Posts from 13th October 2003

Oct 03

Politics is boring bcz of Grey Men in Suits blah blah

Do You SeePost a comment • 300 views

Politics is boring bcz of Grey Men in Suits blah blah: this is of course a cliche and therefore I disdane it utterly, I was already anyway avidly watching the IDS-unravels-before-our-v.-eyes saga. BUT NEVERTHELESS: there is a minor player in all this tired nonsense called Dr Vanessa Gearson, and she it seems has hired a lawyer (or solicitor or whatever) to protect her interests, and said lawyer (or solicitor or whatever) spoke to reporters on Newsnight just now, not only wearing a leather jacket, but with cropped hair dyed in black-and-white tufted patches!! CHECKERED AMAZON PUNK WARRIOR PRINCESS SLAYS TORY LaYMoR WITH DENSE LEGALISTIC PROSE & CHAKRAM RING HURRAH!!

“Are there any geneticists out there who would know what would happen if my sister and I attempted to breed?” – J White, Detroit

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 312 views

From the ‘PBS’ postbag –

“Are there any geneticists out there who would know what would happen if my sister and I attempted to breed?” – J White, Detroit

‘Professor of Interplanetary Craft’ R Carpenter: “Well shit, they do it in Zeta Reticuli so why not Detroit. Kick out the jams, sisterfucker.”
Professor of Entomology Ant Banks, Oakland Tech – “I don’t know about that sort of shit but I do know that if you have a fly infestation in your house, and they’re still there even though you’ve thrown out all the rotten fruit, check the inside of your toilet bowl and if there’s still a peanut hanging off the side poke it off with a stick or something. Not your marshmallow stick either! Flies love poo, so if it’s yellow stay mellow, if brown flush it down!”
Lancelot Lamarck Link, Evolution Expert – “I think it would be more interesting to see what would happen if you mated with that English chick who sings on your record. She’s got a tattoo on her back and I’d love to see if the kid would have one as well. What!? They already solved that one years ago? Shit, well what do you expect, I’m just a fuckin’ ape”


TMFDPost a comment • 214 views


So, over here, there’s this sport that resembles cricket, in a way, except the ball-hitting implements aren’t as flat, and the hurlers throw differently, and, sometimes, the people playing this sport tend to treat it like a mix between the football gaming essayed in both North America and Australia. For example: Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

And after having talked down to you in the first paragraph, I’ll switch gears and talk like you know what the hell’s going on. (And you might’ve read this on ILE already – it reads better the 2nd time, though.)

Granted, Pedro Martinez acted like one of those social pariahs former Boston GM Dan Duquette was fond of collecting (cf. Jose Canseco, Carl Everett, Mike Lansing, Dante Bichette, etc etc etc), but Pedro’s a little better than those folks (combined) (times 100), so head-hunting / rope-a-doping incidents like this have been tolerated. I’m still not sure why he was egging on Karim Garcia, and I’m also not sure why, aside from the throwing-at-head thing (which, duh, is a big deal) (and undoubtedly the impetus behind Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer cowboying up and taking a run at Pedro), 4th-outfielder posterboy Garcia A) took SUCH umbrage @ Pedro deigning to throw a baseball near his personage and B) felt it necessary to exact revenge by sliding into Todd Walker @ 2nd base long after Walker had gotten rid of the ball (which is how I understood what happened on that double play) – it’d be a neat trick to see a runner break up a double play when the ball’s already 3/4ths of the way to 1st. Of course, given the purported cleat massage that Garcia (& super-terrific good fella Jeff Nelson) gave to the groundscrew member, perhaps it’s not too surprising to see Garcia act like such a chump.

As for Pedro’s run-in with Zimmer, I’ve heard some rumblings regarding Zim’s less-than-cherubic personage, though I would like some stories to back this up. Regardless, it might’ve behooved Pedro to not toss Zimmer aside (but, heat of the moment, damned if I wouldn’t have done the same), though it might’ve behooved Zimmer to not charge a guy half his age. Never mind the whole “I’m gonna hit you / I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” shift of the entire encounter. And never mind the Yankees playing up the travesty of the entire fracas by having poor old defenseless plate-headed Don Zimmer shipped off to the hospital, while anyone with alleigances to the Yankees and New York City called for retribution. Of course, none of this would have happened had Manny Ramirez realized how far Clemens’ pitch was from hitting him and reacted accordingly.

Given what went down, the umps should’ve either A) tossed Pedro after the head-pointing thing & warned both sides or B) let Clemens stoke the fires with a little chin music & warn both sides. Issuing a warning immediately after the Garcia confrontation totally screws the Yankees, in that Manny’s overreactive fucknuttiness regarding a middle-of-the-plate ball can actually be vaguely justified, and morons like Garcia feel the need to channel Ty Cobb in exacting vengeance.

