Saturday, 29 March 2008

Heartfelt tribute

"Some people should be allowed to live forever."

Sylvia Kristel, Emmanuelle star, on former husband Hugo Claus, Flemish literary giant, who died last week.

I don't think I exaggerate when I say most of us would be pushed to get our current spouse to say something as nice as that, let alone our ex.

Tasting notes

Following on from last week's list of tasting terms, here are some new words to add to your wine vocabulary. Note: the same flavour vocabulary can easily be adapted to other drinks, foods and even perfumes. Terms listed last week are not repeated, enabling you to build this series up into a collection you can keep forever.

Brazil nuts, stone fruit, jam, roses, white pepper, pineapple, apple, flint, smoke, apricot pastry, ripe yellow plums, strawberries, vanilla, tea, chocolate, white peaches, red plums, dried yellow plums, nut puree, nougat, cedar, damp soil, petroleum, yellow fruit sorbet, black prune compote, fig paste, cocoa powder, reines claudes, currants, crème brulée, roasted nuts, maple syrup, black pepper, Eastern spices, dried apricots, green figs, cigar box, dried tobacco leaves, orange blossom, pear, orange peel, grapefruit, mango, Turkish fruit, red cherry preserve, Christmas cake, light tobacco, preserved fruits, raspberries, blackberries, Lebanese cedar, black tea, blueberries, animal smell, oregano.

A bumper crop, I'm sure you agree. How long can they keep this up!?

More tasting notes coming soon!

ETA: some new terms added from one of the other weekend papers. The more the merrier!

Things what I hate

"Operation currently prohibited by the disc".

Listen, I own the fucking disc, not the other way round. If I don't want to watch your stupid anti-piracy message, that's my business.

"You must be logged-in to comment".

All right, then you must come round here and give me a hand-job to have me read your worthless blog.

And the people who blog videos from there, thinking they've discovered something. I mean be honest, does the world really need a new source of album covers for Yes?

"To see your results invite 20 of your friends."

Facebook app developers are no better than spammers, only they make you do all the spamming yourself.


Professional networking site LinkedIn puts up a little flag next to your name every time it appears, just in case you still don't know who you are.

"X-Factor Audition

"Made by MaC"

No it wasn't fucking made by MaC. It was ripped off the TV by MaC and uploaded to YouTube. Martin Scorsese makes films, but that's not how he makes them, MaC, you thieving fucker. Oh, and your title-generator sucks Simon Cowell's cock.

And last but not least:

James Cunt, pictured yesterday

Music vids (YouTubular content)

Smoke on the Water

We Will Rock You

Without You (Pete Ham/Tom Evans)

My Heart Will Go On

Unchained Melody

O Holy Night

Corpse Factor

Nose Violin

Johnny Mathis impersonator does his throat in

Funniest Idol audition ever

The world's most valuable blogs

Here are the 25 most valuable blogs out there, according to some SWAG metric or other.

First point to make: how many of them do you read? Well? I can put my hand up to BoingBoing(11) (quite a lot but not all, because they have some screwy obsessions), Neatorama (19) and, er, that's it. I used to read Gawker (1), and I believe Lifehacker is of the same stable, so that partly counts. I once in a while am drawn to HuffPo (3), inevitably to be disappointed when it turns out that Harry Shearer, for example, has phoned it in.

Second point: this guy's 25th on the list. And he doesn't link to a single one of the blogs mentioned. Not one, despite linking being the absolute CNS of the web, and of blogging in particular. How childish is that?

Juggling with figures

McDonald's is not responsible for the way Americans eat. But the inescapable fact is that it serves an enormous number of them. The $21.6 billion company now feeds a record 27 million people every day, 1 million more every year since 2003.

McDonald's 24/7

Grapes 2.0 says: Of course, this being America, it could be there are actually only 3 million people, but they're eating nine times their share. Not that my readers are at all like those people. Those people over there. No sir.

