Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Touch of Light Hysteria

The flatmate and I experienced a curious phenomenon last night - that of uncontrolled laughter triggered by the merest thought of humour to come.

The occasion was whilst watching The Return of the Pink Panther, probably my favourite of the series, and occurred just as Peter Sellars as Clouseau enters the bedroom of Lady Lytton disguised as a cleaner and proceeds to wreak havoc with an industrial vacuum cleaner.

Sellars merely uttered the words "Hallo? Guten Tag?" and we started to chuckle. Then guffaw.

Nothing particularly funny had happened by this point since the scene was still young, but we had both seen the film before and knew what was coming up. Just the merest recollection set us off. And by the time I'd re-enacted the noise the parrot makes as it gets sucked into the hoover - foreshadowing the actual event by minutes - we were howling with laughter.

I don't think that's actually happened to me before. Just goes to show how priceless the Sellars / Blake Edwards combination could be really.

(Oddly it was also the second film I've seen this week with a character of a gangster named "The Fat Man". Some memes are really far too ubiquitous.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Horror! The Horror!

Whilst gasping and panting my way through the last few minutes on the cross-trainer earlier, I found myself positioned randomly in front of a screen that merrily occupying its time broadcasting BBC One to myself and the other unfortunate denizens of Fitness First.

I say unfortunate with good reason. As the pictures flashed before my eyes - accompanied by the bored and slightly pissed-off tones of Lady Ellis-Bextor on The Device - I became painfully aware of a terrifying fact. And one of which I had until this afternoon been blissfully unaware.

They still make Chucklevision.

The title sequence began and at first I was vaguely perplexed, almost like my brain was hurrying to put mental blocks in place to protect me. Sadly it didn't react fast enough and realisation was finally able to kick in, leaving my jaw hanging open and my eyes widened in shock that something which so blighted my childhood televiewing was still in production to this day.

The sadist saw my reaction from afar. Apparently he thought I was about to cry. And as the tired slapstick antics of the gag-free assassins-of-mirth unfolded before me, he wasn't far wrong.

Whilst I am not generally given to much sympathy where children are concerned, I suspect that even King Herod would balk at inflicting such predictable drivel on continuing generations. Surely such an act is straying way too far into the realm of intolerable cruelty?

No wonder so many gangs of troubled adolescents roam our streets looking to kill and maim other people. If this is what society can do to its young, it clearly gets the children it deserves.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Falcon's Malteser

Whilst idling round Camden the other week I wandered, as is my wont, into The Works Publisher's Outlet for a quick nose.

For those who are not familiar with the place (you lucky things - I only went in to get out of the rain) the Works is one of those stores that sells crap. It's like the bargain bin in a proper bookstore, only in this case the bargain bin has taken over the entire shop. Knocked down books - mainly of crosswords and cheap obscure reference titles - co-exist with nasty boxes of twee notepaper and cheap straight-to-DVD releases that no-one in their right mind would want to buy.

Except, for a change, I saw one I was actually interested in: "Just ask for Diamond" - a 1988 film about the world's worst private detective and his smarter kid brother, that also spawned a TV series "South by South-East".

The main reason I was interested was because it was pretty much the only thing available - other than Doctor Who's "Remembrance of the Daleks" - that starred one Dursley Mclinden, an actor who I remember having an enormous crush on at the time.

Sadly Mclinden died in 1995 aged 30 of AIDS - or rather of an AIDS related illness - and so there's not much of him on tape. His stint as the pretty-but-dim Tim Diamond is one of his few other outings (South by South-East aside).

The signs weren't good. The DVD contained only a trailer by way of special features, there were dozens of copies, and it was priced at the princely sum of 99p. Still, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to splash out.

And there are many levels on which it is not a good film. It is a heavy parody of American private-eye flicks, with cliched gangsters, molls, police-inspectors and the like, and to be fair some of the broad American accents don't really make much sense considering it's set in Camden. And the child actor playing Nick Diamond is... well... a little child-actory. (Children do tend to proclaim lines rather than act them don't they? Odd that.)

It is also blessed with the single worst opening theme song ever made - dreadful even by the generally low-standards of British rap music.

Yet somehow it does rather rise above these odds and turns out to be a thoroughly enjoyable film. It's got a suitably preposterous premise, lots of puns and a great cast that includes Susannah York, Michael Robbins, Patricia Hodge, Roy Kinnear and so on all delivering wonderfully over-the-top performances and clearly loving it.

