Posts from 13th July 2004

13
Jul 04

101 Things Removed From The Human Body

Do You See3 comments • 14,720 views

101 Things Removed From The Human Body (because someone had to post it). Really once you have got past the 24 inch steak knife, the five nails and the kid who literally had half of his brain blown out, there was not far for the program to go. Except south of the head, at which point I knew it was all going to get more gory and I decided on bed. And could not sleep for fear that some freak accident would too imbed something in my body which may not end up being as benign as all of these poor sods.

101 Things Removed From The Human Body is a bizarre mix of Dumb And Dumber style horrific pratfalls and a chart clip show. The chart aspect is a bit nebulous, as is the numbering system. You are expecting to see the 101 things, instead you get one in five or six and then a long list of equally tantalising objects (chopsticks, scissors, teeth*) unseen. These accidents could have been ranked in ugh factor, operating time or an equally nebulous scoring system similar to one they used on Top Ten Prog Rock. The voile-over is gleeful, but nowhere near as gung-ho as Tommy Vance’s godlike genius on Dumber And Dumber – the problem is here that these people often were not dumb at all, just unlucky – followed by extremely lucky. In the end, the beauty of 101 Things Removed From The Human Body is that it is the best kind of water cooler television, in as much as you do not actually have to see it to appreciate it. Just make that face, and anyone will be convinced you saw it.

*Not that removing teeth from the human body is particularly unusual if you think about it.

Pointless Pictures Of Nice Things #1

Pumpkin Publog6 comments • 817 views

Pointless Pictures Of Nice Things #1

The ones sitting on my desk are all snow white. A colleague has brought them back from Italy. I am trying vainly to think of good reasons not to snaffle the whole huge packet.

Discussion on sell by dates, nazi flatmates and mushrooms being a fungus already

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 258 views

Discussion on sell by dates, nazi flatmates and mushrooms being a fungus already over on PBS. Also further info on what The Man says about food, including the tiny number of raisins that count as a portion in the five a day race (to my workings, about ten).

The Food Standards Agency

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 447 views

The Food Standards Agency on that old chestnut, reheating rice.

“Uncooked rice can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When the rice is cooked, the spores can survive. Then, if the rice is left standing at room temperature, the spores will multiply and may produce toxins (poisons) that cause vomiting or diarrhoea. Reheating the rice won’t get rid of these toxins.

So, the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature, the more likely it is that bacteria, or the toxins they produce, could stop the rice being safe to eat.

It’s best to serve rice when it has just been cooked. If that isn’t possible, cool the rice as quickly as possible (ideally within one hour) and keep it in the fridge for no more than one day until reheating.”

The big problem occurs because fired rice is best made from cold rice (yes, I know we are floating into Pumpkin territory here).

Same website also mentions green potatoes and the frankly very useful knowledge that one and half tablespoons of raisin (ie about ten) counts as one of your five-a-day.

Making your pets work for you.

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 171 views

Making your pets work for you.

Written by Louise Dann, a real actual scientist

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 449 views

Written by Louise Dann, a real actual scientist
Use by dates and the science behind them.

This actually isn’t scientific so much as a personal rant about injustices done to food in the name of health and safety. Having a quick squizz at the Food Standards Agency website causes anxiety that I am about to be litigious but my trusty caveat is that whilst I have a vague but old knowledge of the immune system my in depth knowledge of viruses will give me no expertise whatsoever with regard to food safety and I can happily pronounce I am therefore decidedly un-scientifically qualified in this field. NB viral spread via the sharing of a dodgy kebab of a Friday night probably has happened but not yet in a way as to define this a risk factor.

Use by dates on food wind me up, as does my flatmate’s religious belief in the rapid onset of decomposition and prompt breeding of bacteria come the midnight hour when the food has to be ‘used by’. Everything has, by law, to have a ‘use by date’, not to be confused with ‘sell by’, ‘display until’, ‘keep in the 3 for 2 offer by’, or any other shop orientated date. I presume this use by date is achieved by putting the designated food in a petri dish in the fridge (or most likely storage receptacle) and seeing what happens. I’m assuming then, at every juncture in time, some poor person has to check the food for various criteria, taste, touch, smell until it becomes apparent that something else has made its home in the food and then lab tests take over. Again presumably the average or even lowest time point at which the food reaches a noticeable change threshold, this must become the use by date.