Ideally, I would hope / had hoped that Garcia would simply take his base, swallow his pride, and let his teammates get back at Pedro’s insolence by smacking him around. Of course, that’s what they were doing prior to The Pitch – the Yankees had scored 4 runs through 4+ innings – and I guess Pedro was successful with The Pitch (if his intentions re: The Pitch were to establish dominance again and get his slop-throwing self back on track). That said, the Yankees (& Clemens, in particular) showed a LOT more restraint than I thought possible, & I might throw up in my mouth after typing this, but it’s that sort of professionalism that typifies the Yankees and their pseudo-mythical ability to win the big games.

Honestly, I’d feel better about sympathizing with the Yankees’ plight were it not for the YES Network’s post-game coverage and their inability to even attempt to fashion a feasable facade of journalistic impartiality. Like, y’know, if you’re going to comment on how harping on all the Pedro / Garcia / Zimmer nonsense detracts from the greatness of the actual game (and, yeah, the game was pretty good, as most of the games involving the Red Sox have been this post-season), then how about backing that shit up by practicing what you preach?

Of course, what I just did here goes entirely against what I wanted YES to do, and this insta-punditry isn’t much different than what professional sports writers cobbled together this weekend, so, in conclusion, I’ll shut my yap and defer to what Baseball Prospectus writer Joe Sheenan offered in his eloquent summation of Saturday’s events:

1. Karim Garcia acted like a moron
2. Then Pedro Martinez acted like a moron
3. Then Manny Ramirez acted like a moron
4. Then Don Zimmer acted like a moron

Oh, and, hey, how about them there Cubs?


Do You SeePost a comment • 489 views

Shitebox My god, what am I watching? Some kind of virtual Gladiators? Robot Wars with computer game geeks instead of radio-controlled beardies? Most importantly, WHOSE IDEA IS THIS?

Fightbox, showing right now on BBC Three, is absolutely shocking. On paper, this looks like it might be a genre-busting, multi-format winner. In actuality, it reeks. The basic idea: the contestants (effing students, natch) design a warrior (dumb names include “Cyberskin”, “Turpin”) to compete in a number of feeble minigames (“Demolition”, “Panic”, yawn). They pit themselves against “the Sentients”, Fightbox’s “House Robots” – each more rubbish than the last. A crowd looks on cheerlessly.

OK, it’s a bad idea but it might have worked if the execution wasn’t so poor. The graphics belong in a Playstation launch title (a bit Time Commando-ish, no recommendation); well jerky. And the game dynamics are laughable. Move list? Kick, punch, headbutt and repeat. They should have just held a televised Tekken tourney. Now there’s an idea…

You can see why Robert Carlyle WANTED to play

Do You SeePost a comment • 274 views

You can see why Robert Carlyle WANTED to play Hitler, I think: histrionic carpet-chewing must be tremendous physical fun when you have such a cast-iron historical excuse, and the psychology at least a certain technical fascination, but this two-part dramatisation of events in Austria and Germany 1900-34 was otherwise as rubbishy as they always seem to be – my mum and dad were even more dismissive about it than me, and THEY KNOW because THEY BOTH TOOK PART IN HIS DOWNFALL. Actually in 1934 my dad was three and my mum minus one – but that sort of brings us to the basic problem of this entire tale as thought-provoking screenplay material. In order for a historical retelling to be dramatic, it has to seem open-ended in the moment, at least for a bit of the way; to invoke the belief, however briefly, that things could have been otherwise, that today’s perspective had not yet coalesced: but who in the world (aside from inveterate nazifanciers like D.Irving) is going to attempt a reading where you the reader watch even minor, early events in the history of the National Socialist Party, and – momentarily – catch yourself thinking, “Well, this is rough and ugly stuff, sure, but this Hitler fellow could still turn out to be just what Germany needed“? It wasn’t Carlyle’s fault: AH *has* to be presented as pretty much a pantomime baddie from the start, an egotistic clown, a demented perve, a mile-off-obvious psychopath: anything less decided (especially any attempt to make him persuasive or attractive to anyone except complete moral idiots or utterly transparent villains) is going to be received as apologetics, and almost certainly never reach mainstream TV. Certainly you never seriously get to the question COULD IT HAPPEN HERE, NOW? because you never really get in reach of a (non-complacent) answer to the question WHY DID IT HAPPEN THERE, THEN? To get at that in screen drama, the Nazis would have to seem nice, or necessary, or at least exciting (to our own present-day sensibilities and judgments) – enough anyway for us to feel conflicted or uncertain for part of a comfy Saturday evening’s viewing. Actually my dad and I both had quite unsettling dreams after watching part two – but they were ridiculous rather than illuminating.

DEAN MARTIN – “Memories Are Made Of This”

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#42, 17th February 1956

The Rat Pack glorification of hard-drinkin’ Dino means that even conformist outings like this get compiled and recycled repeatedly as totems of a seedy glamour. If you knew nothing about Dean Martin the man, though, you’d hear this for what it is: pinpoint pop craftsmanship applied to cloying sentiment. The tune sticks in your head immediately and the arrangement is distinctive – those murmuring backing vocals giving an almost doo-wop feel to the recording. Martin’s on professional form, and it’s only when you listen closely that you realise what a smarmy song this snapshot of happy home-making is.

