Sunday, November 30, 2008

Captain America's a funny old chap

Captain America (Steve Rogers)

Captain America (Bob Russo)

Captain America (Scar Turpin)

Captain America (Bucky Barnes) of Earth-Captain America hadn't vanished during World War II

Captain America (Freedom Five) of Earth-Captain America Were Revived Today

Captain America (John Jameson) of Earth-The Punisher Became Captain America

Captain America (Robert Diamond) of Earth-The Punisher Became Captain America

Captain America (Kyle Richmond) of Earth-The Punisher Became Captain America

Captain America (Frank Castle) of Earth-The Punisher Became Captain America

Captain America of "Earth-69901" (Primax)

"Captain America" (Charlie Weiderman)

Captain America 2099 of Earth-928 (Dr. Doom 2099 foe) - by Zerostar

Saturday, November 29, 2008

pretty shitty city

Every day life in the graveyard of ambition:

Jason Wallace, 26, walked into the city's main police station and told how he had set fire to a flat because the occupant owed him money, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Wallace smelled strongly of alcohol and claimed he had downed nine litres of cider.

While at the police station he became worked up and officers asked a doctor for advice.

He told them to serve him lager to lessen the withdrawal symptoms of coming off a massive drinking spree.

Judge Gerald Price said: "Wonders will never cease. Does this mean that if you turn up at a police station and ask for alcohol you might get a drink?"

Justice Cocklecarrot presiding.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Baloney Detection Network

Does all I write here add up to, or reveal anything?

When it comes to finding patterns of meaning in meaningless noise, human beings are incorrigible.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I went to the Emirates to see Arsenal beat Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday night.

Fine fact the first:
The club was founded in 1927 as an amateur team, part of Dinamo, a nation-wide Soviet sport society. This society later became officially funded and patronized by the NKVD (a KGB predecessor), and later by the interior ministry (MVD). In the 1950s–1980s, team players were even officially ranked as police or interior armed forces officers.
Fine fact the second:
The story is often told of how the Dynamo team, playing as "Start, City of Kyiv All-Stars", was executed by a firing squad in the summer of 1942 for defeating an All-Star team from the German armed forces by 5 goals to 1.
A story that inspired in turn the idiosyncratic 1981 movie Escape to Victory, which brought together the sporting and histrionic talents of Sir Michael Caine, Sly Stallone, Pele, and Bobby Moore for the only times in their careers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

golden staph

I woke up this morning with the tingle in my eye that infallibly predicts the imminent arrival of a stye, and the rather fetching moustache that I am sporting has been grown since last Saturday as I can't shave around an infection at the bottom of my nostrils. On the positive side last week's cold sore has cleared up.

Prodnose: What are you doing Friday night, handsome?
Myself: Sod off. These are my three classic physical symptoms of stress.
Prodnose: I pustulate that you need a break.
Myself: Ho ho, very satirical.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ain't that grand

In the esoteric world of super-fast PCs, the speed benchmark is the SPEC CPU2006 test, which involves repeating meaningless tasks, such as manipulating enormous graphics files, continuously for three days. When the results came in last month, the Fi7epower had racked up a CPU2006 score of 130. The previous record was 85.5.
In supercomputing terms it had run at 80GFLOPS, or 80 billion floating-point operations per second. That’s 320 times the speed of the world’s first supercomputer, the Cray-1 of 1976.

80 billion floating-point operations per second are available for £3,995 in an electronics store off the Tottenham Court Road. The mind boggles. That box is almost powerful enough to keep track of the escalating public sector borrowing requirement.

When we started the company we budgeted £2,000 for each PC. These days (the beast above notwithstanding) it is hard to spec one up to cost that much, hard as the burglar tries.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rock against Redheads

Facebook 'Kick a Ginger' campaign prompts attacks on redheads.

But son that red man was your pa
The reddest man that lived by far.
There is absolutely no chance that anyone except me and Chris Howell will understand the allusions above.

Narrowcasting; is is the way forward?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Seen twice in at the cinema and now owned on DVD, Kung Fu Panda is my defiantly low-brow film of the year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beta not better or bitter

BBC One and BBC Two are to be streamed live via the IPlayer from next Thursday. Apparently BBCs Three and Four are already.