I fully appreciate that some real nasty microbes can rapidly populate your leftovers, and once eaten can illicit some pretty toxic results. My main gripe comes with the foods that don’t need a use by date. A potato for instance. A potato will do many things to let you know of its off-ness. Obvious signs of a potato being a bit over the hill are the shrivelled-fingers-in-the-bath-look, the grey/white fungal coating, green discolouration (which also makes the spud a bit more turgid in my experience), wet brown rotting (least pleasant) and my own personal favourite, the growing of legs (tubers). Depending on the degree of the above the offending symptoms can be removed with judicious use of a knife and the rest of the spud eaten relatively freely. My one warning here is that the green potato has seen too much daylight and has started to photosynthesise. There are rumours that one of the products of a photosynthesising potato is slightly toxic. I dispute this rumour (from my great-Aunty-Muriel) but nevertheless have always peeled these more ferociously and removed the green. My point being that certain things you can happily eat till your own sense of smell, taste, sight etc tell you not to. It’s only when something (like meat) may be frequented by one of the ‘nasty invisibles’ that you need extra help, but surely the general populace have some sense and if not, then here’s a perfect example of Darwinian evolution in the form of a reheated curry and rice (say hello to the impressive rice bacteria Bacillus cereus, responsible for a fifth of the world’s food poisoning). Besides which, cold curry is just as nice as it is when hot.

Which finally brings me onto my gripe – finding that my flatmates have binned entire packs of tomatoes, apples, mushrooms (it’s a bloody fungus already), yoghurt (ditto on the bacteria, really it’s just got more tang), just because their use by date has passed. And yes I have fished these out of the bin to eat (if packaging was still intact).

I AM TOM CRUISE (OR POSSIBLY BRYAN BROWN).

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 145 views

I AM TOM CRUISE (OR POSSIBLY BRYAN BROWN).

For the first time in about ten years I went to a party, and I made a mystery cocktail. I actually made three. In bucket quantities. This was something which as an entertainment’s rep at college I used to do all the time. Usually with only two or three types of cheap bouze at hand (the amount of Blue Cuaraco I got through in 1993 should be illegal). Anyway its late Saturday night and there is a suggestion that some sort of mystery punch be made, and there is a suggestion that I make it because I work in a bar.

a) I don’t work in a bar – I manage a bar
b) That still would not qualify me to make industrial strength cocktails in a bucket
c) I was drunk, so I obviously thought I would be wonderful at this.

Three drinks were made in full. The first was made with Vodka, a mystery south American liquer, lemon schnapps, orange juice and lemonade in about equal volumes: it went down a storm. It took us a while to work out what it tasted of, but then it hit us like a bolt from the blue. Two Dogs. Somehow I had come across the secret recipe for an admittedly stronger version of the scourge on the 1995 bar. Alcoholic Lemonade cubed.

The second drink was weaker due to a slip with the soda water. More of the mystery liqueur, which when tried neat tasted like a nuttier tequila. Southern Comfort and Pimm’s sloshed in equal measures and then plenty of crushed cherries and soda water. The crushed cherries did not seem to do much to the taste and the overall blandness of this flavour suggested to me that what this particular cup needed was some roughly ripped basil. Need might be overstating the case, but this was warmly received as being at least not quite as strong.

Finally I turned my hand back to the cherries. This time I crushed them to a pulp and swilled the vodka and gin in carefully. Soda, to not over power the cherries, and tasting all the way brought the whole thing up with hints of lemonade. A simple cherry brew it all went a bit nuts by a last minute bolt of an idea to add Diet Coke to make some form of Cherry Coke. This being too weak for my liking it could only be sorted by the mystery liqueur.

Most of the guests had left at this point so I was left discussing the shocking case of the Australian Green Party taking the Aussie Forestry and Timber Union to court for environmental damage. Under such circumstances the frankly wonky taste of this final cocktail was barely commented on (I certainly kept changing the subject). But before you brand me the worst kind of alcoholic mark that I walked the two miles home and did not have a hangover the next morning. Ahhh creativity has yet again shown herself another outlet for me: ph34r my cocktail making skills. No fear it. Really.