Ultimately I found myself chuckling happily along with it - it's well worth a look. (And not just to compare Camden from 18 years ago to now.)

Much to my surprise, I managed to find the original Anthony Horowitz Diamond Brothers books in Waterstones yesterday and decided to get those too. I've started off with the one that "Just Ask for Diamond" is based on - punningly titled "The Falcon's Malteser" - and was touched to discover that the reprint is dedicated to Mclinden.

It's proving a cracking read too. Great fun. I've come to the opinion of late that a well-written kid's book is worth ten of those targeted for adults.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Must Try Harder

It seems the spammers are getting increasingly slapdash in their attempts to convince me that the emails I receieve from banks and so on are genuine.

Today's missive was a work of art.

'I beg your pardon,' replied Faggot.

'I'm sorry, but there's nothing to reveal. It's all quite plain.'

'Excuse me, but I don't agree. An explanation is essential, otherwise your brilliant act will leave a painful impression. The audience demands an explanation . . .'

'The audience,' interrupted the insolent mountebank, 'has not, to my knowledge, demanded anything of the sort. However, in view of your distinguished position, Arkady Apollonich, I will--since you insist--reveal something of our technique. To do so, will you allow me time for another short number? '

'Of course,' replied Arkady Apollonich patronisingly. 'But you must show how it's done.'

'Very well, sir, very well. Now--may I ask where you were yesterday evening, Arkady Apollonich? '

At this impertinent question Arkady Apollonich's expression underwent a lr h oiiiu gtiof g fsftflfpjn fm fofufrf l jkfufhjfgpg q sdjksdfsdfsdlgkj sdflkjsdf lksdjfsdfsdf
Genius. Still, I suppose it must make money for someone somewhere.

I am, incidentally, loving the term "insolent mountebank". I shall be using it at every given opportunity.

Can you Smell Burning?

The most upsetting thing about having any form of hair-removal done by laser, I've decided, is not, surprisingly enough, the pain.

It's uncomfortable, of course, but frankly I've progressed now to not bothering with anaesthetic on my back at all. The hour it takes to work is time I could do with spending elsewhere - not just lying shirtless, smeared with unguents and covered in clingfilm.

No, the worst thing is the smell. An all-pervasive odour of singed hair which tends to bring home the fact that what you're actually doing is burning out things that live under the skin.

It focusses the mind, somewhat, I can tell you. Especially when it's your face that's being zapped and the burning is going on right under your nose.

Oh yes, as suggested ages ago I'm having my jawline done. And to be honest there's no question of not having anaesthetic when it comes to the face. The hair on your face is coarser, the follicles deeper and more closely packed so the heat generated by the process is much more intense. And even with the cream you can still feel it going on and it really is one of those "grit your teeth and bear it" kind of feelings.

The first one I had done about four weeks ago was one of the nastiest experiences I've ever had. And the shock of what my face looked like afterwards was terrifying. I honestly thought I'd been bleeding under the skin. I was bright red, blotchy and swollen all around the area that they'd done and I scurried off to Liverpool Street station's taxi-rank well aware of the shocked stares from passers by. (The taxi was an unjustifiable expense, but I sure as hell wasn't going on public transport looking like that.)

So I spent the Saturday night drinking wine, feeling sorry for myself and occasionally pulling the tube of Aloe Vera from the fridge and liberally greasing my burns with it.

That said, the following morning you'd have been hard-pressed to tell I'd had anything done. It appears I have very resilient skin.

Yesterday was the second go and was nothing like as bad. A slight redness that had faded by the time I got home and so I didn't actually need to hide in at all. (Still did though. Heh.)

But "is it working?" I hear you ask. Well, yes. Yes it is. In fact I'm not bothering with a third visit - at least not in the forseeable future. The area lasered is now producing so little hair that the second visit was more a mopping up exercise; the skin is smoother and in better condition and the instances of ingrowing hairs have been reduced to next to zero. All of which is precisely the result desired so why throw more money at it?

It's amazing how much more confidence things like this give you as well. I'm beginning to feel much more comfortable in my body these days, so I think it's fair to say the pain is definitely worth the gain.

Friday, March 24, 2006

My Kind of Poetry

I'm not, I'm afraid, a poetic soul. This is probably a failing I am willing to admit but poetry as an art form really doesn't work for me - 98% of the time at least.

Song lyrics I love, of course, but that's different. Without music poems feel to me more than a little flat. (And as for free verse... ugh. Learn to rhyme or write proper prose for God's sake.)

