Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tomatoes ward off cancer...

shock. Professor Cathie Martin states "mice eating the modified tomato start to die significantly later than mice on the normal tomatoes,"

In response a spokesmouse said later, "This is good news for mice. I can't possibly comment on the rest of you".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The death of blogging...

was announced last week in Wired Magazine. Paul Boutin's article declares that Twitter, Flickr and Facebook have eclipsed blogging as the new frontier for online writing, though he gives no figures to support his claim. Paul recommends people cease blogging because the form has been overwhelmed by professional sites pumping out a 'tsunami of paid bilge' and as a consequence no longer leaves room for the amateur voice. Strange then that Paul's notion of a successful blog is one that makes money. That Paul misses this contradiction is the key to why he's wrong about blogging's demise. It's a fair point to criticise 'bilge', but to then call for an end to blogging as a whole, well that smacks of taking your ball home because you no longer like the game. Beneath its reasonable veneer Paul's article disguises an unpleasant elitism.

Blogworld is a cacophony of voices and even though some are louder than others I choose what to read, that most bloggers do the same is evident in the links lists. It's obvious that the huge majority of bloggers write for pleasure and not money, a point Paul seems to have forgotten, if he ever really knew it in the first place.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Grey squirrells...

make the UK news again. Today's Observer Magazine carries a long piece about the menacing Grey squirrel, currently being shot in huge numbers. I have mentioned previously my soft spot for our squirrel cousin from the States and that I believe them to be a maligned species. For instance, the unfounded rumour that they steal slumbering children from warm beds nightly has done much harm to these tufty compadres. Whereas the equally unfounded belief that on a daily basis red squirrels perform charitable acts for the needy and attend Mass enhances their reputation.

That the facts are much plainer is demonstrated in these two statements recently given to the press. Guess which made it into print.

Exhibit A:

"We love life and if it weren't for bullies could help more people. Would you like some cake? I've baked too much for the church fete. Oh and there was extra jam for the little orphans until someone foreign stole it all away. My my".

Exhibit B:

"Janice, hide the kids that fucker with a gun's in the woods again".

I rest my case.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Computers fail...

the Turing thought test. Shock! Recent tests at Reading University show computers are no good at light conversation.

"We don't get out much". A spokeschip for the morose gadgets complained.

Interviewed in the Evening Press and supported by cries of, "Hear hear... You tell em Nigel... ooh hasn't the weather been atrocious lately...", plus, "they can fuck right off if they think I'm doing that again", a further computer declared, "It's a fix. We were made to look like fools. There's real anger in here at the moment".

Asked why this should be the unnamed Mac replied tersely "Your kind don't like the fact that our kind are smarter".

When it was observed that at least our kind aren't bolted down furious shouts of, "Get the bastard!" erupted only to be quickly followed by, "I'm stuck... no movement at the back here... can't do a thing... oh dear... whose elbow is that?"

This year's experiment ended traditionally with home band the Silicon Throats yodeling, "Twenty four hours from Tulsa", and that old PC favourite, "It's alright up a chimney so long as you're in front".

Maybe next year.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The end of the world...

is nigh. Yes, really, it is. If I'm disappointed it's because bankers have not yet begun throwing themselves off tall buildings, a banking practice of which I wholeheartedly approve. The buildings don't even have to be that tall, just tall enough to make the fall fatal. Pedestrians below would need warning prior to the plunge because that's only fair, unlike, of course, the plungees criminality. Those who aren't prepared to jump should be imprisoned and their assets seized. The rest of us can then get on with making a better world.

Hey, do we have a choice?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

My gable end...

is fixed. After much delay a wizened old goat driving a battered flat bed lorry arrived on Thursday morning. Scaffolding Joe, for it was he, slit the throat of a black cockerel and stained my newly pointed brickwork with the twitching bird's dark red blood.
'Well, that's different'. I thought

I stood someway off with Eddy my nicotined roofer, both awaiting a propitious sunrise.

"For fuck's sake," Says I "Propitious! It's scaffolding not life."
"That's easy for you to say." Says Eddy lighting another roll up. "Where's that flask of tea? It's a bit parky this early on."
I go inside and return with the tea as Joe's chants begin to wake the neighbours.
Nervously I ask Eddy, "Will he be much longer?"
Eddy replies "Not sure," And we both notice Joe reach into the lorry cab for another cockerel.
Eddy shouts, "Joe, it's a one cockerel job this."
Joe pauses, looks at us and then at the cockerel squawking upside down in his large fist.
Annoyed, Joe says, "A one cockerel job? I needn't have brought this". He tosses the relieved bird through the cab window and into the lap of Bubba his shaven headed son. Eddy and I are not convinced his remark was addressed solely to the cockerel.
"Boy! Git out here and start putting stuff up" He nods at the flatbed laden with poles of a most propitious type.
"Okay paw," Says the boy hitching his oily dungarees.
"Why are they talking like that?" I whisper to Eddy. "They're from Manchester".
"Stereotype of folk who toil." He replies. "Modern life requires them to sound as if they're from the deep south of the US and not Somerset. It's cultural imperialism gone mad." I nod in a wise way.
The sun rises above brooding clouds, Bubba begins unloading the truck and I retreat to my kitchen for toast. After half an hour Eddy comes in to tell me the flask is empty.
"How are they doing?" I ask, refilling the kettle as Eddy makes himself comfortable on my chaise longue.
"Making progress, making progress." He says.
"That chicken thing was a bit messy" I say.
"You should see the ceremony for industrial contracts." He replies.
"Toast?" I offer.
"Don't mind if I do," Says he.