How come nobody picks Lou Dobbs?

Friday, 28 March 2008

Short shameful confession

I can't help thinking the world's tallest man is starting to milk it.

Don't push your luck, buddy, know what I'm saying? You could wind up back playing basketball in herring boxes without topses.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Looking the part

Aussies love their pranks. These two reckon if you say you're the DJ, you can get in anywhere.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


A Monty Python Quiz

Score: 75% (9 out of 12)

1968 predicts 2008

40 Years in the Future

By James R. Berry

IT’S 8 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008, and you are headed for a business appointment 300 mi. away. You slide into your sleek, two-passenger air-cushion car, press a sequence of buttons and the national traffic computer notes your destination, figures out the current traffic situation and signals your car to slide out of the garage. Hands free, you sit back and begin to read the morning paper—which is flashed on a flat TV screen over the car’s dashboard. Tapping a button changes the page.

Modern Mechanix

Monday, 24 March 2008

Winnefuckinggoddambago Man

For some reason, Dethroner dragged out the old Winnebago salesman video again, and it's as funny now as it ever was. And guess what? The guy has his own Wikipedia entry.

The sound, incidentally, is NSFW

Sunday, 23 March 2008

My Name is Lisa

Twelve videos, following public voting, have been named as winners in this year's YouTube Video Awards. Most of them are pretty crap, but this one stands out, in the category Short Film. Like a good short story, it leaves a lot unsaid.

Tasting notes too

Just in case you thought I was completely off the wall with this post, here is a sample taken from this weekend's De Morgen magazine, which looks at four red wines, ten white wines and one rosé. The terms used are mentioned only once here (unless coupled with another): in the magazine several terms are used more than once.

Red wine:

violets, brambles, spices, cherry, blueberry, French oak, eucalyptus, cinnamon, mint, leather, woodland soil, musk, wild strawberry, redcurrant, cloves, gingerbread with glazed fruit, coffee and leather

White/rosé wine:

apricot, apple blossom, saffron, preserved lemon, mango-pit, ginger, petrol, honey, lychees, rose-water, ripe citrus, acacia honey, yellow peaches, butter, vanilla, Provençal peaches, nectarines, vanilla beans, cedar and oak, lightly tobacco-ey, tropical fruit, lactic touches, vanilla custard, peach marmalade, guava, papaya, gooseberry, rhubarb puree, sun-dried tomato, Conference pear, lily of the valley, passion fruit, green herbs, earthy notes, melon, lime, grass

In the same magazine, one page reviews two brands of perfume products using the following terms:

camomile, meadow grass, hay, sun-ripened fruit, green tomatoes, fresh-cut grass.


21 penetrating questions

A questionaire via Eden, which I agree to do because it's slightly more interesting than the usual, and because I fell like it, all right?

1. What was the last blog you left a comment on?

O'Tim's, on news of his press awards

2. Favorite black and white movie?

A Night at the Opera

3. What’s in your freezer right now?

Chicken stock, beef stock, fish sticks, bread, parsley, hot-dog buns, puff pastry squares

4. How many pillows do you have on your bed?

Two. One for each of us

5. Do you regularly share your bed with anyone?

Yes. Mrs. Grapes, two cats, one boy (9)

6. Do you sleep in Pajamas, undies, nude, or other?

T-shirt and jammy bottoms

7. If you won $50,000, what would you do with it?

Buy €10,000, if I could find a taker for the greenbacks

8. Something nice you did for someone today?

Nothing at all

9. Something bad you did to someone today?

Mocked him on Usenet

10. Hardest class you took in school?

Maths from about calculus on

11. Ever been in a car accident?


12. What is one food you won’t eat?

There's nothing I won't eat

13. Why?

It's what mouths are for

14. Would you ever eat dog meat?

The meat of a dead dog? Sure

15. What is something as a child you wanted to grow up to become, but didn’t?

French teacher

16. Name one place in the US you haven’t seen but want to?

I've seen all of the US I need, thanks

17. Name one place outside the US?

That I'd like to see? Petra in Jordan

18. Favorite smells?

See this list.

