Monday, 30 March 2009

Thought for the day

Me: ""She dances like the Philly Phanatic." That's a good line. But nobody would get it in this country."
My bird: "That's what google is for."

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Critics, Steven Seagal, and Me

After Lewis, my squaw and I sliced up some apples and sat down to watch a movie. Unwilling to wait out the fifteen minutes it takes the Sony DVD player to load (it's too flash to work fast; the crappy one in my bedroom starts immediately, and plays movies from any region on Planet Earth), we decided to stick with tonight's exciting TV schedule.

We had choices, and settled for Proof, John Madden's 2005 movie, starring Gwynnie, AnTHony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhall. The Radio Times awarded Proof two stars, and their film critic slated the film, accusing it of unremitting drabness, amongst other things. My squaw said, "Ignore whatever dick wrote that review, it's really good." And she was right. I really liked it.

Meanwhile, as Proof played on BBC2, on Channel Five, Steven Seagal was karate chopping his way through a Jamaican drug gang in a movie called Marked For Death, the IMDb synopsis of which includes the following line:
On the next day, after reuniting with his sister Melissa and Melissa's daughter Tracy, John gets into a shootout against a Jamaican drug kingpin known as Screwface
The Radio Times decided to award Marked For Death THREE stars. That, for those of you who (unlike Gwynnie Paltrow) are NOT mathematics geniuses, is ONE STAR MORE than they awarded Proof.

I don't know how to put this any other way, so I won't. This is just insane. And I don't say this as a total movie snob. I've smoked my way through many a Steven Seagal moviefest, at the end of which I'm usually in hysterics. Fire Down Below, Today, You Die and (it doesn't get any better than this) Half Past Dead, are some all-time movie treasures, beloved of my friends Wednesday and Will.

Nevertheless, Proof was good. Not "good". But actually not bad. It defo isn't worse than Marked for Death.

Yet more evidence that all critics should be taken out and karate chopped by Steven Seagal.

By the way, for those of you interested in movie marginalia, Jake Gyllenhall is the SPITTING IMAGE of Brittany Murphy. You read it here first (I hope).

A message for my fellow amnesiac

Am recovering on a Sunday night by gawping goggle-eyed at Lewis on ITV with the fam. Can't help enjoying the fact that an ambitious "freelance" (plagiarist) theatre critic for a leading Oxford newspaper has just been brutally murdered.

Great publicity, I reckon. Should you require my strangulation services, I'm free on Tuesday night. Get in touch.

p.s. Bring your own string.

When fishing for compliments

... use dynamite.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

A little light weekend reading

(or, Why I love Mr Timothy McSweeney)

"Though some guests may tell you that reading USA Today every morning is 'hell', we can assure you that it is not actually Hell."

from Thank You For Choosing The Hyatt Regency Purgatory, by Bob Woodiwiss.

See also How To Perform A Tracheotomy, by Sarah Walker

and, more importantly, David Copper's Corrections To Last Month's Letters To Penthouse Forum.

Friday, 27 March 2009


Listening to commuters' conversations could seriously damage your health.

You never know what you might pick up.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

'Facebook' piss-take of Hamlet.

[Thanks to GRM]

Confessions of a blue-eyed white dude

"This crisis was fostered and boosted by irrational behaviour of some people that are white, blue-eyed."
For the record, Señor Lula, I was nowhere near the crime scene on the day the bubble burst and the pyramid collapsed and the turn downed and the depression set-in and the wankers hung themselves from the shower rod and all the rest of that shit.

Plus, I have an alibi. I was taking Smytho's bird out for a curry. Check my credit card statements.

Oh, this is good

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The reliable son returns

My younger brother, Jacob*, is returning from Egypt this evening.

I know this, not because I am being despatched to collect him from the airport, but because my mother has left a Times educational supplement on MBAs lying on the kitchen table.

I have suggested she make something involving broad beans by way of a home-coming meal: he'll like that.

* yes, really.

"My fellow amnesiac"

.. is a bastard.

Too ugly to be one of mine, though (lawks a'mercy).

