Sunday, October 28, 2012

the old home town looks the same

Myself: Hang on a minute while I comb back my wig and glue on a a goatee that screams "Punch me!"

Prodnose: What now? What now for pity's sake?

Myself: Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns and we turn with it. Plans disappear. Dreams take over.....

Prodnose: OK I get it, you're taking the Bomber back home to Wales for a chunk of half term. Enough with the Johnny Suede already!

Myself: But wherever I go, there you are — my luck, my fate, my fortune.

Prodnose (resigned): How can I miss you if you won't go away?

Myself: Cardiff. Inevitable.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

During the interval

I have been doing interval training once a week lately, in which I alternate a minute "sprinting" on the treadmill with walking while I recover.

Some idle mental arithmetic during the walk has revealed to me that my sprint is slower than the speed at which a quality marathon runner covers the whole twenty six miles.
Prodnose: You know, Stallion? It's too bad we gotta get old, huh?
Myself:: Ah, just keep punchin', Apollo... you want to ring the bell?
Prodnose: Alright... Ding Ding.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Thursday, 16 July, 1959: 7:45 P.M.
When S. returned this afternoon I asked her where she had been, and she said she had been in the street.
“Perhaps,” I said, “that explains why you look ‘rue’-ful.”
Her blank stare only reinforced for me the futility of existence.
Read more

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Neighbourhood of Voluntary Spies

I discovered that I didn't have my mobile with me when I got into work yesterday, but firing up the Find My iPhone app on the iPad made it a piece of cake to confirm I had just left it at home; panic averted.

It has made me wonder, however, about the Find My Friends app which, though I have never used it, is installed on all my iOS devices. "Set up automatic notifications — like when your husband leaves work, your kids arrive home, or your BFF is en route to the party" sounds more sinister than convenient.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

an in joke

What can I say? It made me laugh.

Monday, October 22, 2012

bear long

Myself (driving): How's it going?
The Bomber (slouched in passenger seat, arms folded, hood over eyes): OK.
Myself: How was school?
The Bomber: Fine.
Myself: How was the test?
The Bomber: Alright.
Myself: What did your teacher say?
The Bomber: Nothing.
Myself: Got any homework?
The Bomber: Did it in school.
Myself: Are you hungry?
The Bomber: Not really.
Myself: Did you win the rugby Monday?
The Bomber: Yeah.
Myself: Score any tries?
The Bomber: Yeah.
Myself: Oh good. It's always nice to get a thorough match report. (Suddenly thrilled): Hey listen the car indicator is clicking in time with the song on the radio!
The Bomber (shrugging then turning onto left shoulder): Awesome.
A strained silence ensues.
Myself: Did you know that testicle size is a common measure for the start of puberty?
The Bomber: You're talking a load of balls.
Laughter in court.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

on message

I received a message on the iPad the other day, and replied semi automatically. It didn't ever occur to me until a couple of hours later to wonder how on earth this had worked as there is no mobile phone functionality on an iPad.

I turns out that on iO6 there's an app called iMessages that sends texts over Wi-Fi rather than SMS to anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

I guess that Alex's mum was sending me a message from home so it went from her Wi-Fi to mine via the interwebs by default bypassing SMS altogether but blindsiding me.

All in all it is quite humbling never even to have heard of this when I mess about with devices for a living. I have no recollection whatsoever of setting it up for example.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Future that Works

"Austerity isn’t working" and the TUC has organised a protest march today in the centre of London. I will be there. Not from any great political commitment to be honest, but because my brother is coming up to town from Wales for it, and I don't get to see him as much as I should.

I have downloaded the event's iPhone app.
Get help in your pocket for marchers on October 20 with the TUC Live smartphone app. It has logistical information, maps and resources for those taking part on the day, as well as background on the case against austerity.
We’ll be using it to keep people up to date with the March and Rally for A Future That Works, and it’ll help you spread the word with friends to build the event and campaign.
I'm rather surprised and impressed they've got such a thing, but then again, on reflection, with push notifications and geolocation, it may be just the job. I'll run with it tomorrow and see if there is anything I can glean from it that could apply in our work.

