between C.S. Forester and Patrick O'Brien, but you'll find one under Literature and the other under Fiction.

DVD Review: 28 Days Later

(I doubt I'm going to do a lot of this, but this one needed writing)

I'm not really a horror buff, apart from one or two classics -- Evil Dead 2 or The Thing, say -- there aren't many horror movies I'd really want as part of my collection.

28 Days Later, though, struck me as a movie made by people who wouldn't normally watch horror movies, for people who wouldn't normally watch horror movies. Actually, quite a lot of zombie movie conventions were stuck to, though I'm sure Danny Boyle was pleased with himself for the innovation of making the zombies move quickly. For the final 30 minutes of the movie, however, I was giggling uncontrollably. There must be something terribly wrong (well I was drunk, but still...).

Actually up to that point it was a fairly tense horror piece with a nice Thing/Alien in London feel. As soon as the soldiers turn up, though the tension just nose-dived and the humans-are-worse-than-zombies-all-men-are-bastards subtext rapidly became, er, text. It was all just too obvious and silly. Hence the giggles.

The directors commentary confirmed quite a few of my suspicions. Boyle and writer Alex Garland engage in quite a bit of mutual back-slappery over how different this was from ordinary horror movies. Yeah, ordinary horror movies try to remain scary while indulging in heavy handed social commentary.


I like Fametracker. It has, for me, a comfortable level of snark. It has "Hey! It's That Guy", which is pretty indespensable. Also, its forum members aren't quite as slappable as the "Ain't It Cool News" crowd[1].

This week's Fametracker's Ten Least Essential Summer Films, 2004 pretty much hits all it's targets. And it's rare for that to happen on a Snarky Internet Movie site. So enjoy. My favourite bit:

3. Exorcist: The Beginning
Why It's Inessential: Renny Harlin. Renny Harlin. Renny Harlin. Renny Harlin. Renny Harlin. (Renny Harlin.)

[1] I'd provide examples but you just have to go there, really. This review of Blade 2 is a classic of its kind.

Missing Pussy

Mob experts review the new season of the Sopranos.

It's looking good.

Almost too much

Cinetrix is on quite a roll at the moment. There's some good stuff there and plenty of movie related links.