I just made the stupid mistake

of confessing to my fellow amnesiac that I hadn't, as yet, fully mastered the art of scheduling posts to this blog.

His response to my humiliating cry for help was as follows:
What you do is go to Post Options (bottom left), and then shift the time/date to whenever you want it to see the light of day. Sometimes - and I don't off-hand recall in which circumstances - you have to save it as a draft, then make like you're going to edit it, and THEN change the time/date. Because otherwise it publishes it instanto, and simply announces on the blog that it's now Sunday or whatever. Which will get chaotic when I come back the day after and start saying it's still Friday.
So glad I asked.

Biblical advice

Question: What is your personal philosophy?
Woody Allen: Do unto others, and then get out of town, fast.
As seen on the Tonight Show, 1971.

Thought for the day

More from The Kinkster

"I write with a total disregard for the reader."


Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa, Old Vic.

Warwick Avenue

I was there just the other day.

Very unexciting place.

Absolutely no call for a song, whatsoever.

Foyled again

InDefinition - 3

accidental philanthropy, n. Having your stuff stolen.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Wisdom beef

"I have one of two choices — stay in the post office and go crazy ... or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve."
- Charles Bukowski

Baseball quote of the day

"My brother and I always liked to alternate shagging and hitting."
As heard just now during a Tigers-Mets spring training game.

UPDATE: Swiftly followed by
"Ollie always liked to pound right-hand hitters inside."

Courtesy of my fellow amnesiac

"The world is only as funny as the people who look at it."
Amen, brother.

More on petards


Hoist by their own petard?

Just asking for trouble, surely...

The Amnesiac Texts IIIb

ASH: So, how went your show-down with the out-laws?

Dom: I think I survived. Quite interesting, actually. Have been stoned ever since.

ASH: The out-laws hooked you up? Score!

The Amnesiac Texts III

Dom: MIT MIT Looks like I'll be dining with the mother-out-law tonight. Any advice for a condemned compadre?

ASH: Lie.

Dom: I knew I could count on you.

Inbox surprise

Koons For The Poor!

Latest publication from Taschen. (And retailing at £39.99, incidentally.)

E-mail also contains this sentence:

"Koons has been contemporary art's bad boy — a reputation he (ahem) nailed in the early 90s via works depicting him in flagrante delicto with then-wife Cicciolina, the Italian porn star-cum-politician."

I have always striven to avoid that last formulation. And there's why.

The Questionable Joys of Text

If you are the person (f.?) who sent me this

"Medals, large hands, inflatable match and lighter."
please get in touch. I have several questions.

Irish graffito

And another...

"As an author you have to vampirise your friends."
I hope he's right.

The wisdom of Kinky

"[T]here's two kinds of people that wear cowboy hats: cowboys and assholes."

"[T]he mainstream really doesn't understand satire at all. You just can't explain it."

[On writing] "If you look deep enough into yourself, I think you will find everybody else."

"I think if you're not offending people today, you ain't living."

"Twenty-eight books I've written so far. I say it's an index of an empty life. If I'd heard you'd written twenty-eight books, I already wouldn't like you to start with."

"You know, nothing's better than writing. That's a great life."

"It's a beautiful thing, to be surrounded with animals and have somebody pay for that and you write what you feel what you wanna write."

"If you look at the people that have told the truth throughout history, you'll see they haven't fared too well. Starting with Socrates and Jesus and that bunch there..."

"Find what you like and let it kill you."
All taken from The Kinkster's interview with HUMO magazine.

A pair of dingers from Bob Hope

"This is the worst last meal I ever had."

"I wanted to be a detective, too. It only took brains, courage and a gun. And I had the gun."

Albert Einstein - not so dumb

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts."
[Thanks to Ben Macintyre, The Times]

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Misery memoirs UPDATE

This is the bookshop I would like to have worked in.

I worked in Waterstone's.

My misery memoir

I was just mooching in a bookstore in Heathrow Terminal 5.

  • Helpless: The true story of a neglected girl betrayed and exploited by the neighbour she trusted
  • Cut: The true story of an abandoned, abused little girl who was desperate to be part of a family
Noodles to say, both of these smash hit books had pictures of pretty little girls adorning their covers.