However, I do have a significant soft spot for some poems. Most notably those of Dorothy Parker who's cynical view somewhat chimes with my own. Just for the record, here's a couple of my favourites.


They hail you as their morning star
Because you are the way you are.
If you return the sentiment,
They'll try to make you different;
And once they have you, safe and sound,
They want to change you all around.
Your moods and ways they put a curse on;
They'd make of you another person.
They cannot let you go your gait;
They influence and educate.
They'd alter all that they admired.
They make me sick, they make me tired.
A point of view with which I feel there's no arguing really.

The following is also a personal favourite of my flatmate's:


Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
Gotta love her.

Frankly anyone who can say of Joan Crawford - when asked for a sentence containing the word "horticulture" - "You can take a whore to culture, but you can't make her think", truly deserves acclaim.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It Really Isn't Like Me...

Had a bit of a shock in the gym yesterday.

There I was quietly minding my own business on the cross-trainer (well, okay, gasping and sweating profusely in a stunning display of the attractiveness of the male form) when the video for Infernal "From Paris to Berlin" came on the Hits and I almost fell off the machine in shock.

Thing is, I've had this track since about June last year (it's rather good in an irritating and you can't get it out of your head sort of a way) so the fact that it's suddenly getting major publicity in this country does make me feel like I was there at the start and other people are just catching up.

Which is just not a normal feeling for me. Normally I'm way behind everything.

Still, it's also nice to see a synth duo where the keyboard genius is actually a nice bit of eye candy.

I think we need more of him with very little on in the next video please.

Monday, March 20, 2006

What Tree Are You?

According to this site I am:

WALNUT TREE (Passion) unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistic, aggressive, noble, broad horizon, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, no compromise.

  • Strange? Check.
  • Full of contrasts? Check.
  • Egotistic? Check.
  • Noble? Check, but only because I think people might be watching.
  • No flexibility? Check.
  • Difficult? Check.
  • Not always liked? Check.
  • Jealous and Passionate? Well, check.
  • No compromise? Check.
The rest?

Absolute bollocks.

I mean. Aggressive? I wish! Uncommon? Ditto! Often admired? I honestly can't see how and I'm certainly not ingenious, nor am I a strategist. Unrelenting I suspect is true but that's depending on the subject matter.

This is the problem with categorisations I guess. Life operates in terms of a sliding scale, not boxes.

Labels are useful up to some point, of course. They're helpful in so far as you know what's likely to be in the tin when you pull it down from the supermarket shelf.

But you still can't really tell whether what's inside is likely to poison you when you open it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Lights! The Hair! The Skirts!

I've been enjoying of late. So much that I dimly recall having seen that has been shared by kind (and not so kind) souls.

Today I came across the video for Donna Summer's This Time I Know It's For Real which proved vaguely terrifying.

Now, it's one of my all-time favourite songs, but I have to say the video came close to introducing me to the somewhat dubious pleasures of an epileptic fit.

Thank God the 80s have long since gone.

I Like My Men...

A thought that occurred to me whilst I was noodling around in FruityLoops this morning (rendering some of the more CPU-intensive fizzing synth noises to WAV files if anyone's interested) was that I have a obscene love of basslines.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who's heard my sets or even been privy to the horror that is my MP3 collection (and I use the word "privy" with deadly accuracy) but I'm worried that this goes beyond mere love to an almost sexual passion for the things.

As the sawtooth bounced its way out of my speakers (underpinned by a fantastically 80s-style Linn-drum snare) the words "I like my men like I like my basslines" crept into my mind.

This was then inevitably followed by the phrase "dominant and pounding".

That said I'm not so keen on my men being "phat and squelchy" so I don't think the comparison really bears being taken quite that far.

So there we are. A little insight into the inner workings of the Morris mind.

Be afraid.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Love People

They're so inventive aren't they? And resourceful and everything.

You see... I have a recurring problem with The Device (TM).

After a while the built-in database, after several dumps of MP3 madness, panics about what I'm asking it to play (and what precisely is wrong with Barbara Windsor I ask) corrupts on a whim and won't allow me to play anything.

Regular as clockwork, just about the time I get to 3 Gb. (Or think about putting some Hazell Dean on. It's hard to tell.)

Usual result? Rob crying and contemplating an iPod. This is, naturally, against his better judgement coz he hates the fucking things, what they stand for, and (above all) the (stolen) interface, but these dark thoughts are entirely brought on by the subsequent evenings rebuilding his collection from scratch and having to suffer several Bus 43 journeys without glistening sparkling crap to listen to.

