Sunday, 30 September 2007

Short Shameful Confession

I saw a poster ad for a magazine featuring an interview with French environmental campaigner Nicolas Hulot, and I was just wondering if he was in anyway related to ... when I remembered that the M. Hulot from the Jacques Tati films is a fictional character.

Monsieur Hulot -- no relation

The meme that ate the Earth

Spell check

For what common word could this be an alternative spelling:

Ghoughbteighpteau? That's p as in hiccough, o as in though, t as in debt, a as in neighbour, t as in ptomaine, o as in bureau.

Highlight the empty space for the answer, but not before you've had a go.
Clue: think of Shaw's method of spelling the word fish as GHOTI.

Nicked from The Guardian.

More nicked stuff

Babz Bitchin had this adorable pocket emo. Make your own, and maybe yours can dream longingly about being friends with mine but never actually get the courage up to take the first step. I'll put him in the sidebar after the weekend, possibly.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Laugh Out Loud Cats

The prolific Adam Koford, proprietor of the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats blog Hobotopia, is taking votes on whether the Pip Fan Club should include a lapel pin, a sticker or a patch. I take it you're all prospective members, so get over there to vote right now. Lapel pin, my own classy choice, is currently leading the field.

And here's a recent cartoon, which he's perfectly happy for me to post, it says here.

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats No. 328

Robert Wyatt on OGWT

Since I'm only in the mood for nickin stuff from other people's sites today, here's the extraordinary 1983 TV appearance by Robert Wyatt singing Elvis Costello's Shipbuilding, a song inspired by the Falklands War of the year before.

Wyatt, one of Britain's most famous unknown musicians, is admired by just about everybody, and has worked with most of them. He took this song to Number 35. He's in a wheelchair because he got pissed and fell out of a window in 1973.

You can see Costello's own version of the song if you click through to the Tube of You. They're too different creatures: Costello scathing and angry, Wyatt plaintive and resigned. I feel his approach suits the song better. I'm not sure about the accent, though. The song should be sing in an accent from Belfast, Glasgow or Tyneside.

Piggie piccie

Too cute. Posted by Don.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Economist eat yer heart out

British Airways blocks Boing Boing - Boing Boing
BA is probably using one of the censorware companies like SmartFilter, who also supply the censorship technology to governments in countries like Syria and the United Arab Emirates. SmartFilter's business model is to fill sleazy boiler-rooms with prudish unemployable drones who spend all day clicking on web-pages and classifying them based on whether they'll offend the delicate sensibilities of the world's tyrants.

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Thursday, 27 September 2007

Dying to find out

The most important experiment that’s never been done is to take fMRI or PET scans of people as they die; either those who really do go on to die, or those who suffer clinical death but are resuscitated. If this were done we would be able to test theories about how NDEs and mystical experiences are generated in the dying brain, and answer questions about the timing of the experiences. Perhaps even this would not resolve the final question once and for all, but it would certainly bring us a lot closer to knowing what happens when we die.

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The only blog covering this area

Talk about yer niche blogging. The Lonely Candidate is gathering examples of election bumf which follows the formula, "X is the only candidate who blahdeblah". Some examples from the first page:

with no other commitments (!)
who has earned a post-doctoral degree etc
to go speak to the NEA
with the courage to state that obvious fact
with a contract

I don't know what it proves. But they all seem to be guilty of it.

Streets of London (gawd)

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - music: London Calling: a musical map of the city
Using Google maps, the Guardian Unlimited Music team has marked out some more famous places and streets that crop up in the music of Blur, the Rolling Stones, Akira the Don and a couple dozen other bands and artists. Click around below to travel to, for example, the Joiners Arms with Bloc Party or the Clash's Hammersmith Palais (RIP).

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Sassy dang kids

Google Launches 'The Google' For Older Adults | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
The popular search engine Google announced plans Friday to launch a new site,, to appeal to older adults not able to navigate the original website's single text field and two clearly marked buttons.

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Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Really don't know clouds

Speaking of cover versions of Joni Mitchell songs, as I was not so long ago, did you know there have been 2,387 covers recorded of 136 of her songs, by 1,855 different recording artists? And what's more, this being the Geek-O-Net, they're all collected together in one place?

Well, not the songs, obviously, since it is her own website and it's a fair bet some or many of them will be desperately dire. Still, who knew cool musicians could find houseroom for such anorakey pursuits? And when I tell you you can search the lists by song, by artist and by the frequency of coveration, I know you're going to curse me for the loss of a whole afternoon goofing off.

Here are the Top Ten songs of Joni Mitchell covered by other people:

Both Sides Now (545 times)
Big Yellow Taxi (200)
Woodstock (160)
River (133)
The Circle Game (131)
A Case Of You (106)
Chelsea Morning (76)
Urge For Going (55)
All I Want (52)
Carey (46)

Quite a gap there between first and second place, although I'm surprised anyone would want to cover BYT at all. But Monty Alexander thought he would give it a go, as did Linda Barbarino, Scottish shout-rockers Big Country, Cher, Captain Smartypants, Counting Crows, Bob Dylan (who he? -- Ed.), Percy Faith, Green Day, Klaus Niegratscha and the Northeastern University Downbeats.

The top spot is a more understandable choice for the coverationists, since it's actually a song. Nevertheless as well as top talents like Chet Atkins, Paul Anka, Cilla Black, Glenn Campbell, Natalie Cole and most notably Judy Collins, it's also been covered by the following narrow escapees from the clutches of musical fame:

Babs, Alice and Titti
Morty Baumann
Julie Bonk
Brother Love Canal
Ayshea Brough (shout-out to Seventies era British lovelorn boys)
Max Bygraves
Randy Cannon
Sharon Cuneta
Blossom Dearie
Ken Dodd
Dust & Ashes
Eishu (gezundheit!)

and many more.

Great site, with lots to while away the hours.

Dearest, dear sweet Stephen writes to me

Stephen Fry has a blog. It only has one post so far, but it's a whopper. On and on and on and on he goes, about Smart Phones.

If you're waiting for the punchline, there isn't one. How do you think I feel?

Here's a picture of the bendy-nosed git finest actor of his generation.

