Saturday, May 31, 2008

Degrees of Separation

Mixed Martial Arts is making its network debut on CBS this weekend in the States.

To celebrate this momentous event I present 3 degrees of separation between the New Ninja Bomber and MMA pin up Gina Carano, who will be appearing on the bill.

1. The New Ninja Bomber training with Woytek in 2006 (time flies).

2. Woytek winning his British Championship with Master A on the left and Jonnie Boon on the right.

3. Master A on the set of Muay Thai Ring Girls with Gina Carano et al.

4. Gina Carano - she does scrub up well.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Plug In, Turn On, Drop In the Ocean

A Google Earth Web Plug In for Windows Users. The implications are astounding. I think the world just turned on its axis. Install the plug-in and click and scroll above. You'll be able to move the world on its axis too! Double-click to zoom, or drag-and-drop to rotate.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Muay Thai v Godzilla

Funny as the animation above is, it seems even funnier in a world where I know that Dave - inspired by American Shaolin - has taken up Shotokan Karate. Is there no end to the aftershocks from my mid-life crisis?

The land of smiles is taking over Trafalgar Square on June 14th.

Ah Thailand; the best food, the best fighting and the best fornication in the world to paraphrase Matt Polly, the American Shaolin himself.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the largely unappreciated squid

I read "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain" at around the same time as Sean's "The Ethics of Writing: Authorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche", and I was struck, or more accurately amazed, by the overlap of some of the concerns of the former - a popular science book - and the latter - "which is aimed at advanced undergraduates, graduates and academics with interests in literature, literary theory, critical theory, literature and philosophy, philosophy (particularly Continental Philosophy) as well as in theology, cultural studies and political theory".

(Bear with me as I need to take a breath after that last sentence.)

The treatment of writing in Plato's dialogue The Phaedrus is central to both, but more surprisingly the science book suggests that modern advances in brain scanning make Eric Havelock's apparently esoteric thesis "that all of Western thought is informed by a profound shift in the kinds of ideas available to the human mind at the point that Greek philosophy converted from an oral to a literate form" potentially open to investigation via non-invasive medical techniques as the reading brain is demonstrably organised differently from the pre-literate version.

PRODNOSE (obnoxiously): Well I never!

MYSELF (coldly): See also Orality and Literacy by Father Walter Jackson Ong, the late American Jesuit priest, professor of English literature, cultural and religious historian, and philosopher. He will be sadly missed, unlike you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Getting Sentimental

I took the Bomber to Wales over the long Bank Holiday weekend.

Yesterday he kept asking me when I was going to pack. I was a trifle bemused by this as I didn't think he wouldn't be anxious to leave.

When I finally relented and climbed the stairs, he scampered along after me to make sure he was there when I discovered that he'd filled the suitcase already.

Even though it meant that I've left two shirts behind, I was rather touched by this small incident, and now by recording it here (rather like this) I can ensure I won't forget it.

So there.

Good old Blogger Pages, "we don't just help with the nasty things in life, like a blocked drain— we're here for the nice things too!"

Monday, May 26, 2008


n. (pl. amanuenses ), employee who writes from dictation; secretary.

"Secretary" is rated R for strong sexuality, some nudity, depiction of behavioral disorders, and language.

So now you know, book clubs of Bradford on Avon.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

An unjustly neglected gem

"What I'm really thinking about is my brand new pair of butterfly roller skates."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Return of the Jedi

I'm amazed to see that I haven't inaugurated a new Welsh Born Icon since John Hughes got the nod last October.

Let's address that deficiency at once.

Richard Marquand (22 September 1938 – 4 September 1987) is hereby elected to the pantheon; best known for directing the blockbuster Star Wars film Return of the Jedi, he was born in Llanishen, Cardiff.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Grand Old Party

As I gaze across the Atlantic from my mountain fastness, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that McCain is going to win the Presidential election by a country mile.

The key has been Bush and McCain's masterly inactivity as Obama and Clinton ripped each other to shreds. Clinton lost the plot when she "misremembered" coming under sniper fire, and Obama - more subtly - made a major error of judgement in using his maternal grandmother as an example of institutional racism in his "A More Perfect Union" speech. That will come back to haunt him.