And Kirsty. How can I spend a morning on the Holloway Road without Kirsty?

Anyway... that's all changed. I just discovered Easy H10. It's a little utility that does what apparently iRiver Plus (the bundled software) can't. It scans the device, looks at the files on it and rebuids the database.

And actually - unlike the bundled software - works.

It's brilliant. It took but moments to do its work and repaired all that was wrong. (At least as far as I can tell. It may have maliciously decided not to put Kylie back in for all I know right now, but it seems OK.)

So I am now raising a glass to human ingenuity. And I must say a big thank-you to the creators of EasyH10: you have saved me from a cult, saved a week's work and restored The Device (TM) with ease and panache.

And even better I don't have to deal with annoyingly restrictive idiot-proof software any more. iRiver Plus can now fuck right off and I can stick with the standard Windows Explorer.

So yay for that!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

K-9 and Company: The Next Generation

With thanks to the ever fabulous Lee, I present to you a piece we wrote many moons ago and which has never yet seen the light of day.

With news from the oh-so-reliable Sun newspaper that K9 and Sarah-Jane will get their own (second) spin-off from the series, we would like to present our synopsis from the last time the rumours came around of what it could be like.

Probably won't mean anything to anyone who hasn't seen the original K9 & Company episode though...

K-9 and Company : The Next Generation

The interest a few years ago in reviving K-9 for a new audience was sudden and short-lived. Within a few brief months the stories had come and gone, and it was assumed that the project had never got off the ground. These assumptions, however, are wrong; some time had in fact been spent developing the new series and it may come as a surprise to learn that it was the intention of the producers to go back and fully revive the series K-9 and Company, even going so far as to return Elisabeth "Stepping Stones" Sladen to the role of Sarah-Jane Smith.

Aside from updating K-9, the format was to remain essentially the same; although the content of the series was to be more gritty and adult, it would still be set in the same rural middle England as the original. It was intended that a feature length pilot episode, essentially the same as A Girl’s Best Friend ("the script was up for grabs" – Jeremiah Chechnik, producer), would have been followed by a six-part series for the British home market. Following extensive access to the producer’s archive - two cardboard boxes containing burnt roaches, scribbled notes and some pornography - we can now present the exclusive episode plan to a series that almost was.

Episode 1: A Nasty Habit.

Gradually getting pissed on cheap chardonnay in a bus shelter, Sarah-Jane is surprised to discover a coach-load of old men in suspicious brown robes and tonsured hair-do’s. Her investigations take her to the set of a medieval drama, but when she overhears the ritual chanting “Equity, Equity” she knows it isn’t water and food colouring in the Abbot’s bedpan.

Meanwhile, who is the mysterious stranger determined to turn K-9 into a novelty barbecue? What is the phenomenon having such an adhesive effect on Brendan’s fitness magazines? And why is Aunt Lavinia so obsessed with fish?

Episode 2: Eau de Humanity.

Whilst helping Aunt Lavinia shop for dungarees and comfortable shoes, Sarah-Jane decides to help her writer friend Terrance Dudley by popping into the library for "The Junior Book of Covens and Sects".

But whom is that raven-haired librarian taking an unhealthy interest in Aunt Lavinia? Who are those hooded men lurking between "Weather" and "Wombles"? And who is that strange man Brendan discovers lurking around the public convenience? Sarah-Jane smells a rat, and it isn’t Brendan’s new perfume…

Episode 3: A Man’s Best Friend.

Running down the road in a pink tracksuit and leg warmers, Brendan is surprised by a group of men who force him to take part in rituals hailing from Ancient Greece. Meanwhile, K-9 looks to be in danger as a tall man with ginger hair and a C5 tries tracking him down.

After two pints of vodka, Sarah-Jane, fresh from taking Aunt Lavinia to her annual Bra-burning, realises this "Sir Clive" is an impostor. How will she break his sinister hold over the home computer market? Why is K-9 rubbing himself against the furniture? And why is Sarah-Jane unable to see straight?

Episode 4: Summer Solstice of Love.

A night spent formation-vomiting in the local Student Union catches up with Sarah-Jane who determines to find out just what happened after the bar had closed.

Meanwhile Brendan joins an all-male wrestling group and comes under the influence of a charismatic figure known only as "Julian". What is the supernatural force that has turned Brendan’s hair so white? Who were those suspicious figures dancing at the union chanting "Advocat, Advocat"”? And why did Sarah-Jane wake up wearing nothing but a fur coat and no knickers?