This is a long way on from the download only IPlayer Beta I got in August last year.

Fast times.

Friday, November 21, 2008

liboke na mbisi

The Double Club will open Saturday, November 22nd. The nearest tube station is Angel.

Eat Your Way Around The World in London has been on something of a hiatus recently, but we must find room in the schedule for the Congo-themed, and time limited Double Club.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Objects of Power

John has told me that the The Old Barn Inn Charity Horse & Cart Drive raised just shy of ten and a half grand. Congratulations to everyone involved.
A boxing glove signed by Joe Calzaghe now has pride of place on a wall in the office.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It is not the critic who counts

Rod reports that he is "almost off now..." and I continue to follow the news from DR Congo. Yesterday I read a piece in Slate by Michael J. Kavanagh, that is particularly ungracious about Alan Doss.
Although it is the biggest U.N. mission in the world, the MONUC mission in Congo has never received the full troop allotment it has asked for, and the civilian section is chronically and disastrously understaffed.

Ironically, the current head of the U.N. mission in Congo, Alan Doss, was hired to wind down the $1 billion-a-year operation. Instead, he's asking for reinforcements. To put it kindly, Doss' first 11 months in Congo have been inauspicious. He has stood by as massacres have taken place in Bas Congo and Ituri provinces and now he has permitted a rebel movement backed by a foreign country to essentially take over North Kivu.

Doss' staff is near mutiny. His force commander resigned after one month for "personal reasons," which U.N. insiders tell me was code for We're heading for disaster, and I don't want to be at the helm. People who know much more about Congo than Doss say he has absolutely no vision for the east.

It took until Sept. 19 for Doss to request more peacekeepers for North Kivu, even though there had been cease-fire violations for months and three weeks of outright war. Now, nearly two months later, it looks as if the United Nations may be thinking about possibly considering sending reinforcements to North Kivu. Perhaps. If the United Nations says yes, the deployment will take two or three months, which raises the question of what 1 million displaced people will eat in the meantime, since the current insecurity prevents them from harvesting their fields.

This reads like character assassination to me. If MONUC is disastrously underarmed and undermanned and Doss was hired to wind it down, then requesting reinforcements looks like an act of courage to me. To claim "he has stood by as massacres have taken place" is extraordinarily pejorative language. DR Congo is bigger than Western Europe. There are nearly twice as many officers in the London's Metropolitan Police as there are UN troops in the whole Godforsaken country. How is he supposed to cover the ground?

Finally which is braver, sticking it out or resigning "after one month for personal reasons, ..... code for We're heading for disaster, and I don't want to be at the helm".

Not for the first time, I find myself quoting Teddy Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Alan Doss of Cardiff: A Welsh Born Icon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Polarizing the audience

Sixteen artists, a tour guide and a scriptwriter respond to unusual and overlooked outdoor spaces in South London. The artists dissect, re-arrange and re-imagine disused and contested spaces creating thought-provoking interventions, hidden installations and humorous performances amongst the suburban fabric of Colliers Wood.
And to think missed it.

I would particularly like to have seen "a couple of artists dressed as polar bears relaxing in the middle of a busy roundabout". I bet that was Ilka Leukefeld.
Twelve human beings are dressed up in polar bear suits.
The suits are randomly stitched together from old fake fur coats, dressing gowns, fleece jumpers, etc. The bears look just like rag dolls and all of them are wearing hand made and crude looking bulls and cows masks. They communicate with each other by 'mooing' in a gathering that lasts about twenty minutes.
Obvious really.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bomb Proof

We're auctioning a Glasdon Interceptor Postal Bomb Container (holder for suspicious items received in the post), if you happen to need one.

An interesting piece of kit; I could have done with it when I opened my last Barclaycard bill.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I know it’s easy to make jokes about people who live out their fantasies online via geeky computer games that function as alternative worlds. David Pollard and Amy Taylor are, or rather were, one such couple. They are getting divorced because Taylor, 28, caught Pollard, 40, having an online “relationship” with a cartoon person, or avatar, and found the pain of cyber-infidelity too hard to bear. “It was the ultimate betrayal,” she said last week.

