Friday, 30 September 2005

Discreet Penguin Sex

Possibly in reaction to all those articles saying how that March of The Penguins movies was a metaphor for what ever you wanted to think it was a metaphor for (there out there and not hard to find, I'm certainly not linking to any of them), there's a coupleof articles today about, well, let's let them tell you:
Adelie penguins regularly steal stones from fellow nest-builders to fortify their own, even though they get pecked and chased in the process. More surprising yet is the recent discovery that some females resort to peddling their bodies in exchange for the precious pebbles.

That's right. Penguin prostitutes...

There's some denial going on among the academic community, though:
"I think what they are doing is having copulation for another reason and just taking the stones as well. We don't know exactly why, but they are using the males."

And to conclude:
Other animals have been seen trading food for sexual favours but only within a partnership.

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Changing Tastes

I bought Beetlejuice on DVD recently. had it for €10 if you bought it with something else (so I got American Splendour, Battlestar Galactica and The Pledge, too, I'm sure that says something I don't want to know about me). When I first saw Beetlejuice in the cinema I had the hots for Winona Ryder, she shoplifted my heart. But this time round it was Catherine O'Hara who stood out for me.

I don't quite know what this means and whether or not to worry about it.

Illusory Cock

Also from Fark. It's the statue's arm, apparently. Though the artist who designed it is called Mr Wood....

The Sopranos, Truer Than You Think

Fark links to a story about a mob boss, who had been portrayed by Joe Pesci, dying in prison. Not normally something that I'd care about, but the article has a couple of bits that seem to have been written by David Chase. Specifically:
[S]he called her husband a ruthless thug who abused his family, broke the mob's code of ethics and even cheated his daughter at tic-tac-toe.

There's got to be a name for a sentence like that where there's something funny about it but you can't quite put your finger on what, or why. They later add:
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing," she said. "I was shocked, nauseated, disgusted. It was Father's Day. His sister and mother were coming over for a barbecue.
"What was I supposed to say? 'Albert just buried the Spilotros last night so we can't barbecue today.' "

It's really not hard at all to imagine Carmella saying that.

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

I'm Just Sayin'

This was a surprise to me. I'm not sure it's out in Europe yet, though. It might be out before Xmas...

Waldo's Not Here If I Can Help It

Apparently this week in Banned Books Week. Celebrate by picking a book from the 100 Most Frequently Challeged Books list and readining it in public, maybe.

Actually, I've read less of that list than I'd expect. I was glad to see Slaughter House 5 on there, because if it wasn't the only other books that I've read are, errrm, James and the Giant Peach and Where's Waldo.

James and the Giant Peach I get. James climbs in a hole in a giant peach and talks to enormous bugs while flying around and having adventures, it's clearly a drugs metaphor and couldn't be more so if it was called James Takes A Shit Load of Acid.

Where's Waldo, I don't get, though. Unless red and white striped jerseys are a threat to the American Way of Life. Apparently the usual reason given is that in a picture (some pictures?) there is a topless sunbather. So naturally I've tried to find a pic of this for your delectation, but my Google skills are getting rusty and I can't find one. What I did find was an article on sexuality myths, though, with this priceless paragraph:
The American Family Association in Florida forced the passage of an ordinance banning nude sunbathing on a beach near Cape Canaveral with the explanation, "It will allow you and your family to walk without fear of being offended, or worse, physically attacked by nude or partially nude persons." Beware, beware of the naked man.

Good advice indeed.

Monday, 26 September 2005

Neologism: Bonstingo!

The BBC website has a cute little article on very specific word in other languages. You know, how Germans have a word for schadenfreude, that sort of thing. Apparently someone's gone through several dictionaries to right a whole book on them. Looks like fun to be honest.

I guess on some level we expect these odd words to tell us something about other cultures, especially if it's something that's happened enough that you need a word for it. Like the old canard about eskimos and how many words for snow they have. Apparently this is called the Sapir Whorf Thesis, though to me that sounds like a device used on Star Trek: TNG to escape an intelligent gas cloud.

Anyway they mention that Germans have "Backpfeifengesicht - a face that cries out for a fist in it". I'm not sure there is an English equivalent of this, which is a pity because it looks like it could be a useful word. So I have recommendation in homage to the BBC article and it's this: Bonstingo. The bonus here is that it has a nuance of insufferable smugness on the face's part, too...

