Posts from 8th July 2004

Jul 04

American Soldier–Toby Keith

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 790 views

American Soldier–Toby Keith

I do not agree with what Toby Keith has to say, I do not like the idea of soldiers in general–of killing at , really, but leftists never give him enough credit, as a performer and as a politician. The idea of a solider who does his job as duty–in order to preserve larger liberties seems quaint to us, so quaint that it can be dismissed. Conservatives remember this idea as the foundation of the revolutionary war and wish to keep it (it’s why the song has a coda of fifes and drums). Keith’s demographic thinks the fight in Iraq is about terrorism, not about oil. The people who fight that war are the people in their communities. He shows this, and in this song does so without blank jingoism. (He does do blank jingoism well, just not here–for that see Courtsey of the Red, White and Blue.)

Its strange to think of Keith doing anything with subtlety, and even stranger to think of him as the replacement of Charlie Daniels. This is a man who was mostly known for drinking and fucking songs. But when Michael Moore’s film is the number one movie of the week if we listen to what the other side has to say, there might be something valubale here.

(Watching the video on, there was an ad before it and an ad after it to sign up for the army, and Keith is frequent on USO tours.)


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 156 views


Dear everyone I know

We are going to see this at one or several of these dates, and we are going to have the most fun ever. For those of you in London, the chance to see several of Forced Entertainment’s shows at the Riverside at the end of October really should not be missed. To all of you that i’ve ranted on at in the pub about theatre THIS IS WHAT I’M ON ABOUT and read Tim’s notes and, possibly even more fun, german student’s report on the rehearsal process for this new show.

I think i might have to have a lie down now…

Meaux’s Horse Shoe Brewery tragedy of October 1814

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 402 views

Meaux’s Horse Shoe Brewery tragedy of October 1814
(sorry it’s not about breakfast)

As promised, further info on death by beer…

“The brewery’s vat, which stood on the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, held over a million pints of porter. It was made of wood and held together by twenty-nine gigantic iron hoops. One day a workman noticed a crack in one of the hoops. As each hoop weighed over 500 pounds he thought a little crack was nothing to worry about, and he forgot about it. A few hours later there was an explosion so loud it was heard five miles away. The vat had burst, and the force of the jet stream of beer crushed the second vat. This meant that more beer than you can possibly imagine jetted out under very high pressure. The twenty-five foot high, one foot thick, solid brick wall of the brewery stood no chance. It was flattened and a tidal wave of beer raged into the surrounding streets.
The first to die were those drowned by the initial wave. Others were crushed to death in the stampede as they threw themselves into the gutters to drink as much free beer as they were physically able, hampering any hope of rescue for those trapped in the rubble. Some of those who survived the crush subsequently died of alcohol poisoning.

From Man Walks into a Pub by Pete Brown, which comes highly recommended.

Further details here (scroll down to p372).

So the next time you’re browsing through Virgin’s sale racks (or, heaven forbid, having a pint in the Tottenham), think of the MILLION GALLONS OF BEER that was once made there.

There’s an effect in Shrek 2

Do You SeePost a comment • 256 views

There’s an effect in Shrek 2 that I don’t remember seeing elsewhere, though it doesn’t even need a completely animated universe: It switches scenes by keeping the lead character in close up, and simply fading one background out and another in at the same time. Not to be confused with the much more common “spin the camera around a couple while the backdrop changes”, which they polish off in the first five minutes.

There isn’t really anything else of merit in the film, apart from brute cleverness.


Do You SeePost a comment • 933 views

FT Top 100 Films

Now there is a title to conjure with. Put your best foot forward, sock them with an audacious title and maybe they will come back for me. And in the most part the film does fulfill its remit. What is more surprising that it is just as satisfying to watch from an adult perspective, for completely different reasons.

The plot: its in the title. Mom goes of on a much deserved break, there is no Pop in this scenario. In wheels creaky old bat who dun goes and drops dead. What follows is much home alone lunacy to sort out thw ish fulfillment side of the equation. Kids watching are happy. But then the money runs out (well it is spent on expensive sound systems and ice cream). So the eldest of the bunch, played by Christina Applegate, has to get a job. And this she does by pretending to be massively over qualified. Again the kids may smile as they see her innate understanding of the target audience in the fashion firm she eventually lands at (herself) overcomes her lack of experience.

And then it gets good for the thirtysomething overworked office peon. Because the fairy tale story just cannot continue. Also we need some drama with out levity. And it turns out that working, even if you are a natural, is bloody hard. Its not just knowing how to operate the fax machine, its getting through a day and then getting home and trying to have a laugh. Perhaps the film felt it was just being responsible, in case kids went out there and bumped off their babysitters l, r and c. But it over-eggs the pudding a touch, making Applegate grow up too fast (boo hoo) and also make her into a harridan at home. That’s right, sucker he kids in with the honey of wish fulfillment, and then slap the roach motel of real life on their backs.