Clearly this is where my fellow amnesiac and I went wrong: We were never abandoned, abused and neglected pretty little girls who were betrayed and exploited by our neighbours.


Maybe there's still time?

Here are some snaps of me that could adorn the cover of my own little girl misery memoir:

Cover Snap #1
A shot of my sister and I. (That's me on the right, in blue.)

Cover Snap #2
Here I am contemplating suicide. (I didn't do it.)

Cover Snap #3
And finally, here I am in later years, completely fucked up by my incredibly traumatic and miserable childhood experiences (hopefully in Ireland).

Right, I'm off to pick out something nice to wear for the book tour.

Greg House rides again!!!

"I call you Cut-throat Bitch... well, quod erat demonstrandum.

(And I speak in Latin because I don't try to hide what an ass I am.)"

Tip for the day

Never hoover barefoot.

My drug growing woes

Imagine my excitement last night when, before the baseball, while I was eating hot mexican chicken with chilli black beans and rice and supping Peroni, I flicked idly through the channels and came across a show on BBC2 called "Grow Your Own Drugs".

I threw my chicken bones over my shoulder, reached for my pad and pen, and perched on the edge of the sofa in a state of excited anticipation. Unfortunately, the show was not as billed. Instead of invaluable gardening tips on how to grow nuclear bomb skunk with the buds still on, all I got were recipes for face cream and cold sore cures.

Typical BBC.

And then, this morning, Amazon has the nerve to send me an email urging me to buy the book of the series. 45% off the cover price? No wonder!


Thanks to the (er...) classic World Baseball Classic Final last night between Japan and Korea, I've had my first glued-to-the-game sleepless night of 2009. The first of many, I fear. I'm not sure how I actually made it through 2008 (assuming of course that I did). MLBTV (and my addiction to it and worship of it) has changed my life, almost exclusively for the better, unless you count the dark circles under my eyes, and my tendency to start twitching like a breakdancer every day around 2pm. As I write this, there are 12 days, 14 hours and 14 minutes left until MLB Opening Night. I figure if I sleep from now until then, I'll have a chance of seeing 2010.

Except... Well, take Thursday night. The Villanova-Duke tip-off isn't till 2am my time. Admittedly, March Madness is not baseball, but that's just not cricket!

Speaking of which, why can't I get more into some of the exciting English sports, likes darts and bowls, that tend to be played at more civilised hours? (The BBC's coverage of these two major sports is extensive. They're also number one for any sports that involve wheelchairs. If I want to watch the (able-bodied men's) cricket, I need to erect a satellite above my bed.)

Meanwhile, while I'm here, and heavy-eyed, I must say that... Last night's final was spectacular. The standard of baseball. The passion. The sushi rolls that I was chewing in my dreams. All of it was off the radar. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a game that much - just because of the game being played, and not because of my tragic Ray Kinsella type tear-jerking sentimentality about "the game". It also made me think. It goes without saying that the WBC is bigger in every country that isn't the US, than it is in the US, host nation and home of baseball. (Read that sentence back, I promise it makes sense.) About half of Japan and Korea were watching last night's game. And while I'm not faulting the commitment of the Team USA players this time around (they did seem genuinely into it), I am questioning the attitude of the US to the world at large.

So here's my new theory: I reckon the United States has become terrified of competition. The reason the US is not interested in any international competitions - only in its domestic competitions - is because it's scared of getting beat (which it tends to do, incidentally) by other nations. Notice how the only time the US public seems to show any interest in US involvement in international competitions is when there's a chance of total domination by a US individual or team. They get pumped about the (NBA) Dream Team or Michael Phelps, or whatever, because they want to watch Americans stomp on the world. The moment there's a threat of getting beaten by fundamentally more sound and less macho, egotistical, self-congratulatory individuals or teams (like Japan and Korea in the baseball) they don't tune in, and pretend it doesn't matter.

