Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It is impossible to experience one's own death objectively and still carry a tune.
The universe is merely a fleeting idea in God's mind -- a pretty uncomfortable thought, particularly if you've just made a down payment on a house.
Eternal nothingness is O.K. if you're dressed for it.
If only Dionysus were alive! Where would he eat?
Not only is there no God, but trying getting a plumber on weekends.
It seems to me that it was Woody Allen back in the 70s who perfected the ludicrous aphorism that juxtaposed existential angst with the most parochial of observations.

That said, https://twitter.com/KimKierkegaard - in which the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard mashed with the tweets and observations of Kim Kardashian - is carrying on the tradition with some style:
All feel the dread of being alone in the world, overlooked by God. A pop of red gives your look a boost & helps you feel more confident.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dr Baruah (whom God Preserve) of Assam

"Look at this," said Dr Anuj Baruah, holding up a vial containing a few drops of rusty red liquid. "With this I could make you senseless." His nose started twitching; his eyes watered. "Oh dear. I think I may have got some on my fingers," he said, looking remarkably unconcerned that his skin had touched something the Indian government has developed into a biological weapon.
"I know what happens. Your brain starts to not work properly, you become restless … " He scurried off, returning a few minutes later after washing a particularly pungent strain of bhut jolokia chilli concentrate off his hands on his farm-cum-chilli research lab in the north-east Indian state of Assam.
.............. you could, for example, "blast a container of capsaicin into a terrorist hideout and make them all drop their guns when they take just one breath." 
The Strabismus of the East.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Ben's mate Jonnie came to Cardiff with us last week. He had an Outnumbered Christmas special and an episode called "The Tennis Match" on his laptop. They were hilarious. The Burglar has been recommending the show to me for years to no avail, but I am now officially a convert. (The tennis was filmed at the courts where Ben plays which added to the fun.)

I also managed to meet up with Sean (Icons passim) when I was back. He's extolled an American series called "Breaking Bad" to me, and I have to give it mad props as he's the small screen guru who tipped me the wink about The Wire three years ago.

The photo above shows Ben and Jonnie around Christmastime in their first year in primary school. They'll walk through the gates in the same secondary school in September, which reminds me that  Sean and I went through  De La Salle and then St Illtyd's together all those years ago. "Those Christian Brothers thought they could beat an education into us; I guess we fooled them," to paraphrase Terry Molloy.

Left to my own devices I watched "A Dangerous Method" last night  It is one of the worst films I have ever seen; the only fun to be had is in sniggering at how overwrought the whole sorry mess is. I am in dire need of any viewing steers I can get from B, J and S.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

links like this

Have I finally found a hack to put links like this back into titles after they were discontinued in the new Blogger interface?

Update: Yes I have.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I am back in London.

The Olympics have my permission to begin.

Friday, July 20, 2012

In one era, out the other

The Bomber has now finished in primary school and is off until he starts secondary in September. I am taking him to Wales for the week tomorrow, so the world probably won't be getting the benefit of my opinion on these pages until I get back.

In the growing up too fast stakes, the mother of a contemporary of his told me that her son had changed his Facebook status to in a relationship.

Prodnose: It's complicated.

Myself: Go to your room until you are twenty one years old!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Once Upon a Time

In Grimms’ Fairy Tales there is a story called “The Stubborn Child” that is only one paragraph long. Here it is, in a translation by the fairy-tale scholar Jack Zipes:
Once upon a time there was a stubborn child who never did what his mother told him to do. The dear Lord, therefore, did not look kindly upon him, and let him become sick. No doctor could cure him and in a short time he lay on his deathbed. After he was lowered into his grave and covered over with earth, one of his little arms suddenly emerged and reached up into the air. They pushed it back down and covered the earth with fresh earth, but that did not help. The little arm kept popping out. So the child’s mother had to go to the grave herself and smack the little arm with a switch. After she had done that, the arm withdrew, and then, for the first time, the child had peace beneath the earth.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm; Keeping It Real & Kicking It Old School.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Google Analytics is telling me this morning that our auctions site has had 132,673 visits with an average visit duration: of 13 minutes and 39 seconds over the last month.

