Friday, October 30, 2009

Hot Mormon Muffins

Is it too earlier to start thinking about next year's calendars?

The muffin man is seated at the table in the laboratory of the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen; reaching for an oversized chrome spoon he gathers an intimate quantity of dried muffin remnants and, brushing his scapular aside, procedes to dump these inside his shirt.

He turns to us and speaks. "Some people like cupcakes better. I for one care less for them!"

Arrogantly twisting the sterile canvas snoot of a fully charged icing anointment utensil he poots forths a quarter-ounce green rosette near the summit of a dense but radiant muffin of his own design.

Later he says, "some people... some people like cupcakes exclusively, while
myself, I say there is naught nor ought there be nothing so exalted on the
face of God's grey Earth as that prince of foods... the muffin! "

Girl you thought he was a man
But he was a muffin
He hung around till you found
That he didn't know nuthin

Girl you thought he was a man
But he only was a-puffin
No cry is heard tonight
As a result of him stuffin'

Hey Jude

Hat tip, Simon

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Azure thing

Microsoft launched the SQL Azure Database Community Technology Preview (CTP) yesterday and I signed up.

We are one step closed to being able to drop our apps into the cloud, and rid ourselves of the need to invest in physical servers; nirvana I have been seeking since August 2006.

The giddy social whirl notwithstanding, I need to schedule some quality time with the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Whoa! WoA

Off the Chessington World of Adventures with the Bomber and the usual suspects yesterday afternoon, what with it being half term 'n all.

Queuing for up to an hour to be thrown round like a rag doll for five minutes is not really my cup of tea, but needs must.

Before we got on the Vampire ride for the second time he told me he wanted to get the photo they take automatically as a souvenir "this time", so I was forced to adopt a rictus grin - instead of my usual expression of abject terror - throughout the ordeal so it at least looked like I was enjoying myself.

Worked though.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Funes el memorios

As I have form getting confused about;

1. what country we are going to (back in the pre Euro days when it was a real drag)
2. what week we are actually going (both last year and this year regarding an abortive Dublin trip),

I think I should record here that 2010's skiing trip will be to Cervinia in Italy, and we'll be away from 14 to 21 March.

It is never too early to check out the weather forecast.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Weekend's Work

The Bomber above, skippering Bondy's boat on the Thames on Saturday.

He also scored a try and won the Man of the Match Golden Boot in his rugby debut at the Old Ruts on Sunday.

All in all, a satisfactory couple of days.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


The journey of the Bomber and I back from Whitton yesterday was interminable.

I point the finger at BROWNE who were digging up most of Kingston, much excavation being on hold as they were waiting for some special equipment.

I also find Rick Browne someing of a trial.

What are we going to do Kali? I fear for the escutcheon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Film 2009

Three years after this (tempus fugit eh?), "Uncle Simon" is to helm a new Bruce Willis movie; Kane and Lynch will be "the story of a mercenary teaming up with a schizophrenic psychopath to save his wife and daughter". Let's get ready to rumble!

Also, on the film beat, the HMV Curzon has opened in Wimbledon giving me on the doorstep access to art house fayre for the first time in a decade.

Bright Star and Thirst are on the agenda:
When a priest (Song Kang-ho) volunteers to receive a vaccination created to eradicate a deadly virus, he is given a transfusion infected by vampire blood. Acquiring super-human skills and a voracious sexual appetite, he embarks on a killing spree and a passionate affair with the wife of an old school friend. Not surprisingly, the new film from the director of ‘Old Boy’ is a darkly comic thriller that explores the nature of sin, and the pleasures of the flesh.

Friday, October 23, 2009

some excellent ideas for promotion

To start: Do you blog? If not, get in touch with Kris and Christopher from our online department, although at this point I think only Christopher is left. I’ll be out of the office from tomorrow until Monday, but when I get back I’ll ask him if he spoke to you. We use CopyBuoy via Hoster Broaster, because it streams really easily into a Plaxo/LinkedIn yak-fest meld. When you register, click “Endless,” and under “Contacts” just list everyone you’ve ever met. It would be great if you could post at least six hundred words every day until further notice.
If you already have a blog, make sure you spray-feed your URL in niblets open-face to the skein. We like Reddit bites (they’re better than Delicious), because they max out the wiki snarls of RSS feeds, which means less jamming at the Google scaffold. Then just Digg your uploads in a viral spiral to your social networks via an FB/MS interlink torrent. You may have gotten the blast e-mail from Jason Zepp, your acquiring editor, saying that people who do this sort of thing will go to Hell, but just ignore it.
The vi-spi is cross-platform, but don’t worry if you think you’re not on Facebook, because you actually are. Jason enrolled you when you signed the contract last year, or at least he was supposed to, and he told Sarah Williams he did before he had to retire and Sarah left for nursing school. You currently have 421 Friends, 17 Pending Requests, 8 Pokes, 5 Winks, and 3 Proposals of “Marriage.”
This is probably what I sound like when I talk to civilians: The New Yorker delivers a shock of recognition.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A while back, the Burglar and I had the idea of building an engine using the Twitter API to perform plays in real time with one account per character. These guys have come up with a similar idea and knocked it out of the park with Google Wave.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