Easy to poke fun at, but irresistible

Second Life is in the news again. I didn't get it two years ago. I still don't.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lettuce Pray

My brother John is in town. I have a hangover. These two events are not unconnected.

I hope that when I sober up I will find out that lettuce ladies were only a bad dream.

If it wasn't for Kali, seventeen hundred year old jokes, and Google I could have carried on in blissful ignorance . From here on in a BLT is a euphemism, not a sandwich.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Dead Slave Sketch

An Abderite sees a eunuch talking with a woman and asks him if she's his wife. The guy responds that a eunuch is unable to have a wife. "Ah, so she's your daughter? "
A collection of 265 jokes called Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, which dates from the fourth century AD has now been published in an online book, featuring former Bullseye presenter and comic Jim Bowen presenting them to a modern audience.
Some jokes are likely to baffle modern audiences, however - especially the ones about lettuce, which only make sense if you share the ancient superstition that the vegetable is an aphrodisiac.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Level cap increased to 80
New high-level Death Knight character class
Introduction of "Inscription" profession
New enemy: The undead armies of the Lich King
Introduction of siege weapons
New player-vs-player battlefields

Is there no end to delight? Be still my beating heart, "The Wrath of the Lich King" is out. The Bomber and all his chums will be delighted. I can make neither head nor tail of it. I wonder if this is anything to do with the gigs of patches WoW has been applying to itself over the last few weeks?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It goes without saying, that Chesterfield's Letters to His Son remain the touchstone of the modern paterfamilias.

F'rexample; readin' on the bog,
I know a gentleman, who was so good a manager of his time, that he would not even lose that small portion of it, which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets, in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained; and I recommend you to follow his example. It is better than only doing what you cannot help doing at those moments; and it will make any book, which you shall read in that manner, very present in your mind.
Sorted. I recommend it to Ed Balls.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Though it is not supported, the the BBC has released a BBC iPlayer widget that can be downloaded and installed on Nokia N95 handsets.

With it ensconced on my phone I will be able to squint at BBC shows on the tiny little screen whenever I am anywhere with wi-fi access.

I cannot see what possible use this will be to me, yet I will still almost certainly try it out

What utterly ridiculous behaviour.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Steam Punk

Reading an interview with Neal Stephenson in the Telegraph, I see that he is getting into my beloved Bartitsu and the articles from Pearson's Magazine as well.

I've got it so bad I evern commissioned paintings (from Tess) based on the illustrations. See A very Serviceable Way to Disable a Taller Man than Yourself when Opposed to Him under Unequal Conditions II below (a hint of Magritte I think):

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hanging up the gloves

Perfect says USA Today:

Super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe extended his perfection to 46-0 with a unanimous 12-round decision against Roy Jones Jr. Saturday night in what might have been the final bout for both fighters.

It was the second huge victory this year for "The Pride of Wales," who gained a split decision against aged but cagey Bernard Hopkins on April 19 in Las Vegas.

"This year I beat two legends in Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones and I came to the U.S. to do it," he said. "I took the risk. They didn't come to me. I'm just so happy. I worked so hard, and it all paid off."

Before he flew out to the States, Joe signed some gloves to raise funds for The old barn inn charity horse & cart drive in aid of Ty Olwen hospice and continuing care fund, as mentioned here previously and part organized by my brother.

A gent as well as a champ.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Recession Proof

A controversial traffic system, thought to have cost motorists a third of a million pounds in fines this year, is set to be changed.

Transport for London (TfL) are considering a redesign of the box junction in Colliers Wood - and until this happens they have promised a “common sense approach” to fining drivers caught out by the complicated system.

The 26 metre long box is in Christchurch Road, near Colliers Wood Underground Station. The issue was brought up with TfL by Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, who claimed that it had caught out 2,880 drivers this year - leading to more than £300,000 of fines.

I'm among the victims of this piracy. or should that be the 2,880 hardened criminals who have been dealt with by the Robin Hoods of Transport for London.

Friday, November 07, 2008


For all we've been worrying about MacKenna in DR Congo, it appears he isn't there yet.