Tyrannosaurs Make Funky Dancers

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Tyrannosaurs Make Funky Dancers: cheap games alert for UK readers – Woolworth’s is selling off Chad Valley toys on a Buy One Get One Half Price offer. Since Chad Valley are already the Kwik-Save of the kids’ games world this represents excellent value, particularly as CV games seem to have a crude but robust imaginativeness that Tomy and MB lack (though I’ll admit to being tempted by Screwball Scramble).

For my friend’s birthday I bought a couple of likely-looking games. All CV toys seem to be based on really sticking puns – first up was Wok’N’Roll which I admit was bought on title alone. It consists of a grinning plastic wok which moves around the table at alarming speed when batteries are added – this wok is filled with bits of ‘food’ which then have to be snatched by players armed with plastic tongs. This game is terrific fun though if played by real children would result in tears and fisticuffs – there is much opportunity for barging and at least one player (a grown married man I may say) threw a tantrum and knocked the food out of the wok rather than submit his pathetic scores to scrutiny.

Marvellous though this game is it is eclipsed by the grandeur of T Rocks. Much as Wok’N’Roll involved a rolling wok, so T-Rocks is based around a rocking T-Rex. The game is a Don’t Tip The Waiter variant with elements of Operation! – you place tyrannosaur bones on the spine of a T-Rex skeleton which goes ‘BEZERK!’ when the weight becomes too much. Bezerkness involves him waggling from side to side, swinging his arms and making an Eee-eee-eee! noise. This is a source of stupendous entertainment and as Alan pointed out conforms to actual science too – the real T Rex did keep its body near to the ground, rather than rearing up as Jurassic Park and Dinosaur Top Trumps would have it. I am not so sure it made that particular noise however.

Eloquent and angry response

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 363 views

Eloquent and angry response to Jim Robinson’s Irony And Its Malcontents piece. I think Jim R’s been slightly misread, though: he’s arguing for irony as a mode of listening, not the mode. In the case of Johnny Cash, eulogists have quickly settled on the notion of him as a ‘bad boy’ (think that picture of him giving the finger which I’ve seen a hundred times easily since he died), which means downgrading or writing out all the goofy things he did, or the family man things, or the corny things, or the religious things, etc. etc. Bad-boy-itis in pop – the demand that its stars, even if they’ve lived as rich and complex and contradictory a life as Cash did, continue to act the badass – is a perfect example of how the seriousness this piece argues for can cripple pop. How to be serious and exciting at the same time? Easy! Be angry! Be rebellious! Because winning excitement through goofiness or triteness or jokes is seen as a betrayal of seriousness.

The irony Jim’s arguing in favour of is at root a kind of listening complexity – the ability to hold, or at least consider, two positions on the same thing. The same piece of cheap pop music can be heartbreaking or banal depending on your situation and mood, and the greatness of great pop music lies in the way it refuses to bully you into one particular response. Dashboard Confessional, cited on Zenarchery as an example of ‘bad’ seriousness, aren’t bad because they’re stupid – they’re bad because they can be ‘got’ so easily, the only dimension they have is one of the serious response. (Of course, if you do need something to take really seriously, I’m sure they do a very good job.) Robinson is saying – I reckon – that music you can’t laugh at sometimes is worthless – you have to have the option of not taking something seriously before taking it seriously can mean anything.

So the first weekend of the 2003 Rugby World Cup has passed by without a hitch, or has it?

TMFDPost a comment • 346 views

So the first weekend of the 2003 Rugby World Cup has passed by without a hitch, or has it?

Although it’s certainly true that all the home nations managed to avoid major slip-ups it is hardly encouraging that the Scots struggled to beat Japan, and even less so that England’s destruction of Georgia (fair play to the opposition, by the way, who held their heads up to the end) came at a cost of three scrum halves.

Would it not be so typically British to enter a competition as hot favourites only to bomb out badly in the relatively early stages having exhausted our supply of replacement half-backs? Bracken looks to be a goner (his back pains are an old injury) and both Dawson and Gomarsall will now be carrying injuries which the South Africans will be hoping to exploit at the weekend. Martyn Wood (Bath) is being flown in as cover, just in case.

Grewcock, I now gather, is also out for two games with that big wusses injury: a broken toe. This caused, no doubt, by the modern habit of wearing football boots on the Rugby field instead of proper old-fashioned footwear with metal toecaps.

I wonder if the toughness of Woodward’s training techniques is going to come back to haunt England in their hour of need.

Ajinomoto is

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 526 views

Ajinomoto is japan’s MY favourite food brand these days. I am not referring to the animal food they produce – though it worries me, it might end up in my Cook Do sauces. So yes, I am a Cook Do afficionado (and a food-neurotic but that’s for my next post). It’s merely some bag of sauce packed in a carton box. But that kawai box contains so much information just to prepare some faux-ready made meal. Faux? Yep, Cook Do pretends to sell an easy meal but it’s actually a classique way to get the lazy arses to cook a dee-lish-us meal.

Addendum:I am now on a mission to find the Cook Do sauces – basically a sweet ‘n’ sour sauce – in XL bottles so I can splash it over my aubergine-onion-pepper-meat fry. Email me with links ‘n’ tips!