lured into an enormous fishbowl

On a busy weekend for super middleweights, Joe Calzaghe was finally voted off Strictly Come Dancing, and the Super Six World Boxing Classic kicked off with wins for Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham.
In a modified round-robin format, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Jermain Taylor, Andre Ward, and Andre Dirrell will engage in at least three bouts each, with the fighters garnering the four highest point totals advancing to the semifinal round. (Fighters will earn three points for a KO win, two for a decisions win, and one for a draw.)

Beginning with the semifinal round, the tournament will be single-elimination.

Over the course of two years, the winner will have engaged in five bouts against championship-level opposition and won at least four of them (conceivably, a fighter could make the semis with a loss in group stage). At that point, there will be no doubt regarding the identity of the number one 168-pounder in the game.
Last year, I predicted that, post-Calzaghe, Andre Ward could well dominate the division, but his first fight - while admittedly at home in Oakland - against Kessler on November 7, will be a big step up in class. Kessler has a 41-1 record now, it's great to remember that we were there when Joe C inflicted his only defeat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Busy doing nothing

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel signaled the U.S. may refrain from deciding to send more troops to Afghanistan until a “legitimate and credible government” is in place.

“The president will not be rushed to making a decision” on Afghanistan, Emanuel said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. It would be “reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop levels” without a through analysis of the country’s ability to govern itself, Emanuel said.
This announcement seems to me to be just about the least constructive contribution possible, undermining at a stroke:

1. The poor bloody infantry that are already there
2. said PBI's day to day relations with Afghan troops
3. The credibility of the US military leadership in the eyes of the world (friend and foe)
4. Afghan civilian faith and trust (such as it may be) in US commitment.

Rahm Emanuel, Kerry et al keeping their gobs shut would have been a much better response to the impasse if that is what it is.
David Bromwich: The Presidential Letdown

The pattern of the major announcement, the dilatory follow-up and the tardy self-defence has shown an alarming consistency in his administration. Obama ordered the closing of the prison at Guantánamo Bay as the first act of his presidency. Eight months later, Guantánamo remains open and unsolved. [ read more . . . ]
Whether moving from promising the earth and delivering sod all, to promising sod all represents an advance I leave to wiser heads than mine.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tales from the Riverbank

Linkblogging yesterday with my brother in tow:

Borough Market:
Shakepeare's Globe:
Tate Moden:
Southbank Centre:

It turns out that you can drink at all these locations as well as all the pubs that lie between them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

like the brokers men in Cinderella

Pamela Anderson will make her pantomime debut in a UK production of Aladdin this Christmas.

The actress, best known for her role as CJ Parker in 90s TV show Baywatch, will guest star as the Genie of the Lamp for two weeks at London's New Wimbledon Theatre.

Chat show host Paul O'Grady will assume the role for the final week of the show's run, marking his first panto appearance since 2005.

Different actors will play the genie for the first and final weeks of December, and these castings are yet to be announced.

After the Hoff let us down a few years back, we now have the enticing prospect of Pamela Anderson treading the boards in pantomime up the road in SW19.

The notion that her part will also be played by the erstwhile Lily Savage is almost too wonderful to bear.

Shades perhaps of the legendary story of Gielgud and Olivier swapping the roles of Romeo and Mercutio in 1936, or - as there are two more Genies of the Lamp still to be cast of the Heath Ledger ... Tony [Johnny Depp ... Tony (1st transformation) , Jude Law ... Tony (2nd transformation), Colin Farrell ... Tony (3rd transformation)] home run of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gong Est Mort? Vive Gong

The story begins on the album Flying Teapot (1973) when a pig-farming Egyptologist called Mista T Being is sold a "magick ear ring" by an "antique teapot street vendor & tea label collector" called Fred the Fish. The ear ring is capable of receiving messages from the Planet Gong via a pirate radio station called Radio Gnome Invisible. Being and Fish head off to the hymnalayas of Tibet (sic) where they meet the "great beer yogi" Banana Ananda in a cave. Ananda tends to chant "Banana Nirvana Mañana" a lot and gets drunk on Foster's Australian Lager.
Meanwhile, the mythology's central character, Zero the Hero, is going about his everyday life when he suddenly has a vision in Charing Cross Road. He is compelled to seek heroes and starts worshipping the Cock Pot Pixie, one of a number of Pot Head Pixies from the Planet Gong. These pixies are green with propellers on their heads, and they fly around in teapots.