Repent be4 its two laight

It probably won't surprise you to learn that the gummint is patrolling the Cyberweb looking for those pesky terrorists. What may well surprise you is that the techniques they're using could catch you in the trap, should you happen to have an unusual writing stylee.

According to the National Science Foundation, the AI lab at the University of Arizona has created a thing called, nerdily enough, Dark Web. The job of the project is to scour the Interblogs looking for terrorist messages.

All well and good, but what about all the messages those clever devils are posting on sites other than And what if they're posting anonymously?

No problem. Take a look:

One of the tools developed by Dark Web is a technique called Writeprint, which automatically extracts thousands of multilingual, structural, and semantic features to determine who is creating 'anonymous' content online. Writeprint can look at a posting on an online bulletin board, for example, and compare it with writings found elsewhere on the Internet. By analyzing these certain features, it can determine with more than 95 percent accuracy if the author has produced other content in the past. The system can then alert analysts when the same author produces new content, as well as where on the Internet the content is being copied, linked to or discussed.
In other words, the sort of textual analysis that's so far been unable to prove conclusively whether the plays of Shakespeare were written by Francis Bacon or Kit Marlowe is now to be rolled out to foil the terrorists and their dastardly plans.

And how this affects you is simple: what if, without knowing it, you have the word-stylings of some known terrorist? What if your foibles happen to coincide with the foibles of some warrior of Allah -- like an over-fondness for the word foibles, for example? You're in trouble then, aren't you? And who do you think is going to save you then? So when the door crashes in at four in the morning, and a SWAT team hustles you into a van, a straitjacket and a set of noise-cancelling headphones, maybe then you'll get out of the habit of using obviously three times in one paragraph, spelling surprise suprise, and constantly confusing your for you're.

Don't say you haven't been warned.

* the title of this post is my attempt to adopt a distinctive and not at all jihadi-like word-pattern. Though on reflection I may now risk being hauled off to Gitmo for being Prince.

Keeping it safe for the kids

Despite being a well-known media personality in real life (you wish) I've always been extremely reticent about posting identifying information online. And what goes for moi goes tenfold for my kids, who don't even keep the same pseudonym from one year to the next.

And if you think that's so not Web 2.0, so be it. Here's a post that just confirms that I was right all along.

It leads to a petition calling on the Google-owned service Orkut to stand up and take its responsibilities seriously. Basically by stopping people who steal kiddie images and set up fake quasi-paedo profiles using them. Yeah, I know Orkut is trailing the Book of Face and the Space of My in all world markets except (oddly) Brazil (true fack BTW) but that doesn't mean you have to let YOUR OWN standards slip just to hang onto members. What are they afraid of, that all the freaks will decamp to some other social networking site?

So sign up if you like. I have more cavils about online petitions than the RL kind, but YMMV. More important is to make sure you use the Tubes safely at least to the extent of not fucking with the lives of those who depend on you.

Boy Nine and Girl Thirteen have their own blogs now, which are there only to show to classmates, and in Boy Nine's case not even that, I suspect. You know what copycats sib IIs are. I refuse to teach them that the Blogoweb is a total freakshow snakepit murderdome, because they frankly don't need any more things to be afraid of in life. And because it isn't. But I have tried to teach them the lesson I failed to take on board myself all those years ago (it was back in the last century, I don't have time to explain, it's nearly time for my nap) about how to become and remain a wispy imagined pseudo-presence.

I hope all you other presences out there will do the same with your kids. Until they're old enough to fuck up for themselves, at least. That's the most we can do, and also the least.

(via UV's shared items)

Tennis the loneliest number

If you're at all interested in tennis, this should improve your game. I know it did mine.

Although if you happen to be a man, do try to be a little less gay than Rafi, could you? I'm not saying anything, all I'm saying is I think it would be sad if my Ken Rosewall thing were to be lost to the world forever on a mere whim of fashion, that's all.

Things get tangled up with things, the centre cannot hold

I just the other day got... an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.
You know why that poor man had such an experience? Because the Internet is a series of tubes, and you all know (Evening, ladies!) how fickle tubes can be.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


These ad images say all there is to say about Lego. I can't imagine a better campaign, aimed at adults of course. Those awkward cornery blocks, and those beautiful shadows, bring a lump to my throat as I'm typing this, because Boy Nine is already, oh so fucking soon, almost but not quite old enough to put his Lego away. If not today, then tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then five minutes after that.

And so it goes.

Never see that recipe again

The new list of MacArthur Grant dudes has been released.


Damn no-good doing stuff guys! All thinkin an inventin! "Ooh, I'm workin on this, and I'm organisin that! Ooh!"

Stinkin Fund Foundation. Can't even get that right. No wonder someone left your cake out in the rain. Bastids.

Sex machine to all the chicks

More awesome catalogue pix here.

Monday, 24 September 2007

A thought for our November novelists

So, whose book is the biggest? The controversy will soon be put to rest, possibly for all time, when writer Richard Grossman installs his 3 million-page novel Breeze Avenue on a remote mountain in Kaha, Hawaii. Although it is unclear how many words Breeze Avenue comprises, an educated guess puts the count at over 1 billion.
If the book was some kind of page-turner, and you read each and every page in one minute flat, and you read straight for eight hours a day, five days a week, taking two weeks off to read something else, perhaps À la recherche, then it would take you no less than 25 years to finish Grossman's book. It took him 35 years to write it, which means he was writing at a rate of about a page every 90 seconds, on the same timetable.

Makes you wonder what Flaubert was doing all that time, doesn't it? To be fair he wasn't writing it alone. Though that news doesn't exactly make it more attractive.

Anyway, don't worry about where you're going to keep it, and how many Harry Potter volumes you'll have to shitcan to make room. Grossman plans to self-publish only six copies, one in a custom-built reading room and the other five down the car-boot sale to be sold in pieces online as works of art. If all goes according to plan, one virtual copy will be put online for your perusal, where it will take approximately as long to download as a Yahoo Mail welcome page.

Details here. Found via Kottke.