19. If you could pick any game show to compete on, which would it be?

Human Tetris

20. Where did you go on your last real vacation and who did you go with?

To Zeeland in the Netherlands, where we go every year, with my family

21. Your best birthday was for which age?

I don't think I've ever had a good birthday. I invariably enjoy other people's more.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Everything about me is now here. Instead of having several feeds from blogs, Google Reader, tumblelog, StumbleUpon and so on, it's all in one place.

Consolidate your own various feeds, read your friends' feeds all together in a feed reader, or read all your pals together in one place at the site.

This is going to be the way things go. Mark my words.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Tasting notes

The following is a list of handy tasting terms for use in describing wine or scent:


Green apples

Seedless grapes


Lemon oil

Cut grass



The feet of a 12-year-old girl splashing in a rock pool

Warm stones


A big fat fatty

Crushed revolution

Cat piss

An elderly lady's change-purse

That difficult second album

Bacon cooked by an Irishman

Old newspaper, in facsimile, to mark yours or a friend's birthdate


The last breath of a dying seal-pup

The Aegean Sea





Warm tar

Rude human parts


Short shameful confession

I don't really care who Abba's drummer was.

I didn't even know Abba had a drummer. Surely they were all just session guys?

Monday, 17 March 2008

Better than a rat's anus

Nazi comedy. No, don't run away. This is comedy gold. The line, "Are we the baddies?" will go down in the annals of Nazi comedy along with "Don't tell him, Pike" and "Yes you did, you invaded Poland".

Mitchell and Webb (for it was they) did this originally on the wireless, but in this case the TV adds something. And the ending is pure Monty Python.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

No Torture. No Exceptions



n most issues of the Washington Monthly, we favor articles that we hope will launch a debate. In this issue we seek to end one. The unifying message of the articles that follow is, simply, Stop. In the wake of September 11, the United States became a nation that practiced torture. Astonishingly—despite the repudiation of torture by experts and the revelations of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib—we remain one. As we go to press, President George W. Bush stands poised to veto a measure that would end all use of torture by the United States. His move, we suspect, will provoke only limited outcry. What once was shocking is now ordinary.

It is in the hopes of keeping the attention of the public, and that of our elected officials, on this subject that the writers of this collection of essays have put pen to paper. They include a former president, the speaker of the House, two former White House chiefs of staff, current and former senators, generals, admirals, intelligence officials, interrogators, and religious leaders. Some are Republicans, others are Democrats, and still others are neither. What they all agree on, however, is this: It was a profound moral and strategic mistake for the United States to abandon long-standing policies of humane treatment of enemy captives. We should return to the rule of law and cease all forms of torture, with no exceptions for any agency. And we should expect our presidential nominees to commit to this idea. —The Editors

No Torture. No Exceptions

Read all articles
(PDF format)

This can't be right

22 Jan van Eyck, Ghent altarpiece
(c1425-1433) St Bavo's Cathedral, Ghent
Getting there: easy

Using transparent layers of paint, bound by an oil medium, Jan van Eyck conjured up an almost hallucinatory facsimile of textures and surfaces. The sparkle of jewels, the hairs of a beard, the feathers of an angel's wing - in his work such things appear in a manner that still, nearly six centuries later, seems almost miraculous. This is one of the most enthralling achievements in the history of art.

D Eurostar to Brussels, then local train 23 Statue of Coatlícue (15th century) Aztec; Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, Mexico City Getting there: Bearable Her severed head replaced by two fanged serpents, her hands and feet transformed into claws, a necklace of severed hands and hearts, Coatlícue is at once the greatest of Aztec sculptures and the most fearsome. When this nightmarish work was dug up in the 18th century, it was nervously reburied. Coatlícue embodies the power of art to terrify.