How much press attention the march will get in Simon Cowell's Britain coming as it does the day after Girls Aloud have announced plans for their 10th anniversary reunion at a London press conference, remains to be seen.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bizarro World

The Daily Mail, which I won't have in the house, launched a campaign three years ago to stop Gary McKinnon's extradition to the United States.

Theresa May, who has stumbled on her kitten heels from crisis to crisis as Home Secretary and is about to stumble into another as Police Authorities are abolished in favour of elected Police and Crime Commissioners, nonetheless summoned up the backbone earlier this week to stop the British computer hacker being sent for trial on the other side of the Altantic.

"I believe extradition decisions must not only be fair, they must be seen to be fair. And they must be made in open court where decisions can be challenged and explained," she said.

"Good for Theresa May and three cheers for the Daily Mail" is a phrase I thought I would never write. They have saved America from itself as much as they have saved Mr McKinnon.

I wonder how much I could have won if I placed a fiver accumulator bet on that and on Dane Bowers playing for Cwmbran Celtic FC?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Black Dynamite

'Elvis Was A Hero To Most' or 'Weekend At Presley's' AKA 'The S**t That Killed The King'

When the President's plan to destroy the Black community with illegal drugs backfires, Tricky Dick unleashes his latest weapon: Special DEA agent Elvis Aaron Presley! The bloated, pillpopping, not-quite-Karate posing, King of Rock n' Roll is charged with confiscating all the drugs in the community and destroying its "ill-gotten gains." But Black Dynamite ain't going to let it go down like that.

I was half watching some action movie on Channel 5 called "Blood and Bone" when I got in late on Monday, seeming to recall that the Bomber has told me it was OK. Idly googling Michael Jai White, the star, I came across Black Dynamite in both its movie and animated series incarnations. It is quite as silly and as entertaining a thing as I have seen in a long time.


I went to Wimbledon Studios last night to see a showing, introduced by Managing Director Piers Read, of "The Iron Lady"; the Studios' House of Commons set is used used frequently throughout the film. For some reason imagining MerylStreep crafting an Oscar winning performance in a former warehouse in a light industrial estate around the corner makes me smile.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fibonacci in the fields

I cooked Romanesco broccoli last night for the first time after it arrived in my Riverford veg box. It tastes fine but it is a funny looking thing with its recursive, fractal, self similar spiral structure. I wouldn't recommend spending too much time staring at it if you were under the influence of weapons grade narcotics. It made me quite nostalgic for the Mandelbrot set Seventies.

We won the quiz again last night, largely fueled by the £50 bar tab from last week's win. The evening's net expenditure for the five us coming in at £4.70.

Inspired by my Mandelbroccoli, I started to wonder, uncharitably, if a lot of the opposition may not count towards my five vegetables a day.

Monday, October 15, 2012

the man with the child in his sights

I hear him 
Before I go to sleep
And focus on the day
That's been.
I realize he's there
When I turn the light off
And turn over. 
Nobody knows about my man.
They think he's lost on some horizon.
And suddenly I find myself listening
To a man I've never known before,
Telling me about the sea,
And all his love to eternity. 
Ooh he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.
Ooh he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes. 
Kate Bush's second single sounds quite sinister in the light of all this Jimmy Savile brouhaha, don't cha know.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

4 1/2 lines; 140 characters

Prodnose: .... our blushes, how sweet?

David St. Hubbins: It's such a fine line between stupid, and uh...
Nigel Tufnel: Clever.
David St. Hubbins: Yeah, and clever.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

kinky viae

A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom!
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom!
I got a girl with a notion of Arguing from Motion
Got a girl who never pauses, she Argues from Efficient Causes
She reasons with such stringency, she Argues from Contingency
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom!
There's a girl I've been seeing. who Argues from Gradation of Being
And there's a girl so fine, she Argues from Design
With her epistemology
She just don't know what she's doin' to me
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
Tutti Frutti, all rooty!
A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom!
Prodnose: I'm going to regret this, but what on earth are you on about now?