Death by guillotine

"Weidmann's execution was slated for June 17, and throngs had been pouring in from Paris and elsewhere for days, lending a holiday mood to the town. Permitted to stay open all night, bistros overflowed with customers as elated by the event as fans on the eve of a football match. The guillotine, which had normally done its deed inside the jail, was moved to the street outside, and proprietors of apartments above were cashing in by renting seats in their windows. From his cell Weidmann could hear loudspeakers blaring jazz interspersed with commentaries on his impending demise. ...

"Despite his years of experience, Desfourneaux [the executioner] was slow and jittery. Only after three tries did he manage to squeeze Weidmann's neck into the lunette, and he also fumbled with the lever. The operation lasted twelve seconds--twice the normal time. The crowd, which had been waiting in hushed anticipation, stormed the police barrier as the blade fell. Men shouted anti-German epithets; elegant ladies, avid for souvenirs, rushed to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood; and, for the rest of the day and far into the night, revelers chanted songs and swilled wine. ...

"Perched on rooftops, photographers recorded the tumult, and their pictures quickly appeared in newspapers around the world and became a staple of postcards. The fiasco shocked even the most intransigent proponents of capital punishment, and also cast doubt on the doctrine that public executions deterred crime. Fearing that future outbursts would damage France's image abroad, Premier Edouard Daladier decreed that guillotinings were henceforth to be conducted within prison enclosures."
From: Stanley Karnow, Paris in the Fifties, Three Rivers Press, Copyright 1997 by Stanley Karnow, pp. 161-162.
As carried by Delancey Place, a daily email of extracts from books and articles about this, that, the other and like whatever.

Your slip is showing

A blog devoted entirely to the rejection slip. Indulge in some schadenfreude. Like this one:

"I am only one, only one, only. Only one bein, one at the same time. Not two, not three, only one. Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour. Only one pair of eyes. Only one brain. Only one being. Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your MS three or four ties. Not even one time. Only one look, only one look is enough. Hardly one copy should sell here. Hardly one. Hardly one."

Details over there.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Dear, dear Stephen

A new series of QI started on the BBC last week. But you don't need to watch it on the box, not that many of you can anyway. It's already up on the Tube of You, uploaded by this righteous dude.

I'll be bookmarking him for the next six weeks or whatever, because I can no longer be arsed catching things on telly when they're actually on. The road to video on demand was cleared for some of us by BBC Radio online, and Listen Again, which allows you to hear radio programmes when you bloody well feel like it.

So there.

Marcel Marceau



to fill

a bit

of space.

Top of the news




Automatic Daily Mail headline generator. Better than real -- it's realistic.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

And there was LOLlight

Not A Blog™ » Blog Archive » LOLcat Bible Transcript
1In teh beginning, Invisible Man make univerz. 2Invisible Earth was invisible. 3Invisible Man say, “I can has light.” Gotz light. 4Light iz good, iz not dark. 5Invisible Man can has day and nite. It be furst.

6Invisible Man can has expanz. 7Below expanz iz water. It happen. 8Above expanz he call ’sky’. It get dark, then lite: nex day.

9Invisible Man can has water over here, no water over ther. It happen. 10Not water iz ‘land’. Water iz ’seas’. Iz good.

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Is it just me ...

... or is Colbert's run through adulation to the guest getting reeeeeaaaaally old?

According to his Mum ...

... resident commenter Jefe has some good news.

I'll leave him to fill youse in, in comments.

WEHT ...

... the death of Fidel Castro?

He's doing an Art Buchwald. Art for art's sake.

Standing up for standing out

Bullied student tickled pink by schoolmates' T-shirt campaign
Two Nova Scotia students are being praised across North America for the way they turned the tide against the bullies who picked on a fellow student for wearing pink.

The victim — a Grade 9 boy at Central Kings Rural High School in the small community of Cambridge — wore a pink polo shirt on his first day of school.

Bullies harassed the boy, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up, students said.

Two Grade 12 students — David Shepherd and Travis Price — heard the news and decided to take action.

"I just figured enough was enough," said Shepherd.

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Thursday, 20 September 2007


Here's my new email address. Memetastic or wot?

Actually it just feeds to the old one, so don't bother changing anything. I created it because I can.


Jason Kottke found these marvellous lyrics. Cole Porter, eat your heart out.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007


I've put a widget on my sidebar from BlogRush, which some peeps have been raving about. It's supposed to bring you targetted traffic. The whole spiel sounds a little bit like a get-rich-quick Ponzi scheme. We'll see. At least it's free. That's an important criterion in all matters.

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats

This stuff is way too good to languish in its lowely corner of massive celebrity allied to an adoption by Boing Boing, no less.

Give the guy a chance. Sub to his blog. Look at the pitchers! Them's luvly!

American dream : SiCKO : 'SiCKO' News : Open Letter to ABC's John Stossel ... from Julie Pierce, American SiCKO
Dear John,

My name is Julie Pierce. My husband was Tracy Pierce. I am featured in Michael Moore's documentary 'SiCKO.' In the movie, I share my deceased husband's story — his unsuccessful battle with our insurance company to receive what could have been life-saving treatments for kidney cancer.

I just read your Wall Street Journal article written on Sept. 13, 2007, titled "Sick Sob Stories." You begin by talking about Tracy's role in 'SiCKO,' and claim the bone marrow transplant denied by our insurer would not have saved him. You also accuse me of "sneering" over our situation.

In your 'reporting' of this story, you did not contact me, and you did not contact my husband's doctors. I cannot believe that a publication like the Wall Street Journal would print such an accusation without talking to anyone involved — especially in such a personal matter, which resulted in the death of my 37-year-old husband and the father of my child.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2007

To the cash registers!

Joni Mitchell reportedly has a new album, Shine, the first new material since about 1978 1998, on sale from the end of the week, whenever that is. WTF? Friday? Saturday? How're you supposed to know? My weeks don't end at all, they just keep coming!

I know, look it up ... wait a minute! Her own website says September 25! That's not the end of the week! That's well into next week!

Okay look, Charlie Brown, at least there's still time to find a way of getting someone to pay you for buying it.