Zero is soon distracted by a cat which he offers his fish and chips to.
(To whom he offers his fish and chips, Ed.) The cat is actually the Good Witch Yoni, who gives Zero a potion. This concludes the first album of the Radio Gnome Trilogy.

Can you resist the next album? Why not let Spotify take the "A" strain? For my own weakness I blame Neil Lang; house dust mite allergic herpetologist.

Note to self: "Gong's mythology is not universally serious".

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street

THE Bank of England has not changed its locks for more than 70 years, it was revealed yesterday.

The Bank admitted it fitted new locks during a refurbishment in the 1930s as the country prepared for war, and had changed very little since. Although it refuses to talk about security publicly, it made the revelation to the Master Locksmiths Association.

The locksmiths have launched a campaign to persuade home owners to change their locks more often to improve security.
Myself: Drop your allegory and move away. Keep your hands above your head. No sudden tropes my friend. Let's keep this nice and literal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


"Twitter users claim historic victory for the power of the internet after gagging attempt on routine act of journalism triggers race among bloggers to reveal all," says the Grauniard this morning.

For myself I picked the story up from Nick Cohen on Facebook, noticed the topic trending on Twitter, and even tweeted myself yesterday morning.

We await history's verdict on this turn of events, but I think it may well be a significant precedent. I refer you - again - to the Guardian's story for the details.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

To the Bat Kitchen!

If I need, and I do need, Kevlar tyres for my bike, I am certainly going to invest in silicone cake cases before I attempting Marcus Wareing's jaffa cakes.

Prodnose (the boy wonder): Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pull the other one

KABUL - Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said Friday that US President Barack Obama was the "appropriate" person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

"We congratulate Obama for winning the Nobel," said Siamak Hirai, a spokesman for Karzai.

"His hard work and his new vision on global relations, his will and efforts for creating friendly and good relations at global level and global peace make him the appropriate recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize," he told AFP.
We are living in a golden age of cant.

10 a.m. - Oval Office
Accept Nobel peace prize.

11 a.m. - Situation Room
"McChrystal’s proposed strategy for the war-torn country will require 30,000 to 40,000 more troops, billions of taxpayer dollars, an extremely long term commitment, and thousands more American lives--a bitter pill the American public seems unlikely to swallow.

"Biden proposed a shift in strategy that would concentrate on attacking al Qaeda and Taliban leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan using special forces and unmanned predator drones equipped with missiles."

Decisions, decisions ....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A change of priorities is required

I actually found myself glancing at Wufoo Launches Integrated Payments Feature For Online Form Builder earlier.

This is ludicrous behaviour for a Sunday morning. I need to declutter, and reprioritise.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Words Fail Me

Possibly his most highly-regarded, and certainly his boldest and most innovative play is Attempts on Her Life, first performed at the Royal Court in 1997 and subsequently translated into twenty languages.
In this work, none of the lines are assigned to a particular character, nor does Crimp specify how many actors should perform the piece. In seventeen apparently disconnected scenes, groups of people give mutually contradictory descriptions of an absent protagonist, a woman talked of as if she were, variously, a terrorist, the daughter of grieving parents, an artist and a new car. This deliberately fragmented work challenges an audience to re-define its notion of what constitutes a 'play' and might seem to question whether someone has any existence beyond the models we construct. To get the most out of this, arguably Crimp's most abstract work, the viewer would be best seated towards the end of a row.
This is the titan who has penned the star studded production of The Misanthrope that we are anticipating so breathlessly.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

'Drag queen' floors thugs in Swansea

TWO yobs have appeared in court after starting a fight with Spiderman — and getting knocked out by two cross-dressers.

Dean Jonathan Gardner, aged 19, and Jason Andrew Fender, aged 22, were arrested following two separate incidents in The Kingsway which took place just moments apart in the early hours of August 30.

But they picked the wrong victims on this occasion after being floored by two cross-dressers who are believed to have been cage fighters on a night out.

Police confronted Gardner and Fender, both of Llanerch Road, Bonymaen, nursing their injuries after identifying the unemployed pair from CCTV pictures
While the pair scuffle, a club-goer dressed as Spiderman appears from the queue and attempted to diffuse the situation but himself became the target of an attack.

After raining down blows on the Superhero clubber, the young thugs walk away apparently buoyant from the incident.

But they then made a mistake of confronting a man walking innocently by who was wearing black hot pants and a pink wig.

Puffed-up Gardner, followed by Fender, runs back to confront the man, and punched him in the face.

But the victim's friend, who is wearing a short black dress and stockings and suspenders, suddenly appears behind them and fells them both with lightening punches.