Unassuming, direct, Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitters Dead is much better at judging the modern malaise of work/life balance than any more serious adult think-piece. And its set-piece fashion show ending is a riot of bad taste.

Mini iPods “available internationally on July 24”

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Mini iPods “available internationally on July 24”

[edit extra]
Got one of those horrid oversize white iPods? Get a “Retropod” case to protect it. ;-)

Player agents

TMFDPost a comment • 399 views

Player agents – greedy money grabbing bastards bleeding the game dry, or necessary evils to help players counter the clubs always out to shaft them? It’s a debate that generates much heat, and until now, very little light.

Following on from instituting a fit-and-proper-person test, the Football League have published a report on payments to player agents. The first aim of this was to bring some facts to the debate. Implicit within the policy, it seems, is the idea that if a club’s fans see how much money has been given by them to the agent, they can judge whether they think it’s reasonable. If they don’t, then they can bring about pressure at a local level to get the club to change it’s practices.

If there’s one criticism, I’d like to see what proportion of the total amount of money spent on player transfers went to agents (both by club and as a total). It gives a percentage of transactions involved an agent, but it’s be good to know what proportion of the money left the game. But that’s a minor quibble really, and ontop of that fit-and-proper-person test, congratulations to the League.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 315 views


Normally, during the week, the only breakfast I manage is an alpen cereal bar

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 476 views

Normally, during the week, the only breakfast I manage is an alpen cereal bar, usually walking through the park on the way to work. this morning however I’m working from home, so I should be able to have a proper breakfast, or so i thought.

I woke up ‘late’ so had an alpen bar at my desk, then I kept on eating, in my usual working at home style (If I ever did work at home regularly I’d have to get Chris to put padlocks on the kitchen cuboards). In the past hour and a half I’ve had a peach (which gave me very unpleasant stubble burn, I’m sure I’ve still got peach hairs stuck in my chin) and polished off the leftovers of last nights ho fun noodles with char sui (which were much tastier cold this morning than they were last night)

It’s 12.05 now, so it’s lunch time! I was going to have the leftovers for lunch, so I’ll have to think of something else. There’s tongue on the fridge, and an onion and poppyseed bagel, but the bagel will be nicer toasted, so maybe I’ll use the bread we got. I could have the bagel tomorrow for lunch, instead, but by then it’ll be on the stale side and I won’t have time to toast it for breakfast, it would be a shame to waste it as they’re so tasty so I’d best have it today.

i’m sure that I’ll be working so hard this afternoon that I’ll have to have a break and a snack. There’s lots of fruit in the fruit bowl, so I’ll have an apple, but the plums aren’t ripe yet. Have you noticed how unsatisfactory apples are for filling you up? I suppose I’ll just have to go to the fridge and see if there’s anything else that needs eating up before it spoils. mmm, some strawberry and wholegrain yogurt you say? Just the thing to sit and watch tv with for a little break. And if I do really well and get lots of work done, then I can reward myself with another break. Goodness, there’s lots of cheese in the fridge that seems to be getting on a bit, can’t let that go to waste.

So what’s for tea, seeing as my husband will be back after a hard day at the office? Well, there’s three bags of salad in the fridge that need eating up……

I always used to eat breakfast

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 363 views

I always used to eat breakfast as a kid, going through the various cereals marketed at kids. As an adult, I kind of got out of breakfast in that ‘eat-at-home-before-leaving-for-work’ way. I’d have a cup of tea, and then grab a chocolate sausage roll (aka pain-au-chocolate). I’d occasionally eat cereals, but found them unsatisfying. Bran-based ones appealed to an inner health fascist, but not to my taste buds. Weetabix set a clock running where you eat them before they absorbed all the milk and become inedibly stodgy. It seemed daft to be racing against the clock that early into the day.

I’ve found the perfect breakfast cereal now though. Millet Rice.

They don’t look appetising, but they’re not so ‘branny’ as yer bran flakes. They have a nice subtle nuttiness. And, here’s the recipe for making a lovely breakfast:

– Millet Rice
– Yeo Valley Strawberry Yoghurt
– Fresh Strawberries
– Cinnamon

It’s simplicity itself. Add the flakes, cut some strawbs in, add several dollops of yoghurt and sprinkle some cinnamon. The yoghurt coats the flakes making them damp, not saturated as milk would. As a result, you can be distracted by the telly, radio, the paper or anything and pause without fear that the milk has changed the whole lot in a sloppy mess. The strawberries provide sweetness. The whole thing is delightfully moreish (had two bowls today). I even went to bed last night excited about having them next morning. Menko.