Edited to add: Should you happen to go to the above-linkified website, pleasepleaseplease don't bother clicking on Herbie Hancock's so-called tribute. An album of ten covers of Joni Mitchell songs, it features six with vocals by artists such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Tina Turner (no really) and Leonard Cohen. And Ms. Mitchell herself.

It could not be more awful if Mr Hancock had set out to make an album called Ten Dreadful Travesties Concocted in an Effort to Blacken the Name of Joni Mitchell for All Generations, Now with Added Insufferability and Reinforced Shiteness!

It's true that JM has long had jazz leanings, and latterly, her voice become more adapted to the genre, has begun singing her own sings in more of a jazz stylee. But that's no reason for Herbie to overlay her words (sometimes) and melodies (barely) with all the upturned contents of his jazzman's Bagge of Tryckes: incessant and overpowering brushwork on the drums that sounds synthesised to me; tootling soprano sax at all opportunities; a voice track way down in the mix on a level with the other instruments, as if she weren't quitessentially a solo singer, and at no time in her life a member of an ensemble.

Hancock has failed to grasp anything about Joni other than the fact that her chord progressions and modulations were sometimes inspired by jazz musicians she'd heard (and as often not). He takes her to be one of them, when she's so much more. His choice of singers is either outrageous (Tina fucking Turner!) or boring (Luciana Souza should change her name to Snouza). He has no idea how to produce singers, anyway. And WTF are four instrumentals doing on a Joni Mitchell album?

Obviously, it's linked on her website because she gets a share of all the moolah he makes in sales. She's intimately linked to it in some way.

You're not. Steer clear of it at all costs.

Camp Jesus

Awesome video, mashing up tri-phop or whatever the kids are calling it, with some ancient Swedish Lutheran religious cult bollocks. Beautifully cut, by someone called Johan Söderberg, whose website points out he's worked for Robbie "Fatty" Williams, Beyonce and Madge, among others. I'm embedding it because I haven't done so in a whiley.

Couldn't make it up

The german newsmagasine DER SPIEGEL publishes a fearmongering article about ” Germany’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy ” calling for more surveillance of the population…

The article is illustrated by a DPA picture of a “note, written in Arabic, (that) was found near one of the two bombs planted on German trains in July. Investigators believe the bombs could have killed several hundred people.”

Scaaaryyy ! But hold on… the note is written in black but the words have been crossed out in blue. Weird aye ?

Apparently, nobody at DPA or DER SPIEGEL can be bothered to inform its readers about the meaning of the pictures they publish.

And apparently nobody in the german media has friends who can read Arabic. But that is hardly surprising in a magazine that counts right wing neo-con Hendryk M. Broder among its regular columnists.

The “terrorist note” is actually a shopping list : cheese, olives, bread…

As H.L. Mencken said “Never let plain facts get in the way of a good story”
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Web workers

These posing dudes are said to be painters on the Brooklyn Bridge, but I don't buy it. I think they're probably some kind of modern dance troupe. Just too well-arranged to be artisans.

The photo is by Eugene de Salignac, subject of a new book and an article in the Smithsonian magazine. Snippet:

It took many months and uncounted hours of trolling through archives storerooms, the Social Security index, Census reports and city records on births, deaths and employment to find the answer: the photographer was Eugene de Salignac, a municipal worker who took 20,000 photographs of modern Manhattan in the making. "It felt like a real discovery," Lorenzini says.

Still, what is known about de Salignac remains limited, and there are no known photographs of him as an adult. Born in Boston in 1861 and descended from French nobility, he married, fathered two children and, after separating from his wife in 1903, started working for the City of New York at age 42. He was the official photographer for the Department of Bridges from 1906 to 1934. At that point, his work—including original plate-glass negatives, corresponding logbooks in his elegant script and more than 100 volumes of vintage prints—began collecting dust in various basement storerooms. He died in 1943, at 82, unheralded.

But de Salignac is now having his day: the Museum of the City of New York is exhibiting his work through October 28, and Aperture has published a related book, New York Rises: Photographs by Eugene de Salignac, with essays by Lorenzini and photography scholar Kevin Moore.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Ads you can't afford to miss

Wizmark's Electronic Display | Innovative Solutions Oceania
Discover Wizmark, the interactive urinal communicator, its advertising you can't help but look at. An idea so original, it has everyone talking. Wizmark's interactive capabilities will get results, providing the perfect guerrilla marketing medium for men of all ages.

Targeting your audience can be half the battle in marketing. Given the venue of this marketing tool's location, it will undoubtedly be the vastly perfect media format for every male oriented product and promotion.

Pix a must-see.

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Sunday, 16 September 2007

Pressing questions

Language Log: Ask Language Log: The moist panties phenomenon
Greg Sabin wrote:

I'm writing to ask you about a certain word association quirk that seems to affect my wife and a few other women that I know. The issue centers around the word "moist." Both my wife and a close friend (also female) cannot stand the word, either written or spoken. (As you can imagine, this makes watching cooking shows rather difficult.) They are totally fine with "moisturizer," but cringe and shudder at "moist," or even "moisten." Another female friend has a similar aversion to "suckle."

So two questions: 1. Is this a phenomenon with which you are familiar? Have there been any studies about this type of "word aversion?" and 2. Is this a issue that is more likely to affect women (since I know of no men who have similar aversions)?
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Things U must know

Language Log: Evs
I thought you should know that at least as far as Los Angeles is concerned, "whatevs" is so six months ago. "Evs" is the vernacular now. Example: "He was like 'baby I didn't know she was your roommate' and I was like 'evs'."
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Sopranos, deffo

The best TV show of all time | Salon Arts & Entertainment
"The Sopranos" vs."The Wire": Two Salon critics duke it out over which series is the greatest ever.
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Go to Blogger Play and watch a slideshow of pix posted to Blogger blogs, then pick one out on a whim, if it catches your eye say, and post it to your own blog. Then it goes into Blogger Play and so the circle continues. I liked the look of this angel dude's steampunk wings. He's in Castel sant'Angelo in Rome, posted here just today.