It does matter. The WBC really does matter. The rest of the world treats it like the World Cup (of football). The passion and intensity is that high. But look at how the US feels about the World Cup. It shrugs with disinterest. I used to think there were a lot of reasons for this, but now I think it's just because Americans are pussies. They're scared of getting beat. It's like if England never played cricket against Australia or the Windies or India or Seffrica. We do, and we regularly get our arses whomped. But then we stand up straight, dust ourselves down, before bending over again for another beating.

There is of course absolutely no political comment of any kind hidden in this message. None at all.


UPDATE: To all those who've been in contact, threatening to come round and pummel my ass, I should say in my defence that:

a) I love baseball.
b) My girlfriend is American.
c) She's yours, if you refrain from pummelling my ass.
d) I've had no sleep.
e) I never mentioned Vietnam.
f) Some other things.

The art of non-fiction

"For everything I describe I have seen; and if I may have been deceived when I saw it, I am most certainly not deceiving you when telling you of it now."
- Letter to Marie-Henri Beyle, in Paul Hoffman's The Golden Age of Censorship

Further Wisdom of Dr. Gregory House

"Indiscriminate niceness is over-rated."
NB This particular episode also features an actress by the name of Bobbin Bergstrom. That is all.]

Monday, 23 March 2009


"It never occurred to me to think it was a risk," said the 77-year-old archaeologist from north London, Bridget Jones.

"I'm an optimist. I think it'll never happen to me."

She admitted she had heard "a couple of explosions", and then she told me that she would prefer to be killed by a car bomb than die in a hospital geriatric ward.

The Wisdom of Dr Gregory House

"There are three choices in this life.

Be good; get good; or give up."

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The better part of valour

Discrete, adj. - detactched, apart, isolated, separate

Discreet, adj. - circumspect, decorous modest.

They have discrete meanings, innit.

More literary legends

Albert Camus played goalie for the Algerian national side.

Yeah, and Cole Porter was in the Foreign Legion!

Oh, no, wait...

Warning to young poets

"Young would-be poets... noted that Brendan Behan and Dylan Thomas were poets who drank, and... went on themselves to be drunks who wrote poems."
- Julie Burchill, Beckham

Saturday, 21 March 2009


"Although truth is not necessarily stranger than fiction, it can at times arrange itself more artfully."
- William Shawn, New Yorker


Alain de Botton has a new book out.

Needless to say, it is excellent. Buy it, and read it.

That is all.

NB Penguin do not pay me a retainer for these services. If only...


Who holds the world record for failed world record attempts?

(I wanna meet that guy.)

In The Red...

During the making of The Red Badge of Courage, legendary movie director John Huston

1) had to get MGM to advance him $150,000 to clear outstanding bookies' debts (from a total salary of $200,000 p.a.);

2) wrote the screenplay on a return flight to Mexico (for his wedding);

3) and directed the entire film from horseback.

They don't make 'em like that any more.

[Thanks to Lillian Ross (RIP)]

Friday, 20 March 2009


By way of a spiritual and corporeal (and financial) rest cure, each year my parents make an effort to mark Lent with a laying off of booze.

This evening they are dining at the vicarage.

I bet you any money there'll be wine.

Burchill's 'Fifth'

In her Beckham monograph, Julie 'isn't she a bit frightful?' Burchill reminds me that there were, rather inconveniently, two "fifth Beatle"s called Best.

Pete, who was actually once in the band and isn't dead yet,

and George, who wasn't but is.

Something of a coin toss, innit?

Last night's TV

Thursday's Newsnight featured:

1) A reference, by Tim Whewell, to 'cutting back on the trimmings.'

2) Middle-class Russians in Yaroslavl illustrating the effects of the economic crash by whingeing that their children's bedrooms will now only have 30' TV screens.

3) The worst interview ever.

Messiah UPDATE


I reckon I've listened to Handel's Messiah a good thousand times now, and have long since grown comfortable with such pseudo-kinky humdingers as

"All we like sheep..."

"He gave his back to the smiters..."
What I hadn't picked up, though (and here I blame the impeccable diction in Harry Christophers' ace 2008 recording of the work) was the next line in that movement:

"He gave his back to the smiters... and his cheeks to them that pluckéd off the hair."
Which is just plain weird.