The confrontation is over in seconds, the men in drag turn to walk away — but not before one has leant over the pair to retrieve his dropped clutch bag.
Wales is ever Wales. You can actually see the CCTV footage about half way down the local coverage here. I hope it will be remembered come the 82nd Academy Awards next March.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Gypsey Prince

"The more success Daniels achieved, the more glum he became."

"I am in a terrible situaiton. My folks have disowned me, " he wailed to Jimmy one night.

"Disowned you. Why?"

"I have been carrying a letter around in my pocket from father. He is very angry with me..."

"Have you gone daffy? Who ever told you you were a gypsy? ... Don't you know your family is well known all over Wales and you are disgracing us...Come home at once."
It's been too long since we had a new Welsh Born Icon. Billy Daniels is hereby promoted.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I have been roped in as the Press and Publicity Officer of the E.B. Phoenix Judo Club. Here's the skinny:
The role of the press and publicity officer is to raise the profile of the club in the local population, and to keep current members informed of what is going on in the club. Not only will this assist with increasing membership by more people knowing about the club, but it will also help to motivate the current members, as they will feel proud to be associated with a successful organisation.

The press officer should make it their business to get to know all the key people dealing with sport in the local media, and to look for other opportunities to put the name of the club in the spotlight.

They will need to:
• Compile a list of local media including newspapers, radio and television
• Establish contact with sports editors
• Produce regular press releases of results, forthcoming events, and other items of interest
• Investigate local opportunities to advertise the clubs activities; (eg. Notice boards, shop windows, libraries, etc).
• Produce advertising materials to publicise the club’s activities
• Keep a copy of all press cuttings and a record of all other media coverage
• Keeping the club notice board up to date
• Produce a regular club newsletter
• Create a club web site, and keep it up to date
It's probably the last task that got me in the frame.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Wilde? I was livid.

The Wimbledon Book Festival is upon us again, bigger and better than ever in its third year.

I went to see Gyles Brandreth talking about his Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries last night, which was great fun even though I don't have the books.

Only by a titanic effort of will did I manage to refrain from trotting out Groucho's "from the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it".

Sunday, October 04, 2009

L'Affaire Polanski

Myself (studiously gender neutral): Plying a child with booze and ludes all the better to munch on budding genitalia and penetrate thirteen year old sphincter is a criminal act that should attract punishment from authority and contempt from society.

Prodnose: You won't be signing Thierry Fremaux's petition then?

Myself (reverting to smutty type after an uncharateristic serious statement): If my refusal to have it shoved down my throat means I can't widen the circle of my friends, so be it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Heirs of Dr Strabismus

Designers of a bra that turns into gas masks and a team who found that named cows produce more milk were among the winners of the 2009 Ig Nobel prizes.

The aim of the awards is to honour achievements that "first make people laugh and then make them think".

The peace prize went to a Swiss research team who determined whether it is better to be hit over the head with a full or empty bottle of beer.

The full list of winners:

Veterinary medicine: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, UK, for showing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless.

Peace: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

Biology: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the faeces of giant pandas.

Medicine: Donald L Unger of Thousand Oaks, California, US, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand but not his right hand every day for more than 60 years.

Economics: The directors, executives, and auditors of four Icelandic banks for demonstrating that tiny banks can be rapidly transformed into huge banks, and vice versa (and for demonstrating that similar things can be done to an entire national economy).

Physics: Katherine K Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, Daniel E Lieberman of Harvard University and Liza J Shapiro of the University of Texas, all in the US, for analytically determining why pregnant women do not tip over.

Chemistry: Javier Morales, Miguel Apatiga and Victor M Castano of Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico, for creating diamonds from tequila.

Literature: Ireland's police service for writing and presenting more than 50 traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country - Prawo Jazdy - whose name in Polish means "Driving Licence".

Public Health: Elena N Bodnar, Raphael C Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, US, for inventing a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks - one for the wearer and one to be given to a needy bystander.

Mathematics: Gideon Gono, governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank, for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers by having his bank print notes with denominations ranging from one cent to one hundred trillion dollars.

Hat tip: Simon B

Friday, October 02, 2009

Comfort Food

Marcus Wareing does posh Jaffa cakes, and Heston Blumenthal does posh baked beans. We've already got DIY KFC, as the bomber and I build our repertoire of top-of-the-line, home-made junk food.

Last Sunday we reverse engineered salt and pepper chicken that we had eaten from a stall in Camden Market the day before, and very fine it was too.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tajik Jimmy

If the New York Times is anything to go by:
The rise of Mr. Allaberiyev, widely known as Tajik Jimmy, a migrant worker in a provincial Russian stockroom who delivers astonishing renditions of Bollywood musical numbers, is one more testament to the strange power of the Internet.
Amen to that, though I heard it first on the venerable BBC World Service.