Sunday, 23 November 2008

70 Greatest Sentences

Esquire has published a list of the 70 greatest sentences from its 75 years of existence.

Most of them are indifferent as sentences, relying on context. One or two would be meh with a volume of context on either side. The very best is one which everyone thinks he knows:

But at three o'clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn't work--and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Pasting It Together," 1936

That’s profound. Another favourite is profound and important:

Negroes want to be treated like men: a perfectly straightforward statement, containing only seven words. -- James Baldwin, "Fifth Avenue, Uptown," 1960

And this one has no pretensions, but it does have something a great sentence must have -- a sublime economy:

Ah, Brandy, Misty, and Amanda, come out and sit on the veranda. -- Charles P. Pierce, "Two Strokes Back," 1999

Esquire's 70 Greatest Sentences - Esquire

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Saturday, 22 November 2008

LIFE: is a minestrone

You could spend decades sifting through the photo archive of Life magazine, which has just been opened up online by Google.

I’ve just picked one for now, of a woman in 1944 mourning the death of her mother in a massacre in her village by the Germans.


Butt Bandit caught at last

HASTINGS, NE - JUNE 24: An empty downtown stre...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Police have arrested a man suspected of leaving greasy, graphic imprints on the windows of stores, churches and schools in a small Nebraska town. A 35-year-old man was caught in the act by police early Wednesday morning, Cherry County Attorney Eric Scott said Friday. The man hasn't been charged yet, but authorities believe he is the vandal some townsfolk have dubbed the "Butt Bandit’.

Suspect arrested for greasy imprints in Neb. town


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Main Page - Dickipedia - A Wiki of Dicks

Random Recipe Generator

Below is a randomly-generated recipe!

Horseradish Sauce Mille Feuille

Serves 5

You will need:

* 4 oxo cubes

* 2 sheets of ricepaper

* 90ml horseradish sauce

* 60g raisins


1. toast the sheets of ricepaper

2. add one tablespoon of the sheets of ricepaper

3. bring the sheets of ricepaper to the boil

4. defrost the oxo cubes

5. throw the raisins away

6. barbeque the horseradish sauce

7. enjoy


Insufficiently delicious? Reload the page for another. » Random Recipe Generator

The joke that writes itself

Beavers back in Britain -



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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Daniel, born September 11

Daniel was born on September 11, and after the events of that day in 2001, he jokingly complained that his birthday had been ruined forever, because it would always be first and foremost the anniversary of that day.

The problem only came up once, in 2002. Daniel died on 18 November that year, also at the top of a tower-block, when his apartment caught fire. He was 26, and those few days.

It's been six years now, and the hole he left just doesn't get any smaller.

Sprint: Plug into Now.

This totally rocks.

Sprint: Plug into Now.

pixar piss take

Monday, 17 November 2008

A message to all Americans

Barack Obama and family in Springfield, Illino...Image via Wikipedia
Now get off the stage already
All right, enough already, you elected a black man. Can you please take the bouquet, quit bowing and get the fuck off the stage?

Just in case nobody noticed during the apotheosis of the nation that elected Bush twice into the nation that banished all prejudice forever, there are a couple of outstanding issues:

1. Proposition 8 passed in fucking California of all places. So discrimination is not dead, folks. It's not even going down for a count.

2. The death penalty is still exercised in the United States, which ought to be enough to make all right-minded people ashamed of those stars and stripes.

Okay. We're all in love with Obama, too. Imagine having to listen to a man who not only can speak in sentences, but who also has a lovely voice. He's very handsome, as is his wife, and his kids are gorgeous. And his clothes sense is simply to die for, dahling.

But I refer you to point one and point two. And remind you there's work still to do.

The stage-door guy with the cough will show you out.

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Sunday, 16 November 2008

News from the front, back and sides

Private collectionImage via Wikipedia

My hair is getting totally out of control.

There's not much else happening in my life. Nothing that I can post about, at any rate.

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Saturday, 15 November 2008

Skies without a face

I’ve posted all my cloud pictures to a web album. You may have seen some of them already. If so, skip over those ones.