The run of the (tread)mill

My mate Paul writes to say:

"Yesterday I managed a 45 min session in the gym and rounded it off with the 1.5miler in under 10 mins... on a treadmill."
I must confess I've been pretty lax on my fitness this week. Yesterday I ran up Tower 42...

and only spent about seven minutes on it, at that.

[Thanks to PC]

From my local paper

Brookes exposed himself to a 22-year-old woman on a Bakerloo Line train between Wembley Central and Harlesden last year, before getting off.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Editing crimes UPDATE

My friend Jack Sandham weighs in via text message:
"Musicians tend to fuck it up for themselves, whereas writers have an editor to do it for them."
Neatly put, I thought.

Sub-editing crimes

This one should make my fellow amnesiac's day.

Mate, I know you think you are the victim of some of the worst subbing crimes of the millennium, but imagine how you'd feel if (what you once called) "the HR monkeys of the print world" spelt your NAME wrong on your album cover.

That's really quite an achievement.

Thankfully, their illiterate sins cannot take away from the sweet, sweet sounds of the great Mr. Dekker. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: We should've been musicians. I think I'd rather be overproduced than overedited.


Alternative advice to would-be writers

Don't bother keeping notes on anything.

Trust me, you'll never use them, even though you really should.

Advice to would-be writers

Keep notes on everything.

And don't start burning them until you're sure you're dying.

I love the world (even if it's not mutual)

You can buy a coat in TESCO for 97p.

Seriously. A COAT!

OK, so it's a bright yellow plastic poncho. But still...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Amnesiac Texts II

ASH: “I’ve just left the house for the first time in about a month without my laptop over my shoulder. What a fucking relief.”

Dom: “For the rest of us, too.”

ASH: “Heh. Not a chance. I still have my notebook and pen.”

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Discomfort Zone

"Just about anything - protesting against world hunger; getting a laugh out of words like 'nooky'; dispensing wisdom; dying - is easier than real comedy."

"Schulz wasn't an artist because he suffered. He suffered because he was an artist. To keep choosing art over the comforts of a normal life - to grind out a strip every day for fifty tears; to pay the very steep psychic price for this - is the opposite of damaged. It's the sort of choice that only a tower of strength and sanity can make."
- from Jonathan Franzen's 2006 memoir. Highly recommended.

Superb cover art - and other arcana - found here (p4).

The Amnesiac Texts

Dom - "I'm sitting listening to office workers on their lunchbreaks, and feelin intensely proud of us. Sadly I need to wizz like a racehorse, but just bought un cafe in a Republic with no bog."

ASH - "Republics. A great idea, until you need working toilets."

Setting the Standard



Yesterday's banner headline, from London's Quality Evening Newspaper.

If the 4th estate isn't dead and buried, it probably should be.

Distended metaphor

Religion is... a humble potato.

It has a tiny, superficial flourish; but deep roots which thrive in shitty environments.

It's not as sustaining as people claim; but not as boring as it looks.

The most palatable bit is in the centre; but ugly growths soon form on the extremities.

And the Irish love it.

In House entertainment

"Have I humiliated you in the last half hour?"
"... Check your e-mail."

Running gags

On Sunday I ran the adidas Silverstone half marathon.

This is not a picture of me.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Bourdain again

"Maybe only music has the power to bring a place or a person back, so close that you can smell them in the air. And I can't play guitar."
A man after my own heart - and lack of talent.

(Extract taken from the blue-ribbon Preface of The Nasty Bits)

Friday, 13 March 2009

Bourdain on writing

Spot on, as per:
"Fiction's hard. I do it because it's therapy. I spend a lot of time writing about myself, talking about myself and what happens to me. Me, me, me. Fiction is a nice escape from that. You can also be a lot more truthful about a lot of things. Things I can't say in non-fiction, I can say in fiction. But there's that damn plot thing. I really resent plot. I like creating characters and environments. That's really fun for me. But having to create a story arc is something I have always resented."