Myself: It's Aquinas' five arguments for the existence of God, re-imagined as a Little Richard vehicle.

Prodnose: I see. Of course it is. From the Summa Theologica.

Myself: I just bought 'The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' and there's a song on it called 'Into Your Arms' that begins "I don't believe in an interventionist God".

Prodnose: I don't believe in an interventionist God! That sounds like a cue for a song. Altogether now, One, Two, Three, Four!

Myself: Exactly. As general rule, if you want to write an essay write an essay and if you want to write a song, write a song. But I was tempted by a Thomist take on pop music.

Prodnose: Well if you've quite finished and you've got it out of your system, the Stones are back.

Myself: Old, dumb and full of come. At least we can agree on that.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I am Reg Smeeton

Narrator: Reg Smeeton, floccose red wig like a kipper nailed to his bonce, nodded with ill-feigned interest; but the butterfly flexions of his face muscles argued the mental tumult within - urging fervid facts chattering in Stockhausen tongues.
Smeeton: Drawing from my vast, though admittedly unresolved catalogue of general know-it-all, facts of interest etcetera, corroborated, corroboree: a sacred or warlike assembly of aboriginals, may I.. remind you of the exploits of one William Barker of Manchester? In the 1890s, Billy cleared a canal thirty-five feet wide, making a running jump, jack-knifing into a second to land, perfectly dry, on the other side.
Seth: I could clear a snooker table, full-length mind, from a standing jump before 'operation. I could've made a mint, had I been a bit more shrewd.
Smeeton: Did you know that the elephant shrew never closes its eyes?
Narrator: Through the intestinal smoke of Seth's pipe, Smeeton's sweat-spangled face, eyes straining with mad intensity behind glasses the shape of Ford Cortinas, shuddered with the ungovernable maelstrom of information, inessential, infantry and endless, that constituted the grotesque furniture of his mind. Filing cabinets unlocked; thesauri fell agape; data danced in strict formation, quick, quick, quick-quick quick... puzzles fitted - it all added up: niggling, self-edited, tumbling with clicking impatience, cross-reference and erupting gathered beserk-fierce, heedless and torrential, howling for outlet from his springboard lips.
Prodnose: You want me to ask about the quiz don't you?

Myself: Quizzes this week mate. Quizzes.

Prodnose (monotone): How did it go?

Myself: We won at the Antelope on Monday, and we won at the William Morris on Wednesday; £50 and £30 bar tab prizes respectively. We were winning at the interval in Tuesday's Wimbledon Bookfest Literary Quiz, but then ....

Prodnose: ..then?

Myself: Do I have to spell it out in a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad? We came third.

Prodnose: That's not too bad; bronze medal position.

Myself: (morosely):  "There are forces at work in this country about which we have no knowledge. Do you understand?"

Prodnose: The Queen to Paul Burrows?

Myself (brightening): Correct! So now there's everything to play for as we go into the next round .....

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Browne with two knees

I've been limping since I banged my knee against a table leg on Monday night, but much to my astonishment I could still do my half hour on the exercise bike on Tuesday and then, even more surprisingly, squats and other leg weight training yesterday.

Pondering this mystery, I have come to the conclusion that the knock I took is stopping me from straightening my leg out, but not impeding me at all with leg bends. When walking the leg straightens when the heel is planted. Standing or cycling, the knee is always at least slightly flexed. Hence, or otherwise, establish......

I'm on the mend now, but it is all very intriguing. I'm sure there are lessons to be learned but, for the moment, they elude me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The card

The Bomber has got a debit card now he's twelve. The initial idea being that he can take over responsibility for his online accounts (World of Warcraft and XBox Live Gold) and decide whether they are worth the dent they make in his pocket money.