  • Twelve hours non-stop by air

    The World's 50 Best Works of Art (and how to see them) - Telegraph

  • Twelve hours by plane from London to Ghent? Local train 23 to Mexico City? But why? The power of art to terrify? I'll say.

    Wednesday, 12 March 2008

    Literary criticism

    In August 1849, Charles Dickens published the latest instalment of his novel David Copperfield. The public, for the most part, reacted with the enthusiasm the work had come to expect:

    LoisLane210 (3 months ago)

    That's really cool.

    guitaoist (5 months ago)


    novemberxrain121 (9 months ago)

    Thanks so much for posting this!

    aceshakazu (9 months ago)

    i dont know what you just said

    bravemay (9 months ago)

    oh fcuk...freaky!

    Sheldonwh (8 months ago)

    Blah, blah. I don't believe any of this is factual.

    BlueMelon12 (5 months ago)

    lol yeah i also came to that conclusion eventually haha i was just a bit slow

    arbyf (5 months ago)

    what a load of shit

    AL5EZ (5 months ago)

    haha pathetic troll

    fluke67 (5 months ago)


    xGlowstickLove (2 months ago)

    Elleh I Dont Get It Now Um

    rcccy (7 hours ago)

    oooh thanks haha

    TheAvoidant (7 hours ago)

    thanks so much =D

    pedroremordimiento (7 hours ago)

    thank you so much

    MissBri4sho (7 hours ago)

    yay!!! now I can't wait for the next part to be up!!!!!!

    Grapes 2.0 would like to point out:

    All commenters and their comments are genuine.

    Not working it out

    America's great undiscovered old lyrics. A contestant in the last 12 of a major TV talent competition FORGETS THE FUCKING WORDS to a Beatles song. Never mind that he was trying to cover a cover version, which early in the clip he claims to be "familiar with".

    Why can't you have people being executed on these shows? Just now and then? I wouldn't necessarily be against the death penalty if people had like signed a waiver beforehand. Gordon Ramsay did it in the season of Hell's Kitchen just ending: he kicked a chef off the show in the middle of a service, summarily axed his ass without benefit of due process or anything.

    Why couldn't Simon Cowell do the same to this smirking little creep? If he doesn't have the axe-wielding hand of a Ramsay, what exactly is Simon Cowell for? Mild sarcasm?

    Monday, 10 March 2008

    The Grim Reader, erm Reaper

    Got rid of about 30 feeds from my Google Reader pile. Do I read them with alacrity? No.

    Do I see the title and think, must get round to that one of these days? Sometimes.

    Do I see the title and think Oh god not that stuff again! Yes.

    Did I subscribe because it seemed like a good idea? Yes.

    Was it? No.

    Does this have anything to do with you peeps? No. I didn't scrap any blogs made by peeps, only things like the New Yorker Books and Comment, and Freakonomics. I mean really, guys, we got the message, economics is super-sexy and
    interesting, STFU already.

    No human beings were hurt in the making of this blog poast. Which is nice.

    Sunday, 9 March 2008

    Ten blog addresses still available

    The following ten blog addresses were still available the last time I checked last night:

    3. -- all suggesting Blogger doesn't do much to protect its own name
    4. -- for a blog in which Tim Gunn takes care of teenagers arrived in New York from the sticks
    5. -- because there are no decency standards when it comes to blog names
    6. -- although no chance of getting Elvis or Einstein. It all depends how famous you weren't.
    7. -- being the thoughts and ruminations of Al Swearengen
    8. -- there really are no limits
    9. -- a nod to the blogtastic Stephen Fry, but in a nice way
    10. -- which clearly isn't
    Get 'em while they're hot.

    Big Brother for kiddies

    To Product Detailview.

    3172 Security Check-in

    Every single smuggler is caught at the security check-in. With a modern X-ray machine every item not allowed on board is detected. At the same time, the passengers have to pass the passenger check-in under the watchful eyes of the security staff. Only then can they start in their hard-earned vacation.


