Wednesday, 25 May 2011


got new fone n founf txt  gr8!!!  foud !!!s   !!!     gtr8.  hoo needs nglsh ha ha u no this nuspk innit.  cant do q marks yet but wrkin onit.  lol.  m i doin it rite. 2daloo.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Dagrademon? A grand dome? Moaned drag?

Nope, it doesn't work.  Can't even get the word 'anagram' out of it.  Total bish-up.  There was I, sat here at six o'clock, clutching my prized possession, expecting agony or ecstasy depending on whether I was in the right sort of cult - and, nothing!  An incoming email was the nearest thing I got to an earth-splitting apocalypse.

What went wrong?  I think we should be told.  Mr Camping, you owe us an explanation: you told us that your calculations were precise and conclusive, this time.  Happy to receive it in the form of a comment on this blog post (of which you will of course already be fully aware), either from you or any one of your fellow cu*ts.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

And just to sum up ...

(Following on from the overwhelming non-response to yesterday's joke about Blogger:))

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
Richard Feynman, 1986.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Blogger off

Just now I posted a comment on Lo's post about the unintended consequences of Blogger's recent protracted outage and its uncovering of a hitherto unsuspected addiction, suggesting that we could develop a counter-addiction - to outages.  I think this idea merits further exploration.

For a start, we could immerse ourselves in the syntax.  Consider the fine distinction between BX-c20gmn and BX-d7hq04.  Then analyse the relative frequency of the appearance of these two informifacts.  (I can make up jargospeak with the best of them.)  A pattern will emerge.  Probably, it will provide the key to Voynich, and the untold secrets of the universe will throw their hands up in surrender, and all will be subsumed into the blinding light, and evil will no more exist or be done.

When we're through with that, we can open a book on how long the time lags will be between the problem first occurring, them noticing it, them starting to fix it, how many times they will start to fix it, progress updates on what's left of the help service ... Endless fun in there, surely?  (NB Anyone bidding less than twelve hours is disqualified.)

Of course, all this will have to recorded on wordpress.

I could go on, but it's my suppertime.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


In 2005, someone invented a new kind of alarm clock, imaginatively called 'Clocky'.  When you hit the snooze button, Clocky (who you presumably have to leave on the floor) rolls away and hides somewhere in the bedroom, forcing you to get out of bed to find him.

I did not make that up.  But it got me thinking about other potential applications of this principle.  Car keys is the obvious one - they go and hide, or disguise themselves as a bowl of Twiglets or something, when they scent alcohol.  Any others?

I was also reminded of the classic 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' sketch from way back when cordless phones had just been invented.  Anyone remember that one?  It was funny at the time.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


This subject came up mainly because of what I was doing this afternoon, but also from a blog cruise just now.  I wrote this a couple of years ago.

Big Men Don’t Iron, right?

Wrong. A couple of years ago, there was a fad called ‘extreme ironing’. This entailed blokes doing ironing in extreme situations or locations. They had to transport ironing equipment – boards, irons – up glaciers, down ocean depths, across Antarctic icefields, into Outer Space on jetskis, onto the Colindale branch of the Northern Line, and then, well, iron something. (By the way, where do they get their electricity? Or do they also cart coal-fired forges, plus coal, to heat up eighteenth-century cast-iron flatirons?) Idiots.

Truth is, it’s a therapeutic chore, but still a chore. So minimise it. Consider the claim of any particular object to be ironed. You can rapidly eliminate the car, the carpets, other people – but be thoughtfully discriminating. Do you definitely need to iron the socks? The underpants? The sheets? Anything at all?

Well, yes. As a tenet (one of the few left) of 21st century civilisation, the following items must be ironed: shirts; trousers; bedsheets; pillowcases ... I could easily digress here into an attempt at a sort of unified field theory of ironing – but I’ll spare you that.

Yes, I did say bedsheets. Slide, late at night after your preferred enchanted evening, appropriately accompanied or sometimes gratefully alone, into a freshly minted bed lined with a) ironed or b) un-ironed sheets. Compare the sensations. Ironed, I think.

Do not despair, or even worry. You can cheat. You can be a sheet cheat, how ‘bout that!  The best way by far is a clothes line. This not only irons the sheet perfectly, ethically and for free, it also gives the sweetest bed you could ever wish for. Just hang the sheet over the line, making sure it’s evenly distributed and lined up; peg and wait until dry; fold it back on itself on the line twice, then lift it off over your forearm, keeping it horizontal and lined up, and further fold as appropriate. You should end up with a sheet which fits in your drawer/airing cupboard, and can be rapidly deployed in case of unexpected or scheduled or olfactory need.