Given that I pay them at the moment, the Burglar thinks this means I am taking money away from Ben, while presenting the change as a rite of passage birthday present. How true! I should have been a merchant banker. I can't see any flaw in the scheme at all.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Group Hug

Designers have come up with a jacket that actively gives you a cuddle when someone says they like you on the social network site.
The "Like-A-Hug" jacket inflates when someone clicks on the "Like" button putting a little more reality into virtual reality.
Designed by MIT student Melissa Chow, who said it "allows us to feel the warmth, encouragement, support, or love that we feel when we receive hugs".
Hugs can also be sent back to the original sender by squeezing the vest and deflating it.
What an excellent idea this is in the week of the Tory Party Conference: David's Cameroons can now hug-a-hoody without the inconvenience of actually meeting.

Dr. Strabismus (whom God preserve)of Utrecht is reportedly hard at work on version 2 inspired by the phrase "when you have a man by the balls his heart and mind will follow".

Monday, October 08, 2012

D'ye ken

The Naked Rambler has been released from prison in Edinburgh after serving his latest sentence for public nudity.
Stephen Gough has 18 convictions and has been in prison almost without a break since May 2006.
His previous spells of freedom have often been as little as a few seconds, with arrest following his refusal to wear clothes on departure from prison.
The offences of which he has been convicted are breach of the peace and contempt of court, refusing to wear clothes in front of the sheriff.
He has twice walked naked from Land's End to John O'Groats - in 2003-04 and 2005-06 - typically wearing only boots, socks, a rucksack and perhaps hat.
Gough's attitude has also hardened, with the rambler refusing to wear clothes in court or after being arrested, leading to contempt of court convictions.
The authorities in Scotland are growing rather weary.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Enough already

I was pleased to hear that the school put forty five points on Saint John Bosco College last Monday with the Bomber scoring two tries from full back, and Jonnie kicking four goals.

They are playing Graveny tomorrow so I wish them all the best.

The Old Ruts (as opposed to Rutlish school) were at a rugby festival run by King's College School Old Boys from 9 am this morning, so Ben has played four, admittedly shorter. matches today already.

He will also, unless I miss my guess, be sporting a very fetching shiner at the Graveny clash after getting a thumb in his eye being tackled, though I can't remember if it was London Irish, Wimbledon Warriors, Old Emmanual, or Kings who did the dirty deed.

Training and turning out for two rugby teams is great but its enough to be going on with don't you think? The idea that all kids should do two hours of sport every day seems a little ridiculous.

Two hours a day, fourteen hours a week, sixty hours a month just to keep fit. Don't make me laugh, and I speak as someone who hasn't missed a day training personally since my birthday back in June.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

And who is my neighbour?

As I was about to put the salmon in oven early yesterday evening I found that I had run out of tin foil so I popped out, in the pouring rain, to the Sri Lankan shop at the end of the road to pick some up.

A woman had broken down near the junction with the High Street, and was trying to push her car up Marlborough Road to get to a parking spot outside the no stopping red zone, so I told her that if she got in and steered I would get behind and do the shoving.

The only other person who stopped to help was the tall, bearded, scary guy who seems to spend most of his waking hours sitting on the bench outside the library drinking White Strike cider and railing against unseen foes.

Food for thought eh? Book and cover; mote and beam etc.

Friday, October 05, 2012

the fine art of surfacing

Share this film and earn cash rewards. When you promote this film on your website or blog, you will earn 10.0% of any sales that come through your referrals.

"Holy Motors" was on my radar anyway, but this looks like an interesting way of selling left-field material; blockbusters are scarcely going to be streamed while they're still showing at the first run theatres.

Further, it swam into my field of view as a tweet   

Things move quickly online, but the shill and the schmooze will be with you always.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Thegg oldegg manegg andegg hisegg friendsegg usedegg toegg speakegg inegg aegg streggange eneggcoeggded slangegg whenegg theyegg wereegg youngegg.