World's spittiest tongue-twister

protest protestant protocol protoplasm prototype protract proud prove proverb proverbial provide providence province provincial provision provisional provocation provoke prow prowess prowl proximity proxy prude prudent prudential prune Prussian pry psalm pseud- psychedelic psychiatric psychic psychical psychoanalysis psychological psychology psychopath psychosis psychotherapy psychotic pterodactyl pub puberty public publican publication publicity publish publisher pucker pudding puddle puff puffin pug pugnacious pukka pull pulley pulmonary pulp pulpit pulsar pulse pulverize pummel pump pumpkin pun punch punctual punctuate punctuation puncture pundit pungent punish punishment punitive punk punt puny pup pupil puppet puppy purchase pure purgatory purge purify purist puritan puritanical purity purl purple purport purpose
Not really. It's from the OED quarterly update notes, commenting on a particularly rich section of the dico, from proter to purposive.


Dylan ad

I got Kate Winslett Cate Blanchett to do some publicity for moi.

Sumpn funny

You get 50 invites to give to other peeps when you sign up to Google, right?

So I've used about 20 to set up aliases and accounts for others, and about ten I've handed out. And yet every time I use a bunch (the correct collective noun) my total goes right back to 50 again.

So my question is: are the elves coming in by night and making shoes new Gmail account while I'm asleep?

And a nother thing: is it me or is everyone else's Gmail capacity shooting up skywards like some kind of rocket-propelled rocket? First it was 2300 KB, then it went up and up and up and up and now it's 2900, and who knows where it's all going to stop! Soon my Gmail account will have more storage capacity that the entire University of Oppenheimer had in the year 1945. More even that the whole Computing Department of the University of Turing in the year when he did that thing he did, you know the one.

So what's it all about?

Observational comedy, that's me.

Security cartoons

Check out these cartoons and you'll be rolling about the floor not laughing at all in no time.

Even the style of the drawing will have you not stretching your brain muscles in amazement.

Far better to check out these lame cartoons, if lame cartoons is kinda your thing, baby.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Moving in

Not too creepy, this post, compared to certain previous entries.

Here's a cool series of fotopix showing a bunch of bees (the correct collective noun) setting up hive in a bell jar which just happened to be lying around and, luckily for the fotografer, is essentially transparent.

Don't try this at home

“Retorno a la pubertad”
“Return to Puberty”

New York, 2005
Single-channel digital video
58 minutes
Color, Silent


Video close-up of my pubis in a static single shot, in which I depilate most of my pubic hair with a pair of tweezers continuously for one hour.

They say it's silent, but I'll bet they edited out all the yelps and whimpers.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Squealy girls take cover

The above giant spider web was constructed in Texas (where else?) by thousands of different spiders of various kinds, all working together like good little construction workers, except the spiders presumably turned up for the job and didn't require all that many cups of tea, milk and eight sugars ta.

It's a mammoth piece of work. However, it doesn't look to me to be too clever as an insect-trap, in my humble non-arachnoid opinion. Surely they'd have been better spreading out a little bit more?

Watch out, funnel web weavers, sac spiders, orb weavers, mesh web weavers, wolf spiders, pirate spiders, jumping spiders and low-jawed orb weavers (according to this report): evolution doesn't make concessions for your pretty architecture. It either works or it doesnt. No more slacking off, now, hear?

(official Tx entomology report)

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Land of the free

This is what happens in Washington DC when you're black and a minister waiting to get into public hearings by the White House's own tame general. The Rev Lennox Yearwood happened to be wearing a badge calling for love toward the people of Iraq (those that are left).

No wonder the fucking filth jumped on him mob-handed (six about thirteen cops standing by to handle the uppity minister). How dare he? Where does he think he is, the free world?

Freedom of our speech, not yours

AlterNet: Blogs: Video: Anti-War Minister Is Attacked, Gets Leg Broken for Trying to Enter Petraeus Hearing
Rev. Yearwood said as he was being released from the hospital to be taken to central booking, "The officers decided I was not going to get in Gen. Petreaus' hearing when they saw my button, which says 'I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.'"

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Gauteng Youth Choir

The director of South Africa's Gauteng Youth Choir has been on to me, asking if we could work together in December next year on something. We just got done working with one African choir from Congo and one choir from an African church here in Brussels, and I must say the prospect excites me greatly. I can imagine a Christmas concert, for example, where the two choirs do their joint and several thing in the second half, having sung something perfectly mainstream (the GYC specialises in the Baroque) in the first half.

But hey, I'm only one voice in six on the committee, and not the most important when it comes to musical choices.

Anyway, for you, and thanks to Tinus their director, I've put up three pieces he sent to me.

Kersliedjie [Carol] is by South African composer Lourens Fall, a setting of a poem by DJ Opperman. The poem describes the gifts that three South African people bring to the infant Christ.

Go le Mogote is by one of South Africa's best composers, Niel van der Watt, and his African Noon cycle.

Himne [Hymn] is by the South African composer Roelof Temmingh.

Listen to them or download for later here.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

How to score free filth

The subbies tell the story.

Monday, 10 September 2007


A nupdate to the Apple Mac fundies story from a while back.

The lesson learned:

Most companies would love to have the kind of dedicated customers that Apple has. But, what do you do when they love your product so much that they turn off other people. Seriously, I have very very negative feelings towards Macs right now. I went from thinking "I'll keep the Mac, and wait to give Vista a test drive before deciding what to buy down the road" to "I never want to give Apple another penny. I hope they go out of business so that these suckers can't get any more of their precious computers."

So true. True Believers of any sort are a pain in the arse. You wouldn't want one on your side in any fight.

End Times Corner

Did you know about the Human Wine Press? According to Revelations, as Jesus gathers up the unsaved, he places them in a giant wine press and squashes them into a sanguineous vino. Consequently, there’s going to be a “river of blood.” This presents some great opportunities for the prepared mind. How many “escape from prison” films have you seen where the cons evade detection by submerging in the river and breathing through a hollow reed? ‘Nuff said.

Alternately, depending on how deep and wide it will be, fast moving rivers of any fluid can be good transport when roads have become choked with charnel remains. And don’t forget that bloated dead bodies can be strung together as a makeshift raft.
A page full of good advice on How to Survive the Apocalypse.

First lines

"Something was up at Acruvia Manor, and suspicion
immediately fell on Gertie, the skulduggery maid."
From Murder at Acruvia Manor, a forthcoming unpublished work in progress not really.