I've been guessing for a while that when - as seems likely -Barack gets the nod over Hilary, McCain will triangulate the race issue by picking Condi Rice as his running mate.

I'm not the only one ruminating along these lines. See the poll from The Times on the right. You can vote on it up until midnight tonight UK time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Pleasure Principle

I am still on an Edward James jag, hence René Magritte's The Pleasure Principle (Portrait of Edward James) - 1937. Oil on canvas. 79 x 63.5 cm - appears above.


Jon goes to give Janey the repaired watch, only to discover he has left it in his lab coat, which is inside the intrinsic field experiment test chamber. While Jon is inside the test chamber retrieving his coat the door closes, automatically locking as a safety feature. Unable to open the door or override the countdown, Osterman's colleagues - save for Janey, who cannot bear to see the last moment and flees the room - can only watch, horrified, as the countdown for the current experiment shortly reaches zero, and Jon has his 'intrinsic field' removed. Bathed in the radiant light, he is torn to pieces from the force of the generator, instantly vaporized and officially declared dead.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Sean's novel "Deadwater" has been published in France in translation.

That's just about the coolest thing I've ever heard.

Strictly I think Deadwater should be rendered as Mortimer, but you can't have everything:
The name almost certainly derives from "Mortemer", site of the Cistercian Abbaye de Mortemer between Les Andelys and Évreux in Normandy. The land was gifted to the Cistercians by Henry II in the 1180s. Finding the land to be marsh-land (in old french, dead water' or "Morte Mer"), the monks dug out a large drainage lake and built the Abbaye de Mortemer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fight Night

I attended Fight Night 8 in Woking last night. Quite a contrast - you would be right in thinking - from last Sunday's Hamlet.

I was supporting Woytek who unfortunately got beaten on a TKO when his opponent (from the Griphouse in Glasgow) caught him with a knee to the liver.

A random observation; when you see a slim white South African girl fighting in the ring with a Rasta trainer working her corner you may safely conclude that the world has changed beyond recognition over the last few decades and in some ways for the better.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Portsmouth 1 Cardiff 0

Lines on the FA Cup Final inspired by Frank Henessy

Yes I knows that we was good, but Pompey was more gooder
I takes it philosophically, I takes it like a buddha

This is not the time for us to do the Ayatollah
Come now boys, there has to be a better path to follah.

Bashin' our heads don't half hurt so we need somethin' calmer
Smile, relax think "we done well" and do the Dalai Lama.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Of No Conceivable Interest

I'm on the road.

Away from computers and connections.

I composed this yesterday (now as I write).

It is posted today (though written yesterday) courtesy of Blogger's new scheduled post facility.

Ditch water dull as it may be, that is all.

I apologize for wasting your time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What goes around

Click on the image above. George W Crane had criteria for rating husbands as well as wives.
38. Ardent lover – sees that wife has orgasm in marital congress. (20)

While we are on the subject of sexual politics, in a judgement worthy of Cocklecarrot, we now learn:

Referring to the 2003 Act, Lord Justice Hughes said: "The intention of Parliament was to mean female breasts and not an exposed male chest.
"The former are still private – amongst 21st century bathers – the second is not.
This Act didn't mean to refer to the male chest but only to female breasts, it follows that the judge's directions on the meaning of breasts was erroneous.
(sensation in court)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Swans Reflecting Elephants

In 1936 London hosted its first International at the New Burlington Galleries. Salvador Dali was an invited speaker and in an effort to demonstrate that he was delving into the depths of the unconscious, he decided to deliver his lecture from within a diving suit. Unfortunately he began to suffocate and tried to remove the helmet but it had been bolted down. The public, thinking it was all part of the act, started to applaud. Edward James. who acted as Dali's translator, realised what was happening and used a billiard cue to remove the helmet.

Prodnose: Do you really expect me to believe that?
Myself: Do you think I give a fig for your belief, disbelief or unbelief you snivelling cur? As it happens that is true, but now that my dander is up try this on for size:

Once upon a time in Oxford, some believe around the nineteen twenties, Edward James was walking down the road, contemplating whatever it is that a man of Edward James’ infinite power contemplates - which is another way of saying 'who knows' - when Harold Acton appeared, traveling in the opposite direction. As the Aesthete and the Surrealist crossed paths, James, in a practically unfathomable display of generosity, gave Acton the slightest of lobsters. The lobster was not returned. Now was it the intention of the dilettante to insult the poet or did he just fail to see the generous social gesture? The motives of Acton remain unknown. What is known, are the consequences. The next morning James appeared at Christ Church College and demanded of the Dean that he offer his neck to repay the insult. The Dean at first tried to console James, only to find James was inconsolable. So began the moussaka of Christ Church College and all 60 of the dons inside upon the billiard cues of the Surrealists.