This only really works when the weather’s right. A sunny, breezy, blue day, with a few fluffy clouds whizzing across the sky but not planning to rain on your clothespeg parade just now. Heat also helps. So if it’s cold, wet, or threatening, it’s probably not worth the effort.  In the winter, radiator ironing can work. Fold the sheets then stretch them, as smoothly and tightly as you can, across a radiator until they’re dry (it helps if the radiator is turned on).

Failing all of the above, you will have to iron the sheets with the iron, on the ironing board (which is, of course, as huge as you can accommodate and afford). Fear not, all is still not quite lost. Fold the sheet to, as near as possible, the surface area of your board. Make sure you can reverse and refold it, when you choose, so as to expose other facets. Then iron everything else on top of it. (You do remember everything else, don’t you? The trousers, the shirts, the pillowcases; the socks?)

P.S. It’s not critical, but if your sheet ironing turns out as four-square Navy fashion as you can achieve (edges lined up, corners correlated, etc), your bed-making will be that bit easier.


Of course, that AV referendum wasn't really fair, conducted as it was under a first-past-the-post system.

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Road To Elsinore

Up to London yesterday to attend the two o'clock matinee of 'Hamlet' at the Globe, followed by 'The Fat Girl Gets a Haircut' at the Roundhouse in the evening - a real playathon of theatrical stamina.  But this isn't about those - you can see reviews elsewhere if you're interested.  This is about the journey to get there.

We had to meet some other people at the Globe at 1.30, so arranged to gather at Reading station at half-eleven.  Plenty of time, no?  Grab a beer and a sandwich when we get there.  Sure enough, the train to Paddington was pretty well on time so, as C doesn't like the Underground (who does, apart from some rather creepy people?), we grabbed a taxi. 

" Hope you've got plenty of time,"  the driver said.  (He could have added "and money".)  "Gridlock out there."
Really?" we said.  "Why's that?"
"Royal Wedding."
"But, um, that was last Friday."
He shrugged.  "Doesn't stop 'em."

By the time we reached Birdcage Walk we knew he was right.  We moved about twenty yards in five minutes.  This was something worse than simple post-nuptial fever (though we never found out what).  We had plenty of time to observe hordes of tiny tourists with pullovers tied round their waists, photographing each other in front of various kinds of pigeon, and long-lensing the demolition of the scaffolding on the other side of the Park. 

At about twenty to one, there occurred the first of the only two instances of altruistic London taxi driver behaviour I have ever experienced.

"Tell you what," said our driver.  "You'd be better off on the Tube."  Glances were exchanged.  "Just walk down there to St James's Park station."

C bit the Underground bullet.  "Okay, let's go for it."  We paid off the driver - he refused a tip: "No thanks, I didn't get you there, did I?" - and started walking down the alley he'd pointed us towards.

When we reached Victoria Street, which seemed relatively uncongested - they must have been making at least twenty yards a minute, I had a thought.

"Why don't we walk down to Parliament Square?  We'll be on the other side of this mess then, and we can pick up a cab there."

So we did.  As we entered the Square, noticing the queues for the Abbey which would have put the Uffizi in Florence to shame, a taxi drew up beside us and two passengers disembarked.  Not believing our luck, we climbed in.

"Globe Theatre, please."
The driver pondered, then altruistic act number two happened.
"In a hurry, are you?  It's gridlock everywhere.  They said it was the Royal Wedding, but ...  You'd be better off on the Tube."

Well, we got the Jubilee Line to Southwark and walked half a mile to Tate Modern and the Globe.  It was a quarter to two.  Our companions were waiting outside, checking their watches.

"We'd better hurry," said Ben.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


I just tripped over this in an old copy of Schott's Almanac (I'm sooo busy!) and it kind of amused me.  You probably know it already but I can't help that.  I paraphrase:

Alan Smithee is a highly prolific Hollywood director who doesn't exist.  It is, or was, the pseudonym granted by Directors Guild of America to directors who, for reasons of artistic integrity or whatever, don't want their real names on the credits of a film.  So Smithee has probably made some pretty damn bad movies.

In 1997, the director Arthur Hiller made a film about a director who is actually called Alan Smithee in real life, and wants his name removed from a turkey he's made.  On release of his (real) film, Hiller was permitted by the DGA to have his own name replaced by Alan Smithee.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Summer food is back!

Serrano ham, marinated artichokes, salty anchovies, griddled chilli squid, pungent green olives, Spanish potato omelettes, sea-fresh sardines, garden herbs, rocket and chervil, watermelon, raspberries, luscious melting figs ...

Oh, and Scotch eggs and crisps, fresh crab salad, Pembrokeshire new potatoes, bitter brewed on the premises in the village pub at Llanddarog, line-caught sewin on the barbecue ...

That'll do to go on with.  Any other orders?