Friday, December 31, 2010

Crazy Horses

In recording Dec 28 on these pages, I forgot to mention that I also spent part of it demonstrating my Osmonds Crazy Horses Dance moves to a bemused Bomber, brother and family as well as pedestrians and passers by in the Maritime Quarter of Swansea.

That omission rectified, RIP Bobby Farrell who also swung a dashed efficient shoe back in the 70s.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quorra, wotta scorcher

Does anyone else think that Olivia Wilde as Quorra in Tron: Legacy looks eerily like my sister? I think it is the Clara Bow "It" Girl dark bob cut, rather than anything requiring Dr Freud's attention, that seals the deal.

In a possibly related development, glowing Tron-like white detailing magically appeared on the photo to the left that I took yesterday of the Bomber with the 19 assorted sporting medals he has acquired this year. We took them to Cardiff to show his grandfather. It's just the flash reflecting on the decoration of his Ben 10 dressing gown, but it certainly looks strange.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Linkblogging Yesterday

AC/DC - Back In Black

Joe's Ice Cream


MBE for J Burke Snr. "I thought it was the case for his spectacles."

"Ethics Precedes Ontology: A debate on Emmanuel Levinas and The Age of Reification". Venue - The Claude, Albany Road, CF24 3RW. Time 9pm.
That is my take on 28 December 2010 at least. I concede it is difficult to discern any coherent narrative thread.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Right Now

Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
Mix you own medicine here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

The Bomber started muay Thai in 2006, the swapped to Judo in 2009. Everything I have seen over the last four and a half years suggest to me that the message of Fight for Peace is correct.

I can't explain it though. It is just an empirical observation.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Clear and Present Danger

It used to be that all the preparation you needed with kids' Christmas presents was to wrap them and make sure that you laid in a supply of a wide variety of cylindrical and rectangular batteries for the big day.

Now I find that you have to set aside an evening for charging battery packs, checking for and installing software updates, deciding if extra memory cards are needed, and craftily testing configuring peripherals and games with PCs and gaming consoles to ensure that your gifts work "out of the box" when unwrapped.

Last night as I was charging up the Bomber's new Xacti HD camcorder, it struck me that I have bought him a camera with easy YouTube integration at the same time as getting the Wii Michael Jackson dancing game for a neice who will be with us on Christmas Day.

A postprandial Christmas moonwalking challenge in the presence of video equipment - with which to immortalise it - and a ready supply of booze may turn out to have been a bad idea.

Islington wishes you and your significant other/partner a very GM-free, organic, locally sourced, carbon-neutral Winterval and a diverse gender/colour-blind, differently abled 2011 CE.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some kind of nothingness

The Manic Street Preachers perform their new single on Strictly Come Dancing above. It all seems a long way from hobnobbing with Fidel Castro.

In the official video (which I can't embed) James Dean Bradfield walks around in Cardiff while Ian McCulloch strolls Liverpool in split screen. It is hardly the Thomas Crown Affair, but I can certainly identify all the home town locations.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet

Gavin Bryars says:

In 1971, when I lived in London, I was working with a friend, Alan Power, on a film about people living rough in the area around Elephant and Castle and Waterloo Station. In the course of being filmed, some people broke into drunken song - sometimes bits of opera, sometimes sentimental ballads - and one, who in fact did not drink, sang a religious song "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet". This was not ultimately used in the film and I was given all the unused sections of tape, including this one.

When I played it at home, I found that his singing was in tune with my piano, and I improvised a simple accompaniment. I noticed, too, that the first section of the song - 13 bars in length - formed an effective loop which repeated in a slightly unpredictable way. I took the tape loop to Leicester, where I was working in the Fine Art Department, and copied the loop onto a continuous reel of tape, thinking about perhaps adding an orchestrated accompaniment to this. The door of the recording room opened on to one of the large painting studios and I left the tape copying, with the door open, while I went to have a cup of coffee. When I came back I found the normally lively room unnaturally subdued. People were moving about much more slowly than usual and a few were sitting alone, quietly weeping.

I was puzzled until I realised that the tape was still playing and that they had been overcome by the old man's singing. This convinced me of the emotional power of the music and of the possibilities offered by adding a simple, though gradually evolving, orchestral accompaniment that respected the tramp's nobility and simple faith. Although he died before he could hear what I had done with his singing, the piece remains as an eloquent, but understated testimony to his spirit and optimism."
I may hate Dignity, but I love this post-minimalist hymn. Go figure.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Leeroy Jenkins

Rayburn popped round yesterday lunchtime, which was a pleasant surprise.