UPDATE: Language Log offers a little debunkage. Particularly that the Malay word for "the space between the teeth" is actually "gap-toothed" and, therefore, totally unremarkable. Although at the weekend I may use "razbliuto" in a sentence even if I know it comes from The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Friday, 23 September 2005

What's Wrong With Being Sexy?

David: They said the album cover is a bit sexist.
Nigel: Well, so what? What's wrong with being sexy?
Bobbi Flekman: Ian, you put a greased naked woman on all fours, with a dog collar around her neck and a leash, and a man's arm extended out up to here holding the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it - you don't find that offensive? You don't find that sexist?
Ian: Well you should have seen the cover they wanted to do.

Oliver Wang, the man they call O-Dub, has a new gig over at MSN. Naturally it's a music blog. His old gigs, by the way, are still going and include the peerless Soul & Hip-Hop MP3 blog Soul Sides and the ever interesting more general blog Poplicks.

Anyway, in a recent post he's discovered the Museum of Bad Album Covers by way of annoucing a hope to do a post on sexy album covers in the near future. He links to a couple of places where others have attempted to list their favourites. One of those links includes a place called Bullz Eye. When, though, their top ten list places the notoriously shit cover for Roxy Music's Country Life at number 10 you just know you are dealing with a site that doesn't know the difference between sexy and, heh heh, pictures of boobies. Just looking at the list you have to wonder about the average age of the contributors: I'd say about 14 but could also believe 35 and still living in their parents' basement.

Thursday, 22 September 2005

I Don't Often Get A Chance To Say This But...

Go Donny, Go Donny, Go Donny Go Go Go!
Though Pearce should surely sympathise with anyone who misses a penalty he cannot really have expected the top three in his shoot-out order - Darius Vassell, Antoine Sibierski and Richard Dunne - to fail to beat a stand-in goalkeeper playing his first first-team game in England.

Wednesday, 21 September 2005


You would think and article that has the headline "Ass Backwards" and the sub-head "The media's silence about rampant anal sex" would be quite fun, but as it is, it's a little dry. Although this bit raised an eyebrow:
Talking to your kids about oral sex is the easy part. If you're going to be frank about the most dangerous widespread activity revealed in the survey, you're looking at the wrong end of the digestive tract.

Trouble is, now I've got that old Oxo Tower review stuck in my head...


I was all ready to try and trademark "mid-life goatee" until I found out there was a prior usage.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Arrr (gh)!

Apparently Monday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day and I spent it suffering from food poisoning... Anyway, according to the three pirate name generators linked to by Making Light my pirate names are:
Wilhelm The Dense,
Red Sam Rackham, or
Noseless Jim Dawkins

It's Not Knives That Stab People

[D]octors are calling for a ban on long pointed kitchen knives to reduce deaths from stabbing.

From the BBC Website. It's getting to be that Doctors will call for the banning of anything if it gets them on the news. Maybe that's what should be banned. There does seem to be a serious point here, though it is undermined by the third paragraph of the story:
They argued many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.

Sort of suggesting the banning knives wont stop attacks happening, just make the injuries different...

Thursday, 15 September 2005


There is probably a name for it. You know when you have to add a word to an odd object to distinguish it from a new one, like ice skates where skates was sufficient until roller skates appeared. Retro-something, I'm guessing. The extra words suggest that there's another something out there, like the ballpoint in ballpoint pen tells you there's other types of pens.

With that in mind I liked this photo from Chris C Mooney's blog. That's right "Earth Based Spirituality". It suggests that somewhere else in the shop there are "Non-Earth Based Spirituality" books and that there's enough of them that they need an extra section. Maybe it's me, though, but isn't "Non-Earth Based Spirituality" an oxymoron?

Subversive Book Covers: Return of The Knob Gag

After You've Blown It subtitled "Reconnecting with God and Others" has a startlingly literal cover, though it seems the enormous penis is a cliff in other versions...

Via Boing Boing, who call it unintentional. Given that opposite the cock there's what looks like a chin and mouth it can't possibly be unintentional on the designer's part.

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Of Course, I Get All My News From The Daily Show...

That's right, the two week lead-time for the comics pages is up. Let the joint Doonesbury/ Boondocks smackdown commence.


A while ago I pointed out an article where it claimed free Internet access was giving Americans reasons to be inappropriately rude. According to Vince Keenan there's now a Verizon advert that targets that very demographic.