Café Lyrique UPDATE

Yep, I get that it's ironic (the other lines bang on about wanting lots of diamonds, etc.).

What I'm objecting to is the use of the conjunction: the sentence in question is 100% tautologous.

Lily Allen isn't up to that kind of irony.

Haiku - 'limericks that don't make you laugh'

"The hardest thing after writing poetry is writing about poetry, as you must already have noticed. It makes the author sound either pretentiously airy-fairy or thuggish."*
- AA Gill on poetry, in The Times.

* And what holds true for poetry, holds true for all arts criticism.

Café Lyrique

Whichever air-head teeny popstrell is responsible for
"I wanna be rich / and I wanna have money"
should be taken out and shot.

Fucking doggerel.

Woody Allen in 1971, taking the piss out his future self

Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the interview are just as great.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

It's wicked to mock the afflicted, but...

... there's this blind busker dude who hangs out on Oxford Street, "playing" the violin. If you live in London, or even if you've just visited, chances are you've seen this guy. He's been around my whole life, I swear, in one place or another. The bloke's a permanent fixture. You would've thought by now he'd have learnt how to play a bit.

But no. Blind Willie Johnson he is not. As far as I can tell, this guy actually just wacks the strings with his bow. The sound is bad. Really bad. I assume he does his wacking randomly, but when I passed him today, I paused to wonder. Maybe I've got this guy all wrong. Maybe he's actually playing some 'contemporary' piece. I'm thinking something like Georges Antheil's Violin Sonata (actually composed in the twenties, but believe me, it'll do).

So, bearing this in mind, how much money should one drop into this maestro's velvet-lined violin case? The going rate for a Festival Saver ticket to the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival is £290. I reckon that ought to buy Blind Violin Guy a few lessons.

The Special One

just got a little more special in my estimation:
Angry Jose Mourinho allegedly thumped a Manchester United fan after his team was beaten at Old Trafford.
p.s. No comment on The Arsenal's desperate display in Rome last night, except this: COME ON YOU BEAUTIES!!!!!

Burnt by the Sun

Reviewed, at the National.

In the House, with Hugh Laurie

"House has no friends because of his dedication to discovering and telling the truth. I suppose that's sort of the definition of a hero."

"The thinking woman's sex symbol"
- Playboy 20Q, 2006

"I’m more stubbly and grumpy than bright and shiny."
-Playboy interview, February 2009*

"I’ve had it a lot better than many people. I went to a pub with Kenneth Branagh once and a man shouted, ‘Oi, Branagh! You’re a cunt!'"
- The Times interview, March 2009

* NB "sketch shows like Blackadder..." ?? And anyone who has to write "very funny" so the audience registers that a Brit cracked a joke...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Calling all (Il)literati

Some interesting things you might consider reading:

The Lifted Brow

Falcon vs Monkey
... if you have the sponz for the subscriptions, obv.


Tariq Aziz, for many years considered the spokesman for Saddam Hussein's government, has been sentenced to fifteen years in jail for involvement in the execution of Iraqi citizens.

Two of Saddam's half-brothers were also found guilty. They are to be executed.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Bring on the revolution

"We are determined to make this country a hostile place for criminals involved in cannabis cultivation"
- Home Office spokesman (BBC)

Monday, 9 March 2009

Paul's Bowel Diary

After a long weekend on military rations and no sleep, my mate Paul not only seems to be having trouble with his inward parts, but also with discerning what levels of information should (and shouldn't) be shared with one's friends. I quote:

Movements: 3, by midday
Average size: 3x normal (all of them)
Notes: at a push, could probably go again

Movements: 4
Average size: 3x 3x normal (all of them), 1x normal
At time of writing Paul was once again leaving his desk (a 'bowel movement', in fact), having already posted warning that this event might be 'smaller'.

[Thanks to PC]

Creaming my Gooner boxer shorts

I've been putting it off all morning, but I really must say something about The Arsenal's mindblowing display against Burnley at the Emirates yesterday.