Prodnose: Go boil your head.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's a living

I am off to Edward James' West Dean today.

An early start is required, hence brevity.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Every Sunday at 5pm the Factory Theatre company puts on a semi-improvised performance of Hamlet at an "interesting" venue.

Yesterday it was our very own Chapter House. The rather scary modus operandis is explained here. You have to take a prop, so I grabbed my trusty tiffin-box and joined the throng, rather fearful that we were about to get some sort of guerrilla operation along the lines of John Gorman's militant "Masked Poet" from TISWAS all those years ago.

In fact it was great fun, and I was delighted to see my prop featuring prominently. Polonious handed it to Laertes as he bid him farewell on his return to France. Laertes brought it with him when he came back to the court on learning of his father's death, then he and King Claudius kept handing it back and forth between each other as the plot against Hamlet was hatched.

A ruined Chapter House is indeed a fine place to emote:

Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business, as the day
Would quake to look on. for future weeks.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I invested in Grand Theft Auto IV for the XBOX 360 this weekend. What a changed world we live in when the Torygraph publishes cheats for it.

It's all a long way from the Colossal Cave Adventure.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Oh to be seven again, to empty your piggy bank, pour the accumulated coppers through the Coinstar machine in Sainsbury's, then - with the proceeds burning a hole in your pocket - buy a Twix and pocket a fiver.

It's all good for the New Ninja Bomber.

Friday, May 09, 2008




1. something that makes repeated, regular and annoying interruptions or diversions
2. disdain for the clarification of meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases in the homework of seven year old boys

2008, from punk "an attitude of rebellion against tradition"

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bona Brideshead

I was amazed to discover the other day that you can see all of the classic 80's TV series Brideshead Revisited online and legitimately for free at

I've started watching it and Sebastian and Charles are certainly a lot camper than I remembered; "naughtiness high on the catalogue of grave sins" indeed.

I'm likely to need to create a drinking game to go with it if I'm to struggle through the rest. There's plenty of inspiration:

Come with me now to the Evelyn Waugh/Round the Horne mash-up that the world didn't know it was waiting for:

a string quartet plays

CHARLES RYDER: But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiousity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city ....... beyond a sign that promised "Bona Gardens".

JULIAN (screaming): Ooh hello Mr Ryder, I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy.
SANDY(also screaming): Ooh hello. No Sebastian today, no Aloisius?
JULIAN: Old delicious and his Aloisious!
SANDY: Oy stifle yourself! Isn't he bold Mr Ryder? Ain't he bold!
JULIAN: Now let's have a vada at this garden.
RYDER: It's through here.. .
JULIAN: Yes, you have your Florentine marble
SANDY: Comes lovely in Florentine marble
JULIAN: Or you have your ceramics.
SANDY: Oh, fab ceramics - all hand done by a disciple of William Morris in Ladbroke Grove.0r, Jules, wait a minute, how do you see his patio?
JULIAN: Don't rush me, don't rush me - it's beginning come over me in waves. I see it as a miniature version of the piazza in Florence.
SANDY: Oh, it's a breakthrough! Mr. Ryder, he's broken through. No - no - wait a minute - no - it won't work -

RYDER: Perhaps it won't work because all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.

PRODNOSE: But then again, perhaps not.

MYSELF: Ooh bold!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

cherubs howl for blood

The Ayatollah (football celebration).

Sometimes I think that I am comparatively normal for a guy from Cardiff.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Game

Here's a curiousity as the tension rises ahead of the FA Cup Final; a Dannie Abse poem from the Fifties about Cardiff City.

Follow the crowds to where the turnstiles click.
The terraces fill. Hoompa, blares the brassy band.
Saturday afternoon has come to Ninian Park
and, beyond the goalposts, in the Canton Stand
between black spaces, a hundred matches spark.