Instant Improvement

The Flangitizer converts all your hard work blogging into to complete nonsense. I'm quite tempted to rename my blog "Flapbla Wow BLA Bing Ling Oodle" for a while... But... nah!

Friday, 9 September 2005

A Little Something For The Weekend

Via Robot Wisdom: Well made, well presented and fiendishly addictive Table Tennis game.


Boing Boing bring news, and pics, of Anhauser-Busch's help for flood victims. Water in a can.

It's probably got more taste than their usual product...

Tuesday, 6 September 2005

Come All Ye

Amidst all their tireless coverage of Katrina, Making Light somehow find time to take a fun look at the conventions of English Folk Songs and the dire warnings contained therein:
Avoid situations where the obvious rhyme-word is “maidenhead.”

If you look at the calendar and discover it’s May, stay home.

If you are a young lady do not allow young men into your garden. Or let them steal your thyme. Or agree to handle their ramrods while they’re hunting the bonny brown hare. Cuckoo’s nests are right out. And never stand sae the back o’ yer dress is up agin the wa’ (for if ye do ye may safely say yer thing-a-ma-jig’s awa’).

If you’re a brunette, give up.

Not that being a blonde will improve the odds much.

If a former significant other turns up unexpectedly after a long absence, don’t throw yourself into his/her arms right away.

That goes double if they refuse to eat anything.

Triple if they turn up at night and want you to leave with them immediately.

There's more there. Some of them do have you wondering just how specific the reference is to a song, but that's all in the fun of it. The commentors contributions are also worth the time.

Monday, 5 September 2005

Random Jam Session Photos

Jamming!  Hey this guitar almost hides my belly!Posted by Picasa

A Little Star. Just above the Three Lions.Posted by Picasa

Peter, Bernd and Me just trippin'. Posted by Picasa

Damn B7. From left, that's Peter, Martin, Peter, some Drummer and Me. Posted by Picasa

The Big Jam Session Last Saturday

OK, so my reputation as a raving ego-maniac stage whore was cemented if nothing else.

It was mostly to the good. I was, undoubtably, just a little too much full-on for the early part of the Jam but my justification was I wanted to get the crowd interested. I ripped off the Hayseed Dixies' "Do you like Bush?" intro to nobody's amusement but my own, though I think one or two at the back got it.

I had a fairly good crack at Muddy Waters' "Nineteen Years Old" when a slow blues was played. I was, mostly, restrained and when the two verses had run there course Peter got up and did something else instead, so that saved me running through all the other slow blues I could remember. I know Jam Session are supposed to be semi-endless noodling, but sometimes I'd be happy with "verse, solo, verse, end" as a structure and leave it at that. Which is why my best moment was, again, Dead Drunk and Naked. I start, I sing, I make my point and stop. This time it had a decent build up as more band filtered in during the song. Actually the unfortuate thing here was I had nothing to follow it up with. I quite fancied Mr. Bad Example, but I didn't think I my time-keeping would hold through all of that, so the mood kind of fizzled while the band found something else to play.

I did manage a sly version of Jacques Brel's Next, later, to a tango, apparently it worked.

A Djembe player, Lamin, turned up for the first time so there were quite a few extendend percussion based work outs. These made a change from the usual jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll template and were a crowd favourite, I think. I also seem to remember I snuck my way in for some of that, too, with some Bo Diddley and Woody Guthrie's Hoodoo Voodoo plus, if I remember correctly, a verse of Living for The City.

Trouble, normally an easy song to blast through, flopped and died quite horribly, though. Again "verse solo verse solo end" would have suited it but it was just flabby all round and never really took off in the way that it can. I may have to retire it for a bit (like it's cousin Hootchie Cootchie Man) until I feel it can be brought back with some dignity.

One last highlight late on was Klaus, the night's main drummer, playing Suzie Q on guitar while Peter did Set Them Free over it and I added wild-man backing vocals. At some point I started doing Papa Was A Rolling Stone which was a slightly odd choice, but fun never-the-less. A nice capper, really.

Thursday, 1 September 2005

The Hanks

My brother's started up a blog to let you know where the Country band he's part of is playing in the future (and, if you check out the archive, the past, too, I guess).


"When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly half way between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong."

Richard Dawkins in The Guardian pointing out that in the Intelligent Design debate both sides are not equal.