Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This lady deserves several awards, including the coveted Standing Up and Being Counted in a Foreign Land Shield and the Order of the Heroic Bicyclist with a special citation for Services to the Undermining of Smelly Machismo.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Beware the man in coat and sunglasses

Only one rifle between us but the geezer to my right is a vigilant sort and who knows what kind of button my friend to my left has his finger on?

(Bit of a hostage to fortune moment here, I half fear)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Six word stories

Wired magazine has a feature about six word stories composed by their "favorite auteurs" (including, A., your favourite Ursula Le Guin). Bit more strict than my six url story. Here is my effort at the Wired format:

Magnum opus. Champagne magnum. Bullet (Magnum). Bloody mess.

Yeah, Ok, it is early in the morning.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The changing of the season

Just switched on the heated toilet seat.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Great Expectations

"People are put in the Hulks because they murder, and because they rob, and forge, and do all sorts of bad; and they always begin by asking questions. Now, you get along to bed!"

Troll taekwondo

Many great minds have worried over important issues such as "pirates versus ninja", "samurai versus knights" and "Smurfs versus Snorks", but a much more pressing question for me is:

Who would win, Gruffalo or Totoro?

Both seem to be trolls of a sort but Gruffalo has the poisonous wart while Totoro has the flying ability and, presumably, the help of the mouse.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Do not trust anyone who...

... substitutes the word "honest" with the word "transparent" [1].

Monday, October 16, 2006

Chelsea woe

Don't normally blog much about football but this article, about Chelsea's goalkeeper problems, made me chuckle. The last three paragraphs:

Cech faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on a depressed fracture of his skull.

Cudicini was also concussed and carried off during the match but was released from hospital later on Saturday.

The Italian, however, is doubtful for Wednesday's Champions League home tie against Barcelona and Chelsea are likely to turn to third choice keeper Hilario.

What a very unfortunate name for a third choice keeper! If only his dad had been called Solidio or Leapio or something. I hope he is very very good. The headline writers will struggle if he messes up because it is too obvious. It is really best left to the last word of the article, as in this one.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Arugorizumu Koushin

Let's recap, shall we? Back in July, in a post praising Japanese children's TV, I mentioned the Arugorizumu Koushin (Algorithm March), a dance led by two comedians which is a daily feature of the programmes. Adults of various occupation groups are roped in to accompany the comedians in their ridiculous dance. The main thing is the whimsicality of it all. Here, for instance, is the Ninja Arugorizumu Koushin(the bit after the solo dance). They have also done maiko (trainee geisha) and footie players. Anyway, getting to my point, I'm not sure the governor of this prison in the Philippines (where, presumably, the programme has been exported) got the spirit of the whole thing. Not exactly whimsical, more horrifying.


To my eye, grain elevators are monumental, in a lost civilisation kind of way, and also slightly sinister.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I'm not sure whether it is a good or a bad thing for a load of white politicians [1,2,3,4,5] to be debating in public the issue of Muslim women wearing veils. That is a genuine "not sure". This debate is teetering right on the faultline between multiculturalism and integration and there are relevant truths on both sides.

In the end, I found this guide to the veil the most informative thing to come out of the debate [2].

One little footnote I might add is that anyone saying that the covering of women's heads per se is somehow fundamentally alien to British culture should first read their St Paul and then might usefully take a look at the Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon DVDs [1,2], which show footage of working class women at the start of the 20th Century in and around Blackburn, the consitutuency of Jack Straw, the politician who started this debate:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Waiter, this wine is corked!

We connoisseurs of Martin Jacques's articles about Japan in the Guardian newspaper have come to savour the ill-informed stereotyping and gross over-generalisations that normally spice his work [1,2]. It was with some considerable disappointment then that I read his latest offering. Call that Jacques Japan article! The old platitudes are there but none (well, little) of the of the normal raving nonsense and ex-pat bar room theorising.

I suspect this article must have been poorly stored at the Guardian's offices. The sommelier must have taken a holiday or something. The subtle piquancies of Jacques's oriental meanderings must have been allowed to be oxidised by contact with the real world or something.