I got a note yesterday saying, "am, however, still confined to the relative safety of the European continent but hope to be off really soon now as my UN contract has only just now come through...".

At least now we know the crisis isn't his fault. Its eruption correlated so precisely with what I imagined was his arrival that my suspicions were aroused.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Look on the bright side

If you had purchased $1,000 worth of AIG stock a year ago, you would have $44.34 left.

With Wachovia, you would have had $54.74 left of the original $1,000.

With Lehman, you would have had $0.00 left.

But if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year, drunk all of the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminium recycling refund, you would have $214 cash.

Credit the crunch.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Morning in America

Obama wins historic US election: Oops, I got that wrong.

At least the people of the US have some sort of say in deciding the identity of the political figurehead who represents them to the world. The fait accompli of the Blair/Brown stitch up to which we've been subjected bears much more resemblance to the cynical Putin/ Medvedev succession than it does to the "bet the farm" panache of replacing Bush with Obama.

(I thought McCain's concession speech was very gracious, for what it's worth.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I am not in the office at the moment

The English is clear enough to lorry drivers - but the Welsh reads "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mony Monday

Prodnose: How'd you find yourself this morning?
Myself: I just pulled back the sheets and there I was!

Prodnose: But you're feeling fit, you're ready for duty?
Myself: I toss and turn in the middle of the night, but I feel all right. I say Yeah ..

Prodnose: Yeah?
Myself: Yeah!

Prodnose: Yeah?
Myself: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! 'Cause you make me feel ..

Prodnose: Mony, mony!
Myself: so ...

Prodnose: Mony, mony!
Myself: good!

Prodnose: Mony, mony!
Myself: so good!

Prodnose: Mony, mony!
Myself: so good!

Prodnose: Can we get on with it then?
Myself: J'errais dans un méandre; J'avais trop de partis, trop compliqués, à prendre; J'ai pris ..

Prodnose: Lequel?
Myself: Mais le plus simple, de beaucoup. J'ai décidé d'être admirable, en tout, pour tout!

Pepe Le Pew: I pierce you with the ack-ack of love, flowerpot.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Leaving a bad taste

I remember reading somewhere, that an elderly Jorge Luis Borges on a lecture tour of the United States once reacted to a crude inference about the young female secretary who was accompanying him by unhesitatingly challenging the cad who had dared to utter it to a duel, despite being over ninety years of age and legally blind at the time. The William Grove spirit, that's the thing.

I merely offer it as an observation to Andrew Sachs.
Refugees fleeing the Civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo said their suffering had been made far worse this week after learning of the obscene radio broadcast made by ‘so-called’ comedians Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. The brutal African war is entering its tenth year, but UN observers on the ground say that this week’s BBC Radio 2 scandal has left morale in the region at an all time low.
Jokes are funny things.

Rod - who is now in the Congo as you remember, where laughs are pretty scarce I imagine - had a gag published in the Economist (at the bottom of this link) earlier in the year.

SIR – Your review of a book on Soviet cars (“Spluttering to a halt”, July 12th) reminded me of the old Soviet joke about the man who finally puts together enough for a deposit for a car.

Having handed over his hard-earned roubles to the factory boss, he is told to return in exactly 8.3 years on June 4th when his new car will be ready. Okay, he says, but should I come in the morning or the afternoon?

Puzzled, the car boss asks why and the man replies, “It’s just that there’s a chance the plumber said he could come around on that date”.

Rod MacKenna
Prévessin, France
Prodnose: I don't understand
Myself: No you don't, "and it might serve me in a time when jests are few”.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


It's half term - or was until yesterday - so the kids can stay up later as they don't have to go to school next day. Thus we were delighted to host a friend of the bomber for a sleep-over after muay Thai on Thursday.

Almost exactly two years after - as my daily writing habit reminds me - we learned that our guest's uncle was in the movie business, we remembered to show the nephew that his mother's brother was featured on the Mr & Mrs Smith DVD. Very cool.

The new Bond movie opened last night. Here - from the Quantum of Solace's YouTube channel - is Uncle Simon's contribution.