Here’s a sample:

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Memiary is what happens to a To-Do list when you've To-Done the stuff you had To-Do. It's a brilliant idea: you fill in up to five things you did today, and it's saved for posterity. I don't know about you, but my days are rarely filled with momentous events. But I do, on the other hand, often find myself wondering, when did I send that form off? Did I call that person already or do I still need to? So a searchable database of all the things I've done is a great thing, IMO.

Here's what I did on Saturday, if we're checking:

Updated the website
Bought some earrings
Dropped into Churchill's
What a life I lead, eh? Couldn't even make it to four items, let alone five. Still, it's a lot to remember, or it was.

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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Eyes without a face

The result of shooting yourself in a dark room with only a desk-lamp and a Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass to direct the light.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now 2000 live

And this is the version from 2000. See if you can spot the difference.

Joni Mitchell-Both Sides Now (The Johnny Cash Show)

This is the first of the versions mentioned below. Pretty poor audio, but never mind.

UPDATE: This video is better, sound-wise. It's from 1970. She sounds so nervous. Bless.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Both sides now

Both Sides Now album coverImage via WikipediaAfter the song was brought up by nn, I listened to Both Sides Now, by Joni of course, in its original version from the Clouds album, then the 2000 version from the album Both Sides Now.

What a difference a lifetime can make, not only to Joni's voice, but to the whole tenor of the song. She was about 25 when she wrote it, and just 26 when she recorded it the first time. By the time the latest version comes around, she's 57 and has truly looked at life from both sides.

For me, and for some of you, that song also kinda bookends our lives. I remember it from when Judy Collins had a hit with the single. And now I'm not a million miles away from 57, and I've aged less well than Joni (though I did give up smoking). And I've looked at life from both sides, in a way that sweet girl of 25 could never have imagined.

Some of the most poignant lyrics you'll come across, if not now, then later, when you're 57 yourself:

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living ev'ry day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
Thanks for the reflection to nn.

The article from Time, linked below, dates from 1969. It's worth reading for its inability to see into the future.

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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

To my American friends

NAPERVILLE, IL - DECEMBER 12:  United  States ...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeRest assured that as you await the outcome of this historic day, I shall be showing my solidarity with your hopes and aspirations by snoozing in my bed the whole night through, because I have got a stinking cold coming on, and because nothing will be happening anyway until it's the middle of the bloody night here.

I might wake up a bit earlier than usual in the morning, since I'll have crashed out at about 9pm, and then I'll have the opportunity to check in with the BBC and find out whether the world has entered a new era of bright confident morning, or not. If the Sheriff out of Deputy Dawg wins, and his swivel-eyed clotheshorse becomes VP, I shall most likely go back to bed.

Don't let me down.

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Saturday, 1 November 2008

Enchanting sea-blue eyes

wooden sailing boat Kleine Freiheit - 70 year ...Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been reading more poems by Jo Govaerts, who I posted about here, and who was kind enough to give me one of her earlier collections after reading the poor stab at translation I’d done there.

Then I thought I’d add insult to injury by trying my hand at another one, in which she laments the parting of a sailor, or seaman, which as some of you may know corresponds to a theme of parting, exile and the sea which has been occupying me lately. It also reminds me of the striking iconic image of Meryl Streep used for the film The French Lieutenant's Woman.

The poem is from her collection Waar je naar zit te kijken, published by Kritak in 1994. It should impress even non-Dutch speakers that Herman De Coninck, one of Belgium’s great modern poets, had this to say:

There are few certainties in the world, and especially not in literature, but that Jo Govaerts is at this moment the best poet of her generation, is one such certainty.

What is a girl to do

while her beloved sailor

sails the seven seas?

no money, nothing to eat

she goes to the quay


where the waving water reminds her

of the sailing of the ship

the wind in her hair

his last caress, down over her back

where a man on a bench

reading a newspaper, then not reading asks, Miss?

come here and sit by me

you seem so sad, you have

such enchanting sea-blue eyes

©Jo Govaerts

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If Sarah Palin was my Mom

Alaska Governor Sarah PalinImage via Wikipediasour grapes, if you were born to Sarah Palin, your name would be:
Rot Pipeline Palin

Who knows, Rot Pipeline Palin you just might be president one day!

Try it yourself.

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