From the University of Duh

The Associated Press: Study Affirms Rocks Stars Do Die Younger
Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University, whose report appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, studied a sample of North American and British rock and pop stars and concluded they are more than twice as likely to die a premature death as ordinary citizens of the same age.
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"Big in every way" | Salon Life
John McEnroe, tennis player and commentator: "Net disaster"

1980 TV special with Luciano Pavarotti: After he heard me sing, he decided we should do our comedy bit on the tennis court instead. He tried to jump the net and fell flat on his face.

From "You Cannot Be Serious," by John McEnroe with James Kaplan (G.P. Putnam's, 2002)

Much more inappropriate commentitude at the link
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Sunday, 9 September 2007

Also, meet the Flintstones

Here's a killer offer from Chick Publications, who despite what it sounds like, is a Christian publisher.

An author tour to beat all author tours! Check out the website:

Imagine the book signing: "Could you just put, 'Dear Peter, This one is okay, let him in'"?

Here's a link to some Chick madness. Want to know why the dinosaurs died out? Because people were making them into burgers! It's true. God says so, and He was there!

Yes, I do realise this is shooting fish in a barrel, and yes, I'm suitably ashamed of myself.

PS: Scroll down the page (if you can bear it) and see some familiar hook-nosed Jews. A popular portrayal in some quarters.

Great minds


If Dumas, Poe, and Thomas Mann had collaborated on a book, what would it have been? The Man in the Iron Masque of the Red Death in Venice, of course.
Sound familiar? It ought to. Ah said it ought to

Sad non-story

The story behind this picture of Timon is a hoax, sadly. Too bad, because the original news was far more true to our narrative of the meerkat, even if it wasn't true as such.

But here's something that's not sad, and entirely true: Meerkat is an Afrikaans word, though its meaning is not "lake cat" as you might think. In Dutch, the creature is called a "stokstaartje" -- or "little stick-tail". Cute or wot?

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Bush almost killed by terror comedians, only not

A fake motorcade dressed up to look Canadian (and therefore harmless) was mistakenly admitted to the security ring of steel surrounding US president George W. Mush this week in Sydney, where he was attending some conference or other, who cares?

The fake motorcade contained a bloke dressed up as an Osama look-alike (photo), with staff carrying passes with the clear mention "Insecurity" (photo). Despite this they were waved through by police until they reached the penultimate level before entering the president's own personal aura, when they decided the prank had gone far enough.

They were, as you probably know by now, TV comedians from the popular satire show The Chaser's War on Everything. They have been charged, and the police chief of Sydney said he was "angry" -- because his men might perhaps have been forced to shoot them dead London Underground-style, causing deeply traumatised firearms officers to be forced to go off on a long holiday. Not that the police need much of an excuse to shoot people dead.

The stunt (the word drips with venom when pronounced by Chiefy) makes it abundantly clear yet again that most security measures in this ridiculous TWAT (The War Agin Terror) is nothing but theatre and has no security justification whatsoever.

Anyway, bloody funny, mates. Here is a video from the news on the incident. And here is a segment from the show itself. YouTube has umpteen videos from the show in general, and it's all good stuff, as hours of my lost time can testify.

May Contain Nuts contains nuts once more

I just posted a little story to the dormant multiblog May Contain Nuts, which I'll be able to do more easily now I'm using ScribeFire, a terrific help if you have more than one blog and want to post to all from the same place.

If you were involved in the previous incarnation (UKWYA), feel free to start up again. I'll be posting wacky stories in link form, usually, and saving my home-spun comedy stylings for this blog, The Bulletin and of course The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I'll have to make a new blogroll for contributors, who have to a man abandoned their old blogs and started new ones. That's the kinda crazy wacky mixed-up nutty kidz we are. Okay, not kidz.

If you have a story for MCN, send it to That's a real address. Just remember:

Four nuts, not three
That's the way to contact me.
Four nuts, not two
Is all you have to do.
Four nuts, not five
And everyone will thrive.
Yay nuts!

There now, that isn't too complicated, is it?

Tauba Auerbach

Lots more letters to look at.

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Who this hunk with the bedroom eyes?


If you ask me, the refund by Steve Jobs of $100 to all those premature ejaculators "early adopters" who bought the iPhone on its release is a subliminal message of the utmost capitalist contempt.

"Here you are, you pop-eyed gullible fools," Jobs is saying. "This is proof that I can get you to pay ridiculous inflated prices just by asking, and to show you how much your money means to me, have some of it back. " The idiots will get down on their bellies in abject gratitude, grasping the C-note in their sweaty fists, and wonder which of Jobs' toys they can spend his bounty on next.

I've declined to provide any links to any Apple products in this poast, thus depriving them of that massive publicity opportunity. So there.

Backing Boris

Some Grauniad pipsqueak is complaining that Bonking Boris is using London Calling, a song by The Clashers or something, as his campaign anthem. Bloody upstart. I shall use his whiney little article as an excuse to publish a fine photo of a very randy buffoon fine politician indeed.

Henin update

All right, I admit it. I throw myself on the mercy of the court. I put my hands up: I was wrong.

It was never likely to go to three sets. A tie-break 7-2 in the first set to make it 7-6 Henin, then a comfortable 6-4 in the second.

So that's Serena, then Venus. Any more Williamseses out there?

Court, geddit? Mercy of the court? See what I did there?

Friday, 7 September 2007

What the feline?

Here's a nice picture of a cat that will challenge Miz UV's very reason for existing:


The clarifications given at the site make things worse. Not always: "Hind leg = rear limb" apparently.

So that's one point to accuracy.

Still, what the fuck is that ear all about? What kind of cat walks left-front left-rear?

And who knew cats had lips?

I think it should be renamed "MorphoLOLogy of a cat".

Go Justine

In about an hour or so, or thereabouts, perhaps approximately.