Episode 5: Not on the Begonias!

As Sarah-Jane recovers from her latest breakdown, she discovers it’s summer fair time in the village of Little Chomping. The weather is unseasonably warm and as flowers start to wilt and tempers fray, Sarah-Jane thinks that someone is using witchcraft to increase their chances of cleaning up at the produce competition.

Just as she is getting close to the truth, Brendan is kidnapped by ruthless group of cultists who take him to Manchester – for the weekend of the summer fair! If nothing is going on then why is Lily Gregson so interested in the size of Aunt Lavinia’s courgettes? What is the medication Sarah-Jane’s doctor prescribed really for? And why does Brendan still have that sacrificial stole from the pilot episode?

Episode 6: Murder, She Hoped.

It’s a particularly slack time for witchcraft so Sarah-Jane is splitting her time between perfecting her Angela Lansbury impression and setting fire to her neighbours’ curtains. When Aunt Lavinia calls from her “conference” in Brighton with tales of strange people entering her bedroom and emptying the mini-bar, Brendan encourages her to investigate.

A night-time escapade ensues, and Sarah-Jane discovers Brendan wandering the streets in a seriously dishevelled state. What is the meaning of his mysterious chant "big fish, little fish, cardboard box"? Why does he profess to love everybody? And why is Aunt Lavinia so keen to visit Allied Carpets?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Step Back in Time

So yes... I had put my Samsung D600 through the wash.

Mobile phones really don't like that do they?

So I had a quick rummage and dug out my old Motorola V600. Can't find the charger so I'll get a new one of those but already I'm happy to be back on the old phone again.

Frankly the Samsung and I didn't get on.

For starters it was way too small. I have big hands so it was a bit lost in them, and I could barely find purchase to slide the screen up. Then the fact there were any buttons on the front was a problem - I'd be pulling the phone out of my pocket and hitting them by accident, canceling calls half the time and then having to wait for the voicemail. And there was no Bluetooth which was unforgivable.

And then there was the menu system... ugh. It couldn't seem to do half the things I considered fundamental.

The more I think about it the more I'm convinced that forgetting to check my jean pocket was a subconscious act of sabotage on my part.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What a Great Start

Okay, so far today I've been elbowed in the ear by one woman on the bus standing next to me, had a rucksack in the face from a bloke on the bus and I have a nasty feeling that the jeans I've had in my washing bin for a couple of days had my mobile phone in.

And of course I chose this morning to put the jeans in the wash.

I suppose only time will tell if this is a bad start to an otherwise good day, or the high point and it's about to get worse.

But I'm not hopeful.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Anorak Awakes

I am becoming increasingly convinced that commuting home on the Northern Line at the end of a long day is responsible for my regular catatonic state most evenings. More often than not these days there are staggering delays, increased passenger numbers, Bank Station has its lifts roped off so we have to go the long way round (for no good reason that I can see - it's usually when there isn't much in the way of platform squeeze) and so on.

And then you're rammed into a carriage, pressed up against people you normally wouldn't give the time of day to, and there's no seating, so you have to hang on somewhere, trying to keep your feet clear of other people's (not an easy task I've got enormous plates). And then you add to that the fact it's hot and the usually gentle rocking motion tends to induce a strangely soporific effect to add to the general level of travel-and-world-weariness.

That said if it hadn't been so nightmarishly busy last night I wouldn't have finally been crammed into a forward facing seat at the end of a carriage as we left Camden Town. I then wouldn't have been faced with a choice of staring at some woman's breasts or out of the right-hand window next to me.

And if I hadn't chosen the latter I wouldn't have been delighted with the sighting of the platform area of the now disused South Kentish Town station.

Okay, so these days it's all blacked out, the platform is actually removed so you just get a sudden exposed space, and in the dim light from a nearby open door all I could see was a few bits of engineering equipment, but for a brief moment I had the little thrill of seeing something hidden and secret that people would otherwise barely know was there.

Rather tragically it made the whole journey worthwhile. I stepped (or rather "was carried along by the exodus") from the train at Archway in cheerful high spirits.

Thank God I'm not straight, eh? I'd never have seen it if I'd been gawping at the cleavage.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Suicide is Painless

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me about London is the contrast between areas. Areas of extreme poverty or dereliction sit side by side with smart estates and areas of high net wealth.