Waiting, we recall records, legendary scores:
Fred Keenor, Hardy, in a royal blue shirt.
The very names, sad as the old songs, open doors
before our time where someone else was hurt.
Now like an injured beast, the great crowd roars.

The coin is spun. Here all is simplified
and we are partisan who cheer the Good,
hiss at passing Evil. Was Lucifer offside?
A wing falls down when cherubs howl for blood.
Demons have agents: the Referee is bribed.

The white ball smacked the crossbar. Satan rose
higher than the others in the smoked brown gloom
to sink on grass in a ballet dancer's pose.
Again, it seems, we hear a familiar tune
not quite identifiable. A distant whistle blows.

Memory of faded games, the discarded years;
talk of Aston Villa, Orient and the Swans.
Half-time, the band played the same military airs
as when The Bluebirds once were champions.
Round touchlines the same cripples in their chairs.

Mephistopheles had his joke. The honest team
dribbles ineffectually, no one can be blamed.
Infernal backs tackle, inside forwards scheme,
and if they foul us need we be ashamed?
Heads up! Oh for a Ted Drake, a Dixie Dean.

'Saved' or else, discontents, we are transferred
long decades back, like Faust must pay the fee.
The Night is early. Great phantoms in us stir
as coloured jerseys hover, move diagonally
on the damp turf, and our eidetic visions blur.

God sign our souls! Because the obscure Staff of
Hell rule this world, jugular fans have guessed
the result half way through the second half
and those who know the score just seem depressed.
Small boys swarm the field for an autograph.

Silent the Stadium. The crowds have all filed out.
Only the pigeons beneath the roofs remain.
The clean programmes are trampled underfoot
and natural the dark, appropriate the rain
Whilst, under lampposts, threatening newsboys shout.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Road

I've finished Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". I read so much science fiction in my youth that the barren post-apocalyptic landscape in which is set seemed almost cliched. At its heart the story is a fable about a father and a son and their love and sacrifice in a wicked world; think Life is Beautiful refracted through A Boy and His Dog.

Reviews always comment 0n the spareness of the prose. I think that this is because someone shook the typescript until every quotation mark and about one apostrophe in two fell out, leaving us with dialogue along the lines of:
Are you talking now?
But you're not using quotation marks?
Or apostrophes in negative contractions?
I wont use them ever.
But we'll use them elsewhere.
I'll always do that.
Do you want to die?
Prodnose: Not exactly a barrel of laughs then?
Myself: This is a shocking and brilliant work, at once terribly pertinent and impressively universal. (I wonder what I mean by that?)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Elegy of innocence and youth

This week I had to tell my seven year old that a nursery and school friend of his had died. We knew he was ill. He and his family had moved away from London to Wales for special and palliative care some time ago but we still kept in touch and often visited when we were back in my home town catching up with family.

Ben didn't say much of anything when I told him, but kept all these things and pondered them in his heart, quietly asking his Mum about it when she put him to bed that night.

Hard learning for my little boy, but harder for the immediate bereaved family. Rest in peace.
Here amid the warmth of the rain, what might have been
is resolved into the tenderness of a tall doom
who says: 'You did your best, rest - and after you the bloom
of what you loved and planted still will whisper what you mean.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I am Iron Man

Wildly Popular 'Iron Man' Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film

I took the New Ninja Bomber along to the new Iron Man movie yesterday. It has the most blatant Burger King product placement I have ever seen, all Tony Stark wants after his dramatic escape in an "American Cheeseburger", but as we dined at Burger King before the movie and picked up the tie-in souvenirs it all rather added to the occasion.

Friday, May 02, 2008


A post to fit the fine title above - a new word coined by me - has yet to pop into my febrile mind, but that is no reason not to share it with you.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Time is a funny thing. Time is a very peculiar item. You see when you're young, you're a kid, you got time, you got nothing but time. Throw away a couple of years, a couple of years there... it doesn't matter.

I need to look at the Google App Engine.
I need to look at Microsoft Live Mesh.
I need to look at Yahoo! Open Strategy.

I've got a SQL Server Data Service Private Beta Invitation to which I haven't even managed to reply.

The world is going the way I've imagined for a while, but I'm floundering in its wake.