He introduced me to the power and the glory that is World of Warcraft's Leeroy Jenkins (over 21 million YouTube views). I thought I would collapse with laughter.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Year's resolution

In 2011 I will offer people unasked for advice based on reckless and probably inaccurate assumptions about the most intimate details of their private lives.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We clicked on comedy

Cato?! Cato?!
(plays discordant notes on bugle)

Pay attention! This is your employer speaking!

I am cancelling the attack orders for tonight!

You understand?

I know that I told you to show no mercy, and to attack, and to pay no attention to what I say!

But tonight...
(karate yell)
But tonight,

I am ordering you to pay attention!

You will not attack, Cato!
(blows bugle)

Blake Edwards RIP. I have lost track of the number of times the Bomber and I have watched DVD's from my Pink Panther boxed set.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

This package comes with all of your stealth warrior essentials.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Get well soon

Chris Howell had an emergency operation to remove his appendix last week and now - I see via Kim in Facebook:
Chris is back in hospital again! Wound infected and may have an abscess - he's been through the mill in the last 9 days. So, back on IV antibiotics and we'll know more after an ultrasound tomorrow.
Considering the corners of the world to which our compadres from university and the Pamplona jaunts of the 80s have scattered, I thought I would note it here as I know that some of them check in to these pages from time to time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

60% of Cardiffians

BBC Radio 2, 10:00PM Mon, 13 Dec 2010
Hardeep Singh Kohli explores the religious and cultural make-up of the UK by visiting three of its most diverse cities.

His first stop is Cardiff, and he starts his journey at Cardiff Bay, now the home of the Welsh Assembly building and rows of gleaming luxury flats. But this was formerly the site of the docks and the gateway for hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world who settled in Cardiff, making it the vibrant, multi-cultural city it is today.

Hardeep travels around the Butetown district, once a melting pot of nationalities and faiths, such as Somalis, Yemenis, Norwegians and he will hear how 60% of Cardiffians can actually trace their lineage back to the Irish labourers shipped in to build the docks in the nineteenth century.

He will hear how these different groups lived, worked and worshipped together in Butetown before the area was flattened in what is still known as 'the deluge'.

Well worth a listen, as are Martyn Joseph – Cardiff Bay and Shirley Bassey – The Girl From Tiger Bay which I picked up from the show's soundtrack.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bangalore Bubble and Squeak

According to Google trends, 'curry' searches peak on Boxing Day and have done every year since 2005.

Cobra beer has teamed with Pat Chapman to celebrate this with a turkey curry that uses Christmas Day gravy, Bangalore bubble and squeak, Brussels sprout bhaji and Christmas pudding naan.
Bangalore Bubble and Squeak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large (225g) onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 teaspoons curry paste
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
225g assorted left over cold cooked vegetables (for instance, Brussels sprouts, peas, beans, carrot and parsnip)
225g cold roast or boiled potato coarsely mashed
2 or 3 tablespoons leftover bread sauce (if available)
salt to taste

Put the oil in a pan and stir-fry the onion, curry paste and garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add the cold cooked vegetables, with just enough water to keep things firm but mobile.

Add the mashed potato, using it to bind the other vegetables together.

Season to taste, mix well and serve hot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Zeal to Transcend

The skiing goggles to our left can provide you with real-time feedback including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance traveled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. The package includes GPS capabilities, USB charging and data transfer, and post-processing software, and the manufacturer has dropped hints of an open API.

They are fitted with an SPPX polarized and photochromic lens. The Zeal Optics frame feeds data to you on a micro LCD screen which appears to hang six feet in front your eyes.

£449.99 gets you an accelerometer, gyroscope, temperature and pressure sensors. GPS chip, micro LCD display, and 3-dimensional lens. All of a sudden 2007 seems a long time ago Brendan.

In tonight's epsiode of the Gadget Show at 8pm on Five, Jason Bradbury and Ortis Deley visit the ski slopes of Switzerland to test navigation technology and outdoor clothing, as well as sledges, snowboards and bikes.

The bomber and I will be watching and fine tuning our Christmas lists for next year's skiing

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where Phyllis hid the cornflakes

[Chazz and Rex are testing Chris]
Chazz: Who'd win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?
Chris Moore: Lemmy.
[Rex imitates a game show buzzer]
Chris Moore: ... God?
Rex: Wrong, dickhead, trick question. Lemmy *IS* God.
Airheads got it right all those years ago. His Indesctructibleness gives us his diet advice in the Observer today:
When I lived in Heaton Moor Lane in Stockport in the early 60s there'd be 35 other people living in the same room, so it was kind of cramped. The basic diet consisted of creamed rice. Punch two holes in the can with an old beer-bottle opener and you can suck the Ambrosia out, no problem.