All three Arsenal goals were absolute belters. Vela's first was exquisite, and Eboue's third was vintage Wenger-era Arsenal. But Eduardo's volley for the second was genuinely one of the best goals I've ever seen (it reminded me of a goal I scored myself against Farley House when I was ten - though mine was better). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, check it out:

I say 'one of the best goals I've ever seen' because I would still rank Marco Van Basten's strike in the Euro 88 final as the best I've ever seen:

Even with the crappy picture quality it looks too good to be true.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Myerson's treason

It perhaps goes without saying that the authors of this blog have never felt any strong sense of unity with our fellow scribbling brethren. Indeed, I myself remember once writing the line: "I'd be the first to rejoice if every other writer in the world but me died horribly in a horrific nuclear explosion."

However, I doubt we can recall ever having felt so distanced from a writer comrade as we do right now from Julie Myerson, who has managed to offer the worst excuse for writing a book that we have ever heard:
"The reason I wrote about it is there is an emergency out there in this country and it's called skunk."
Dear Hunter S. Thompson, Please return from the dead to save our writerly souls.

Meanwhile, Ms. Myerson could do a lot worse than take a look at this.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Heaven is...

I have to say it somewhere, so it's here. I'm in seventh heaven. Baseball is back. Spring training has lifted my spirits to soaring level. But even more so, the World Baseball Classic is rocking my world.

Couple of corking games so far today. The Netherlands upsetting the Dominican Republic is one for the ages. And the game just now between the US and Canada was an absolute belter. So damn good to see this mattering so much to both teams. I'm a huge supporter of the WBC. Loved the inaugural classic (I was livin in America at the time), even though too many Americans pretended it didn't matter (after being totally outplayed, frankly, by the smallball masters of Korea and Japan). Today, the Rogers Center in Toronto was packed to the brim, and the players really meant it out there. Canada took the nailbiting loss hard. The Americans were pumped (and I love the scrappy team of gamers the US is fielding - workhorses like Youkilis, Pedroia, McCann, Victorino, et al, are always gonna mean it for you).

Man, am I stoked. This is so damn great. Worth staying in on a Saturday night for. Kneeded some homemade sausage pizza, blended some fresh homemade pesto for the left over dough balls. Things are looking good right now. It's Panama vs. Puerto Rico. Hells yeah.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Wery funny, yes indeed.

Review of England People Very Nice, at the National

'Batter my conscience.'

Review of Doctor Atomic, at the Coliseum.

James Joyce and Cystitis

So, apparently, two out of three Britons have lied about reading books they have not.

Top of the lie list is 1984 by George Orwell. In second place, War and Peace by Leo Toystory. In third, James Joyce's Ulysses.

I am sure I have pretended to have read books that I've never even touched. I remember once chatting up a girl by telling her I'd read Understanding Cystitis from cover-to-cover. I believe I once caught my fellow amnesiac doing exactly the same thing.

However, in my defence, I am also quick to admit to having failed in my efforts to read certain books. I have no shame confessing that I have tried on four separate occassions to read Ulysses, and have never made it further than half way through the damn thing. I honestly think the book is unreadable. My old man claims that it's his favourite book of all time, and I just know he is lying.

Then again, he always did pretty well with the chicks. So maybe pretending to understand James Joyce is sexier than pretending to have understood cystitis.

Just a thought.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Essential viewing for all members of Her Majesty's Government

Aerospatial awareness

Recorded conversation between Iranian radar operator and American fighter pilot:

Iranian Air Defense Radar: 'Unknown aircraft, you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.'

Aircraft: 'This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.'

Air Defense Radar: 'You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!'

Aircraft: 'This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 fighter. Send 'em up, I'll wait!'

Air Defense Radar: ...
[Thanks to ZWHS]

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Stoned Immacucate

Neb. man says he put cat in bong three times
20-year-old facing charges says feline would ‘act like a stoned person’

OMAHA, Neb. - A man who stuffed his girlfriend's cat into a makeshift bong and smoked marijuana through it said Tuesday that he had done it on other occasions and that it calmed the cat down.
(Thanks to Frank)

In-swingers, shit-houses, and do you wanna be in my gang?