That's 108,659,187 seconds, or 1,810,986 minutes or 30,183 hours or 1,258 days or three and a half years of attention over the last thirty days or so.
..... because I'm worth it ........

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

on yer bike

I am a huge fan of the Tour de France and try to watch the highlights every evening. As the chief executive of security firm G4S prepares to go before MPs later to explain why his company was unable to provide the thousand and thousands of Olympics security staff it promised, I can't help but wonder how it is that the tour manages to get bay with - as far as I can tell and tack scattered roads notwithstanding - the tour seems to get by with what looks like no security at all on the roads.

I know about the tragedy of Munich, but what are all the Olympic staff actually for? What is it they actually do?

Monday, July 16, 2012

A problem Shard is a problem Halved

Misled by its laser-illuminated, royal-attended opening event I went along to take a look at The Shard yesterday. Opening my foot, you can't go up to the observation platform and the restaurants aren't going to be up and running until next February.

The day wasn't a complete waste though. I stumbled into a pop-up whiskey shop in Southwark Street that stocked everything from moonshine to three grand a bottle wonder malts, and then cooled my heels in another find; The ReUnion.

Samuel Pepys described the pub as the 'heart of England'. This summer we invite you to explore The reUNION Public House - celebrating this cornerstone of British life.
Under the railway arches of Southwark, discover a haven of open air courtyards and gardens abuzz with activity: rediscovered pub games, neighbourhood feasts, live music and film screenings. Our inn is open for overnight guests, and our patrons can enjoy a piping hot sauna to chase away those British summer chills.

Four years ago EXYZT created the acclaimed Southwark Lido, which celebrated the tradition of Roman baths in the heart of the city. This year, we take inspiration from the Beer Act of 1830, in which any householder could apply for a license to sell - and even brew beer from their own front room.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I was going to write a post today saying that the dictation feature on the iPhone 4S is quite amazingly accurate, but apologizing in advance for the unpunctuated stream-of-consciousness texts and emails I am bound to use it to send, and to explain in advance that I haven't forgotten the difference between there's and theirs, wheel and we'll etc. if there are transcription errors I can't be bothered to correct.

Dilly-dallying round the interwebs though, I stumbled upon Some Tips For Siri And iPhone 4S Dictation, There are rich voice formatting features; "pound sterling sign" will produce £ on the screen for example. That said, the jury is still out on whether I can be bothered to learn these bells and whistles..

Old Jokes Home

Prodnose: I thought you used your dictaphone.

Myself: No I generally pick the numbers out with my finger.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

palpable nodules

I finally got a sports massage earlier this month. It had been in the back of my mind for a long time but I have never quite got round to it.

When the masseuses was working around the shoulder/lats area I could feel that she was finding and sort of crackling (if that is the right word) hard little lumps under my skin.

When I asked he what they were afterwards she told me that they were trigger points.
Trigger points, also known as trigger sites or muscle knots, are described as hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers, according to Wikipedia.
I developed something not dissimilar when I hurt my shoulder skiing years ago and I very occasionally do some foam rolling, but I really had no idea these knots were so prevalent.

What's intriguing is that trigger points arise at predictable places in the muscle and cause predictable patterns of referred pain. I have had one at such a predictable place on the back of my left calf for years and have always thought it was on old injury.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jump to it

I finally popped my HD cherry and was pleasantly surprised by what an improvement it was over a standard definition iTunes version.

I'm not proud to say that 21 Jump Street was the movie in question. Perhaps I should download something like The Tree of Life over the weekend so I can claim that was summer-the-first-time and keep my poseur credentials  nice and shiny.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Desolation Angels

Twenty months or so after moaning (Icons passim) that Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels was out of print I've finally got a copy on my Kindle.

The paperback was republished by Penguin in May and they seem to have produced the electronic version at the same time. Amazon have only got seven copies of the physical version left, but I suppose that once a Kindle copy is available it means that to all intents and purposes the book will never go out of print again.