    MCN says: The little ones will have hours of innocent fun doing cavity searches, refusing the wrong people the right to fly, eyeing brown-skinned people with suspicion and detaining suspects for hours in the interrogation rooms because PLAYMOBIL PEOPLE CANNOT TAKE OFF THEIR SHOES.

    Guide to teh Internets

    Start here.

    Then carry on until you reach here.

    And there we have it.

    Bon voyage.

    Saturday, 8 March 2008

    Auf wiedersehen

    Is there life after Project Runway?

    The fourth season ended this week, for me yesterday on YouTube, and for those of you watching at home on Bravo, some hours earlier. The winner was one of the three worthy finalists, and quite honestly I'd have been just as happy whichever of them it might have been.

    The fourth season was exceptional in finishing with nobody you could hate. After the judges had dumped touchy Carmen, cold-fish Victorya and cry-baby Ricky, there wasn't even anyone you could even dislike. Stark contrast to previous seasons, when Wendy and Santino and Jeffrey provided more than enough fuel for animosity, with Jeffrey making things even worse by winning. This season of the US show may have been influenced by the more sedate and friendly Canadian version. At any rate it was a kinder, gentler PR, and all the better for it.

    Anyone who doesn't watch will be mystified, I suppose. Sure it's a reality show, with the additional built-in drama of a cast of creative divas, some of whom may or may not be flamboyant attention-seeking homosexuals. What's interesting about it, though, is the fact that even the rubbish designers on this show can actually make a garment in an afternoon and have it stay together as a model walks down the runway. Something most of us would be at a loss even to imagine, I bet.

    Casting begins for the fifth season this month, for taping from June. The quality of the entrants should diminish as time goes on, you would think, but it doesn't seem to have worked that way so far.

    Now all that remains is the season finale next week of Hell's Kitchen, pitting the cocky arrogant Rock (Rock likes to talk about Rock in the third person, just one of Rock's more annoying characteristics) against former nanny Bonnie, who has a disarmingly clear idea of her own limitations, and who delivered the money quote this week when her parents were brought in to greet the news of her qualification for the final: "I don't think I'm going to be a teacher any more, Dad," she wept.

    And then there's only the ghastly Project Catwalk, the second season of the UK version of the show. The first season had Liz Hurley in the Heidi Klum role, a wizened little orange Welshman trying hard to be the Simon Cowell of the judges but failing miserably because a Welsh accent makes you sound like a gnome, not the scourge of fashion wannabes, and the dull clerk-like Ben De Lisi in the Tim Gunn role. The second season has replaced Liz with Kelly Osborne, who has no talents at all, not even for standing on a mark and reciting some lines. The designers, too, are the dregs, clearly coming to the show with one idea and one idea only: to be cast as the obligatory larger-than-life character, or the genius you love to hate. None of them has any discernible talent for fashion, but like all British youth nowadays it seems, they are all fully conversant with what we require of reality-show contestants.

    A depressing prospect. Anybody know anything about Top Chef? Worth a look? Things are getting desperate here, folks.

    Creative bookshelf designs

    Vintage Shelf

    Vintage Shelf is an original shelf created by Jaren Goh Design for Munkii. A reminiscence of the classic design, embodied within a modern contemporary form. It brings back the classic design and fits it seamlessly into the modern homes of today. A unison of the past and the present.


    Life's pointless little pleasures

    1. Posting a comment to a video on YouTube. It's not like you ever go back to check on the response, is it? You just post into the void, and move on.
    2. Rating other people's comments. Since they'll never see them (see 1. above) what's the point?

    And yet we do it. The very idea of posting a reply to a comment made a year ago has an irresistable appeal to me. Feel free to give your own views in comments, in about 2012.

    Saturday, 1 March 2008


    Visit Grapestown, and help the population grow.