Doesegg aneggyeggone elsegg remeggemeggber Egg Langueggage?

Appeggarreggenteggly soegg!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Your best source of news from Sweden

Dog vest with wolf repelling chili
Published: tisdag 27 december 2011 kl 12:45 , Radio Sweden 1 gillar

A Swedish man has come up with a product to make hunting dogs less pleasing to the taste for wolves - a vest covered in pockets filled up with hot spices.
Entrepreneur Calle Ekström tells a local hunting magazine that the spices are 300 times hotter than tabasco and that he has to wear a breathing mask when he's concocting the potion. It is then put into sealed pockets in the dog's vest that are designed to burst if a wolf goes to attack and rips them open with its teeth.
Dr. Ekström (whom God Preserve) of Vilhelmima, I presume

Prodnose: Hello Nick. Did you know that large flat mushrooms start life as a button mushroom, grow into a closed cup and then, if allowed to grow long enough, eventually fill out into the larger flat type we often enjoy with a full English breakfast?

Myself: The mushroom life cycle is similar to that of the filamentous Ascomycota in that following monokaryons formation, there is a prolonged dikaryon stage prior to to karyogamy. However, a significant difference is that sexual organs are absent. It is thought that sexual organs of Basidiomycetes were lost during their evolution and that vegetative hyphae have taken over the function of sexual organs.

Prodnose: "To lose one ..... may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

How Rhodes Scholars Think

Dear Friends,
For most of the publishing world, October 2nd represents the release of Stephen Colbert's America Again. But for those of you who are citizens of The Polly Nation, tomorrow is the glorious day when the paperback version of Tapped Out drops like the Hammer of Thor, because unlike the photoshopped bruises on Colbert's cover, I actually got punched in the face for mine. Basically, I'm just like Stephen, only more bloody and less funny.
The reviews for Tapped Out have been very positive. The New York Times called it "Hypnotic." Sports Illustrated said it was "A vivid, breezy read." AndThe Bleacher Report declared it "The Best MMA Book of 2011." As part of the media tour, I had the chance to do a podcast with June Thomas at Slate, banter with Bas Rutten on Inside MMA, and join Ariel Helwani for a roundtable on The MMA Beat
To celebrate the paperback release, my publisher is offering a special deal: a signed, personalized copy of the paperback for $15 (including shipping in the U.S.) to the first 25 people who email me. Tell me how you'd like it personalized, and I'll hit you back with a paypal request.
For those of you who already have a copy, thank you. Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook. And if you want to tweet about the paperback release, call up all your friends, or, say, forward this email to your entire contact list, who am I to object. Spread the good news.
Matthew Polly
Matthew Polly (Princeton University, 1995, B.A., Religion and East Asian Studies; University of Oxford, 1998, M.A., Politics and Philosophy; Rhodes Scholar) presents himself to the world as an endearingly shambolic doofus in his wonderfully entertaining books, though he is clearly as sharp as a tack.

Five years ago he reached out over the interwebs with a gracious thank you when his first title (American Shaolin) won our prestigious El Grupo award (see Icons passim). Subsequently he also generously engaged the left half of his brain to answer some of my questions about Bodhidharma.

I've already read his new book, but when the email above dropped into my inbox this morning, I had no hesitation in passing it on (with a hearty recommendation) to anyone who happens upon this spoondrift.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Ars longa, vita brevis

The Bomber was twelve yesterday and took possession of his new bicycle as a present. I'm not sure if the wheels, the frame or a combination of the two are responsible, but his saddle is higher than mine and he certainly rides a lot faster than I do.

Due to my regular scribbling here, I can see that:
  • the stablisers came off his first little two wheeler on July 8, 2006 (Icons passim),
  • he's had his current bike since April 2007 (Icons passim),
  • and he first rode from Richmond to Windsor as a nine year old in 2010 (Icons passim).
Icons passim; tempus fugit.