That's a rather splendid. I had never thought of it before.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Opening Night

AbbeyFest kicked off for another year on Friday night. The local MP was up on our balcony, but I couldn't persuade her to have a drink on us.  I know various scandals continue to cast long shadows but surely being in my pocket to the tune of pinot grigio (one glass thereof) needn't be a matter for the Register of Members' Interests.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Shropshire Lad

On the day that we can see Team GB: the full list for the London 2012 Olympics, here is a nice parochial story.
What is known as Wenlock Edge, a great palisade, almost 1,000 feet high, running for 15 miles through the county of Shropshire, overlooks, near its eastern end, the tidy town of Much Wenlock. (Much Wenlock being so named, you see, to distinguish it from its even wee-er neighbor, Little Wenlock.) However, to this quaint backwater village near Wales came, in 1994, Juan Antonio Samaranch of Spain, the grandiose president of the International Olympic Committee.
Samaranch, an old spear carrier for Franco, was a vainglorious corporate politician, either obsequious or imperious, depending on the company, who was never much given to generosity. Yet he found his way to Much Wenlock, where he trooped out to the cemetery at Holy Trinity Church and placed a wreath on a grave there. Samaranch then declared that the man who lay at his feet beneath the Shropshire sod “really was the founder of the modern Olympic Games.”
....... read on .....

Monday, July 09, 2012


Cops sell PSP with cannabis in its case. Our auction system was in the Sun yesterday for the first time since the great  Bungling cops sell knives on the internet scandal of 2008.

...... And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids.

Update: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-18774844

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Rites of passage

We bought the Bomber's new uniform for secondary school yesterday morning.

In the afternoon he caught the bus and went off to the movies with his mates on his own (if that makes sense).

That seems like a lot of growing up for one day.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Hello World

I have joined the iPhone generation and this address to the nation comes from my new 4S.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Wayne Hernandez

Wayne Hernandez is playing AbbeyFest tonight in the first of nearly two months' worth of free Friday night gigs from the bandstand.

Sometimes when the band is quiet I join in and sing along to try and keep their spirits up. I am sure it helps.

Prodnose: Oh tell me why, why, why, why, why, why .....

Myself: Why do people break up, turn around and make up?

Prodnose (head in hands): No, just why, oh, why?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

This Means War

I hired This Means War on iTunes last night and watched it, with the Bomber and a couple of his mates, via  the iPAD plugged into the big screen over HDMI. It was ephemeral but absurdly entertaining.

1. I have probably bought my last DVD.
2. My aesthetic sensibilities are exactly the same as those of eleven year old boys.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

stealth health

The Bomber will be getting old school corned beef hash for dinner chez moi this evening, but, unbeknownst to him, the spuds, carrots and red onions in it will all be organic courtesy of the weekly Riverford vegetable box that is now delivered to me on the office.

At least we've moved on from the time time I used to "hide" grated carrots and spinach from him in minced beef, though salad remains a hard sell apart from the ever reliable BLT.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I was there

The image above is not the greatest photo ever taken, I'll grant you that. But it does prove that I saw Tom Jones in what was essentially a small sweaty club last night (Icons passim) and he was just as good as you imagine.

You may remember that Prodnose and I covered his first hit back in 2008. I can't help but think that if he returned the favour with Rizzle Kicks taking my part while he filled in for Prodnose, It's Not Unusual 2012 would be tearing up the dance floors again.

Monday, July 02, 2012

epistaxis and emesis

I only get to Bikram yoga about once a week lately.

Yesterday was my first visit in a fortnight. One person quit after vomitting and another went out with a nosebleed but gamely continued after a running repair.

As Richard Cockerill knows (see Icons passim), the heat and the effort will kick your backside if you don't respect it.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


I went to see the greyhound racing at Wimbledon Stadium on Friday night, Codebreaker – Alan Turing's life and legacy at the Science Museum yesterday, and I'll be watching the Euro2012 Final tonight.

You been up to anything diverting?