Gotta love this little stick-insect of a World Number One. Her compatriot Kim Clijsters at least looked well-fed and muscular, with that thing she did with her legs. Henin looks more like a distance runner: emaciated. But her muscles must be like steel ropes. She wrapped up Serena and sent her home in a very bad mood, so bad that the Williams family started playing their stupid amateurish mind games. Tonight our time they'll send out the second wave, in the form of Venus. A formidable challenge. I'm predicting Justine will have a fight on her hands, which she will win, probably in three sets.

Well, you have to pick her, don't you? Who could ever love the Williams clan? Not me, not John McEnroe (who thinks Justine is the dog's) and not anyone with any soul.

Watch this space in the coming hours to see me go arse over tit and have to eat shit in the aftermath.

Oh well. That's tennis.

It's all about Me and Thee, O Lord

Following on with more comments lifted from other people's threads, this one from a debate on Pharyngula on Richard Dawkins reviewing a book in the TLS by Christopher Hitchens:

With apologies to Mark Twain - Christians look at this vast universe, a planet that's billions of years old, and this huge complex place in which we live, the history of man and beast (and all the "ridiculous" religions that went before them): and they conclude that it's all about them. That's somewhat like, proportionally, the top of the crust of paint on a skyscraper concluding that it is, in fact, the reason for the whole skyscraper.
I don't know which part is Twain, nor can I be arsed to find out, but it's uncommonly well put. It really does nail the narcissism involved in all religions that involve a belief that one is a member of the elect of God. The so-called Abrahamic ones, in other words.

Red in tooth and tooth

This the scariest thing I've seen recently, and once again I'm reminded how glad I am not to be some small fish-type dude. News has just reached us that the Moray eel has not only a set of fearsome jaws at the front, but another set of fearsomer jaws halfway down his throat. So he gets hold of you with his exterior visible chompers, and then as he holds you in his death-grip, his sekrit hidden gnashers come up his throatal region and bite you some more. Horrifying.

Not only does the site have X-rays and diagrams (though not my highly technical language, of course) it also has a Quicktime movie where you can see the effect in motion on a piece of calamari alla romana or eel equivalent.

Last time I go swimming off the coast of Moray, I can tell you.

Wall, paper -- who'd have thought?

I thought this wordsearch wallpaper was going to be a cool download, until upon investigation I found that it's a real wallpaper! Paper! for on the walls! WTF? Who ever heard of such a thing!!??!?

So okay now I'm going to have to find some way to schmooze and finagle Mrs. Grapes around to the idea that it would be great to paste sheets of paper to the walls we could all write on with a Magic Marker. "But dearest, playing the game subtly changes the decor as we go!"

Yeah, that'll work all right.

The Fonts

A bunch of new fonts (I love to look at fonts, for some reason) based on things like house-numbers, currency, ticket-stubs, railroad cars. I love Valuta, from Hungarian banknotes (why not?) as well as the one based on playing cards. I think Zen should blog using that one. Only $129.00 for one computer, kiddo. Gwan, you know you wanna.

I'd like to know more about the whole area of typeface design, but not while I have control of a website. If you think it's fugly and lame now, imagine if I had free rein with all those typefaces! Think Nicole Richie let loose in a warehouse of Pucci knock-offs.

Tragedy plus time

A poster to Usenet, this morning, on the death of Pavarotti:

"I feel bad for the Italian people. I was gutted last week when I lost a tenner."

Delicious mouthwatering treat

Screw cupcakes, how could you not fall for these new Japanese crackers? Now with added wasps!

Crunchy wasp chunks and filthy fingernails -- a winning combo!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

The thing I love

This is quite simply what I love about my adopted homeland of Blogovia: I'm posting to you about Jason Kottke the famous blogger (now back in the saddle) drawing my attention to some dude who has noticed a remarkable resemblance between the cover design of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, and the Nike tennis shoes worn by Andre Agassi in 1991.

Okay that's totally stupid, you're thinking.

But he's right! No way is that an accident. See for yourself.

And the thing about it that is the thing I love most about Blogovia is this: how could I ever have found something like that out before blogs? I couldn't've. Even Jason Kottke (he's a new daddy, you know, only not that new any more, so like maybe, dare I say it, the novelty has worn a little bit off, which we're not supposed to say but I think every father in the audience will agree with me) couldn't've.

The world with the blogosphere is like the world with the Internet, but split up into all the facets of an infinite polyhedronal prism, with each view seeing the world in a slightly different way, from a slightly different angle. I mean, my best blog pal, whose posts I'm always impatient to see, runs a blog on Cupcakes, Cats and Shooz. Who could have imagined such a thing would ever happen?

Sorry for gushing. I just think it's all so like wonderful sometimes?


Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - music: I sang with Pavarotti
Whether it's a sportsman like Pelé or a singer like Pavarotti, every now and then nature puts together a package that simply dominates the field. I used to sit with him on stage with my mouth agape and just marvel. He was a total singing machine, and he was phenomenally strong, the sort of man who could have lifted the car off you after an accident. He had a superhuman quality.

There's a story about him and Placido Domingo chatting after a concert that Domingo had conducted. Placido said, "it's wonderful to have this double career, being able to conduct and sing as well. Why don't you try it, Luciano?" And Pavarotti said, "What, with a voice like mine?"

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Breaking news

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Opera legend Pavarotti dies at 71
Opera legend Pavarotti dies at 71
Luciano Pavarotti
Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year
Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti has died at his home in the northern city of Modena, his manager has announced.

The singer, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, was 71.

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Tech news

So Steve Jobs has announced all that amazing Apple stuff.

Isn't that great? He really knows how to be a tech-announcing guy.

More blogging when we've had a chance to take it all in. Notice to all my non-tech friends: sorry if you're feeling a bit left out by all this. I'll get around to explaining it to the lower orders once my head has stopped spinning!11!!!LOL!!1!

UPDATE: Seriously though, best tech news in a million years: Google Reader now has search. How many times have you thought, now where did I see that interesting factoid? but you couldn't remember where? Now you can find it easy-peasy. GR Search will go back through the posts you've read in all your subscriptions -- including other peeps' Shared Items.

Oh, and it's got a back-button now, too. Suck on that, Jobsy!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Murder He Wrote

Well, you could never have figured out the ending to this murder mystery, without sneaking a look at the final page. But since it's a real-life murder, that was impossible.