(Or - The art of making the headline FAR more interesting than the story.)

This, from one architect to some other architects, is possibly the most life-negating bit of prose I have ever had the misfortune to read.

Again I have just inherited plans where the toilet layouts are too small… I have, however, discovered where the problem occurs (assuming its not just bad planning)


3.6 illustrates a WC cubicle with an in-swinging door of 1550mm – this DOES NOT COMPLY with BS6465-2-1996 (pp10/ pdfp14) or PartM (clause 5.14a)

To help overcome this problem in the future (apart from this email rant) I have added additional (microstation) cells to the file G:\904-CAD\0-CAD-Data\001-V85Standards\cell\CELLS-ROOM DATA\Sanitary.cel

The cells are:

WC-Cubicle-ASContourBTW-PL (Plan BTW WC Cubicle)

WC-CubicleAmbulant-ASContourBTW-PL (Plan BTW WC Ambulant Cubicle)

Please. Please, please do not plan toilet cubicles with in-swinging doors of only 1500mm deep

Further to this and the office meeting a few weeks back, the delivery group has been split into three groups – of which I am looking at METHODOLOGY. The main intention of this group is to develop a family of ‘standards’ that the office can use and refer to.

It would be great to know if any of you have:

× any specific ideas on what could be included in this

× standards that you have already developed on projects

× or want to join the group

From this we can develop some useful guides and ways of working in the office and hopefully avoid fire-fighting on site so users can fit into toilet cubicles!
Well, do you? Wanna join the group? Be honest now... You do, doncha?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Hair Today

(...gone by 11:15.)

I was getting the old barnet primped this morning when I realised my flies were 100% undone.

With a mug of Tetley's in one hand and a copy of The Gulag Archipelago in the other, I was unable to do anything about it until my stylist went to fetch my coat.

Whereupon I surreptitiously zipped up - forgetting, of course, that I was in a roomful of mirrors and my actions would be visible to everyone present.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Re: A joke from our sponsor

"I'm going to fucking kill myself!" shouted the new admission. "I'm going to fucking kill myself!"

"You'll do nothing of the sort," said the shrink calmly. "I want you to take your meds and relax, and this afternoon we have a wonderful treat. The circus is in town and Bozo the Clown is coming by to give us a special matinee show. You just watch Bozo the Clown for a little while and, believe me, your heart will feel considerably lighter."

"Doctor," said the man. "I am Bozo the Clown."
- Kinky Friedman, Steppin' On A Rainbow

A joke from our sponsor

Man goes to doctor. Say's he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, 'Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.' Man bursts into tears. Says, 'But, doctor... I am Pagliacci.'
- Alan Moore, Watchmen

Feature pitch

I sent my editor a pitch on folk-singing, with the line: 'Fancy a feature?'

He sent me this:

I met a tart the other night and she said, "Pleased to meet ya."
So I looked and said with a jerk of my head, "Well, how's about a feature?"
I grew more bold
As we drank ice cold.
She got a packet of fags out.
I said: "More beer?"
She said: "No thanks dear.
"Tonight I've got the flags out."
It's by Barry Humphries, I'm told.

[Thanks to CG]

The meaning of life

There's a card on my bookshelf from my sister that reads (and this is a direct quote):
life is too important to be taken seriously!

(oscar wilde)
I was staring at this card yesterday and wondering if it was at all likely that Oscar added an exclamation mark to the end of his philosophical postulation. I guessed not.

So this morning I looked it up. Turns out - and apologies for not already knowing this - that not only did Oscar not include a bloody exclamation mark, but that the whole line is a sodding misquote.

What Oscar actually wrote was:
Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.
The line was spoken by Lord Darlington in Act I of Lady Windermere's Fanny (or something).

I should add that the card is - of course - written in kiddy handwriting. As for me, I am now going to fold the card away and listen to Modern Life is Rubbish by Blur.

Kids TV

Just not the same since they stopped hiring The Kinkster.

6 Nations Blinders

"Neither team is going to win this game by playing tennis."
Philip Matthews, on the England - Ireland (rugby) match.