What can Delia, Nigella, Gordon, Jamie et al offer that holds a candle?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A fast never prevents a fatness

Here is an onituary of Professor Peter Hilton, a Bletchley Park code-breaker who became one of the most influential mathematicians of his generation.

A man of such boundless energy and invention it would seem, that even during the stress of his wartime code breaking, he spent a sleepness night composing one of the world's longest palindromes:
Doc note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

until my darkness goes

You can see Darkness Revisited, a film about the making of Bruce Springsteen's follow up to Born to Run on the BBC Player for a while.

I haven't caught it yet, and would generally balk at footage of countless hours spent in the studio trying to find the right drum sound, but the possibly similar documentary that came with the 25th anniversary edition of the previous record was fascinating stuff, so I've downloaded its successor for definite future viewing. I think the BBC gives me a month before the DRM expires it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Girl Who Set the Honey Trap

Am I the only one who on reading the headline "Julian Assange: WikiLeaks chief held in British prison on rape charge," wouldn't be at all surprised if Lisbeth Salander was behind it and Mikael Blomkvist knows more than he's saying about the Swedish warrant?

Larsson left about three quarters of a fourth novel on a notebook computer, now possessed by his partner, Eva Gabrielsson; synopses or manuscripts of the fifth and sixth in the series, which he intended to contain an eventual total of ten books, may also exist.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Insert Beaver joke here

Could a talking beaver be Mel Gibson's salvation in Hollywood? I really don't know where to begin.

Looking at Slate's list of inspiring self tracking projects, I would suggest that seems the best fit for Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson.

Monday, December 06, 2010


I had about a new study that might lead to a breakthrough in MS on the radio this morning.

According to the BBC website:

Scientists have identified a way of prompting nerve system repair in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Studies on rats by Cambridge and Edinburgh University researchers identified how to help stem cells in the brain regenerate myelin sheath, needed to protect nerve fibres.

One reason my ears pricked up when I heard of it was that neurogenisis was mentioned and I had read the chapter on it (3. New Neurons for Old Brains) in the book "The Plastic Mind" this weekend.

The stem cells referred to in the study are neural stem cells, not embryonic stem cells, and they are producing new neurons in your brain all the time.

I had no idea.

All hail Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, for his fascinating research and wonderful name.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The stillness flashed

I went to the Real Food Christmas market on the South Bank yesterday and drank some mulled wine as I walked round.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Whatever happened to the sour grapes bunch?

Now that it is out on DVD and you can get it for £7 if you spend £30 at Sainbury's I can confirm I am indeed a member of Grown Men Who Cry at Toy Story 3.

This weekend I will mostly be Doin' the Banana Split.

Friday, December 03, 2010

David Hume could out consume Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Could David Hume Have Known about Buddhism? Charles Francois Dolu, the Royal College of La Fl├Ęche, and the Global Jesuit Intellectual Network.
Could anything be more up my street than this? Speculation about Le Bon David and Jesuits who had studied Buddhism in Thailand and Tibet.

Please imagine me gesticulating with a briar pipe as I discourse on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, and how consilience in what is often called “Ignatian spirituality” and Buddhist practice may have predisposed the Jesuits to such undertakings.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


I've been following Amazon Web Services since 2006. When I read today that AWS had stopped hosting "following apparent pressure from the US government" I realised that it had become so mainstream that, inelegantly:
the cloud is the water we're swimming in.

Further Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of top secret documents to the WikiLeaks website, is a computer expert schooled in Wales accorning to the Telegraph.

All together now:
Somethin' ain't right
Gonna get myself, I'm gonna get myself
Gonna get myself connected
I ain't gonna go blind for the light which is reflected
I see thru you, I see thru you
I see thru you, I see thru you
Ya dirty tricks, ya make me sick
I see thru you, I see thru you
Gonna do it again, gonna do it again
I'm (gonna do it again, gonna do it again)
Gotta do right (gonna do it again)
'Cause somethin' ain't right
(gonna do it again)
Gotta do right, come on

Prodnoose: I take it you're gonna do it again.

If you make sure you're connected,
the writing's on the wall
But if your mind's neglected,
stumble you might fall

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas List 2011?

After merely skimming "Mind control: How a £200 headset is redefining brain-computing interaction," I know I want one. I will try and read the article thoroughly and look through later tonight given a following wind.

It's serendipitous arrival in my life is via the author Neal Pollack who is a Facebook friend of mine since I read his yoga book "Stretch," and it is strangely apposite as I started reading "The Plastic Mind" last night. "Sometimes I just sits," is the post that best explains how I drifted towards that, I think.

For all the internet's prominence, it is interesting that the bound volume is still what I return to in chasing new interests.
A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.
Edward P. Morgan