Today, Polish crime-writer Krystian Bala was jailed for 25 years by a court in Wroclaw for a murder which he not only committed (presumably) but then went on to write about in his own novel, the best-selling Amok.

That's crazy enough, so that no TV detective series would dare to use it as a plot. It gets worse.

The tip-off was given to the police by an anonymous phone call five years after the killing. At that point they had no suspect and no motive for the murder of Dariusz Janiszewski, who had been tortured, tied up with a noose around his neck and thrown still alive into the River Oder. The case had been virtually shelved after six unproductive months.

Bala may have made that tip-off call himself, police think. Some mind game.

He offered to take a lie detector test, and then was said to have used breathing techniques to beat the polygraph. He is able to do such a thing because he's an accomplished diver and underwater photographer.

You couldn't make it up, right? But look: four days after the murder he tried selling a phone on the Internet, which turned out to be the victim's phone. Bala claimed he had found it.

Bala was apparently pathologically jealous of his estranged wife, with whom he suspected Janiszewski had been having an affair. At the trial, the court was told he had already begun gathering information on another man he also suspected of seeing his ex-wife.

Too many newspaper articles on this case to mention. Google News is your friend.

Popularest headline: Murder He Wrote.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

An Apple a day

Pssst! Wanna see some religious fundamentalists fizzing and sparking?

Post an excellent troll article about the disappointment of switching to a Mac. Check out the comments. Getcher venom here!

Teen sex show

"I have a really amazing vag[redacted]ina, and I felt selfish not sharing it with the world".

In response to "When did you have sex for the first time?"

From the Midwest Teen Sex Show, a great parody of erm teen sex shows. Not that I'd know anything about those.

"We're not gonna have kids, at least until I can drive."


Monday, 3 September 2007

Speaking of smoke and fire

Has anyone here been affected by the "viral storm"? Hundreds of thousands of PCs have been hijacked, it says here.

Google's Blogger site is being used by malicious hackers who are posting fake entries to some blogs.

The fake entries contain weblinks that lead to booby-trapped downloads that could infect a Windows PC.

If anybody ever spots what looks like a fake Grapes 2.0 post, please dschbsepdiu,z

Does anyone else smell smoke?

What is wrong with this picture?

The firemen in question are from the Havelte volunteer brigade in the Netherlands, and their story is that they were waiting for the gas company to come and shut off supply when they were snapped by a news photographer who was present, who then cheerfully put the picture on his site here.

That's where you can see how the fire turned out. As you might predict, but clearly the blokes in the picture didn't, the house burned to ashes. All part of the service, ma'am.

International Olympic Committee corrupt and clueless -- no change

Dutch IOC member Hein Verbruggen has criticised Amnesty International for "abusing" the Beijing Olympics to campaign for human rights.

I swear to fucking God I am not making this up. I quote from a statement in Dutch in De Morgen newspaper in Flanders, in which Verbuggen comments on Amnesty's claim that the IOC had tried to make China's award of the Games conditional on an improvement in human rights:

"That is a lie. The IOC never asked any such thing of the Chinese," he comments. But they did, he goes on, insist that the Chinese allow the press to report on the Games freely.

So, naughty Amnesty, then. To imagine that an international organisation might bring some pressure to bear on a totalitarian regime to bring about an improvement in human rights. What a shameful and shocking idea.

Sour Grapes says: Clearly, the only ones who should be opportunistically using the Games as a political campaign are the Chinese themselves. And anyone who thinks the IOC should be interfering in humanitarian matters instead of merely filling their pockets with bribes deserves all the opprobrium Mr. Verbruggen can heap on them.

Let Mr. Verbruggen's national committee know here that you understand who the bad guy is in this story. [Opens email message]

Sunday, 2 September 2007

First class rant

We are committed to making classical music more accessible | Classical and opera | Guardian Unlimited Music

August 30, 2007 6:43 PM

Whats all this bollocks about white middle-class people listening to classical music. Most white middle-class people wouldn't know what classical music was if it bit em on the arse anyway. Most white middle-class people are generally braindead, profit obssessed members or relations of families that used to be shit poor, but now, thanks to Milton Friedman, Frederich von Hayek and Margaret Thatcher, live in little mansions with perfect green lawns, have a car and 4 by 4 on the drive and annoy every poor fucker they encounter on their holidays abroad. Classical music for these fuck-wits is usually Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose albums they almost always leave 'as if by accident' on the coffee table to impress equally vacant middle-class neighbours, or, poor uneducated Polish itinerant labourers that are unfortunate enough to be working for the tossers. In the said same home one will also probably find albums by Vanessa Mae or, God forbid, Myleene Klass. These are 'Classic FM-ers'. There's nothing remotely 'classic' or, indeed, classy about these people. They wouldn't know their overture from their arsehole. They can only listen to 'choice selected slices' from great music, hence the 'The Greatest Classical Album in the World Ever Vol 50' garbage that adorns the shelves of most retailers of this finest quality shit. Lets get it straight, these fuckin 'money bunnies' are too wrapped up in themselves and the value of their properties to be deeply moved by anything artistic or remotely beautiful, even though they pretend to be.

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Saturday, 1 September 2007

Can't stop, show to do

This is a full-on shobiz weekend, with rehearsals Thursday and Friday evening, a rehearsal and performance tonight and a performance tomorrow afternoon. Something like 17-18 vocal ensembles of various sorts will join in the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) for a series of solo numbers (we're doing Rachmaninov) followed by an enormous World finale.

For more information see here, but forget about dropping by to catch the show. Both performances are sold out, baby.

Business opportunity

You could open a shop selling exotic Oriental designs in ceramic floor and wall decorations, and call it TileLand.

I tried to fit in sex tourism and ladyboys, but it didn't quite work.

Employment opportunities

This one made me laugh: a Job Day taking place in Brussels at the end of the month, at which companies set out their stalls while young people stroll around trying to figure out their career prospects (hint: whatever you think they are, you're wrong; you will end up doing something else). Here's the English version of the website. And the joke? Guests of honour is Justine Hénin, world number one women's tennis player (at the time of writing) and someone who hasn't worked a day in her life. What a terrible example to set for impressionable young minds.