Just a quick note to vent my spleen.

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Just a quick note to vent my spleen.

THERE ARE NO KIDS IN THUNDERBIRDS.

You see there were so many things wrong with doing a Thurderbirds movie that it is physically impossible for it to be good. After all the source material is tedious supermarionation at its worst. Nevertheless it appears that the Working Title Thunderbirds movie is not only going to be terrible, but its going to be terrible for all the wrong reasons.

It should be terrible because it is too faithful to the original. It should be terrible because it too takes eight minutes of loving puppet manipulation to launch any of the Thunderbirds, after which the majority of disasters will already be spent. It should be terrible due to wooden actors, uninvolving cast and a rocket that resembles a breeze block painted green.

It should not be terrible because it is a Spy Kids rip-off.

Spleen vented.

‘If…’ man in ‘Scottish’ claims.

Do You SeePost a comment • 421 views

‘If…’ man in ‘Scottish’ claims. No doubt the Bern film festival claims Jean-Luc Godard as Switzerland’s own, but jeez…

political commentators =

Do You SeePost a comment • 96 views

political commentators = rubbish reviewers of films #3485

Monbiot’s concluding sentence: “When a scruffy comedian from Michigan can bring us closer to the truth than the BBC, it’s time for a serious examination of why news has become the propaganda of the victor.” Analytical translation: “It’s a pretty pass when the routine machinery which conveyor-belts into all our homes the orthodox news format (exactly x mins of information per day, no more, no less) fails to conveyor-belt useable insight along with it.” Emotional translation: “As a posh type fellow, I’m appalled that this fat vulgar oaf from the midwest is making a fool of our kind!”

I’m not a huge fan of Debord’s Society of the Spectacle argt – that all this popculture is pumped out at us to distract and bedazzle – bcz I mostly encounter it announcing that eg Britney is empty manufactured pabulumTM zzz, ie the FACT of the spectacle is noisily invoked to avoid having ever to address the actual important bit, viz why/how it WORKS as spectacle, what we’re drawn to, what it tells us abt ourselves (negation is a matter of intimacy, not distance).

But I really do believe that SocSpec has a point to make abt the way we uncritically let our news be delivered to us – so many thousand printed words daily [x columns to be filled, no white space allowed], so many minutes of TV or radio, cut-and-pasted to self-justify in our, the consumers’, eyes [y minutes to be filled, no restful dead air allowed] – functions as a vamp-till-ready substitute for knowing what’s going on (let alone why). NOT bcz rich or important fat cat in top hats are chuckling behind their mustaches as they decide what we’re allowed to know and what not, but bcz the techniques devised over decades to service our apparent demands for news – which ends up taking the form of very particular kinds of story – militate against many OTHER kinds of story.*

In this sense, by so dully acceding to the commodified** logic of the quotidian news-cycle, led by the important story requiring commentary (of whatever colour), I think Monbiot and Pilger and Soc!al!st Worker etc all contribute to the Spectacle: and Moore, himself a rich fat cat now, using old-skool Hollywood manipulative whatever***, has punched a brief hole in it, by breaking some of its rules of formal or genre propriety… It’s not so much an indictment of how bad our news media has become, as of the assumptions
i. that news media as a cultural technology is at ALL able to produce (or ever has, historically, produced) this idealised thing that Monbiot seem to yearn for in media-if-only-it-was-good, or
ii. that this ideal is actually anyway what we keep watching/reading for (as opposed, say, to a daily dose of depression, or the daily validation of our impotence and need to take responsibility…)

(*Ironically of course the story that the state’s big plans have gone awry and things are daily getting worse is a particular kind of story the formats DON’T militate against)
(**Commodification doesn’t affect the content so much as the form: of course, over time and courtesy repetition, the form affects the content – which film and pop critics know, and political comnmentators never seem to)
(***Bear in mind I haven’t seen F911 so this description may be poor, this sentence inoperative…)