Take Archway for example. It is, to be frank, grotty. The area around the station (aside from effectively being a wind-tunnel thanks to the strange effect on the weather of the Archway Tower) is shabby, run-down, litter-strewn and generally unpleasant. The only thing you can say in its favour is it has a good Post Office and an excellent Kebab shop.

Yet just five minutes up the road is Highgate. A world of gastropubs, large Georgian houses, specialist art collectors shops and book emporiums. (As well, as far as I can tell, an extraordinary proportion of London's homosexuals. The flatmate has christened one block of flats "Gaydar Towers".)

And then, there's the Holloway Road. Archway is at the top of it, and Highbury and Islington's at the bottom. As I've said Archway's a bit grotty, and by comparison Islington's a bit more upper crust - albeit still in that slightly shabby way only those with money seem to manage - but the road between them manages to be a rather terrifying no-man's land.

It's a world of betting shops, mangy pubs with damp furnishings, drunk arguing couples (of a Saturday morning) and a tang of urine in the air, illegal stall-holders and various other shady characters. It's also an area prone to terrifyingly violent attacks. (And those are just the stories I could verify - I've heard of many more and seen several fights.)

There's also the rumours about the Coronet, a JD Wetherspoon Pub in a converted cinema. Now I tend to avoid Wetherspoons anyway (horrid soulless places with arsey managers who are younger than me, in my general experience) but I keep hearing stories about this one which leave me faintly perturbed. From the outside you can tell it's big, and apparently inside it is enormous.

Enormous with lots of dark corners and no clear lines of sight.

Apparently it's not uncommon for drinkers to be quietly mugged or even for the cleaners to find dead bodies lying around at the end of the night. Obviously this is all hearsay but the fact there always seems to be flowers and cards of condolence outside does tend to lend a certain amount of credibility to the rumour.

So yeah, the Holloway Road is not a place to spend any time at all if you can really help it. And certainly not a place, it occurs to me, to be wandering around carrying a brand new flatscreen monitor for your computer.

Of course this only occurred to me on Saturday after I'd already reserved the thing and was on the 43 bus towards the Holloway Road Argos. By the time I'd actually picked the damn thing up and walked outside I was convinced everyone in eyeshot was a serial killer.

Salvation was in sight however. A northbound 43 was weaving its way up the road towards the nearby stop. Sadly said stop was on the other side of the road. Still I, and indeed a number of my fellow pedestrians, decided that taking my chances with the oncoming two lanes of traffic was probably safer than standing still.

And even with heavy traffic, scores of other lemmings doing the same thing and the lights being in favour of the bus, I got to the stop before it did and was safely home in twenty minutes.

I still can't remember much about how I did it though. Amazing how fear can focus the body and mind isn't it?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Somebody Call the Cops!

It's Betty Boo everyone!

Isn't she fabulous?

(The answer is "Yes!")

Giving It Up

Of course as I seemed horribly busy yesterday I failed to notice that it was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the forty days of Lent leading up to Easter.

Traditionally of course this is a period of fasting, penance and abstinence although to be fair in the Western Church this is less of a "one meal a day and don't even think about eating when it's daylight" (you know, something that might make you actually focus your mind a bit) as it is a "give up chocolate if you feel like it".

The whole flagellation thing is also not taken up very frequently here in the west - or at least not by those who would consider it a punishment. My father's trying to rectify this attitude amongst some of his more heathen parishioners but apparently he's not having much luck. It seems "it'll do you good" isn't considered much of an argument these days.

Looking back at yesterday the only thing I actually gave up was my lunch-hour and that was only because I had too much to do. It's also not something I intend to make a habit of over the next forty days. So did I give anything up yesterday? Let's see:

Large and tasty meals? No.
Coffee? No.
Wine? No.
Dope? No.
Dodgy sequels to 80's Spoof Horror Flicks? No.

So, failing on all counts there I think.

Still a novel modern idea is that you can take something on as a penance for Lent instead.

I'm thinking that possibly muesli might be as far as I'm willing to go on that score.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

And So It Creeps Closer...

Bird flu stalks ever closer to Britain now, with news that a German cat has died of the disease.

I must confess to not being unduly worried as yet. Instead I was slightly more concerned by one of the links on that BBC news page to a video clip offering us the chance to see a "Virology expert on how the cat may have caught bird flu".

Um. Well. Let's see if we can hazard a guess first shall we?

To be brutally frank I suspect that anyone who can't make a reasonably well-educated stab at this one probably shouldn't be allowed out on their own.

I mean, we've all seen Tweety and Sylvester, right?