Posts from 30th March 2005

30
Mar 05

THE FT TOP 25 ANIMALS – 9. Hedgehogs

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I never really understood the porcine reference in the name as the little beasts have much more of the rodent about them than the darling/delicious pig (and indeed they are closely related to the mole and the shrew – but not the same as porcupines, alright?). That said, hedgehogs did experience their own dalliance with the culinary world courtesy of this legendary 80s meme
– alas (sorry, I mean, fortunately) said chips were flavoured of nothing more than pork fat. Still I can think of a few out there who probably harbour secret desires to sample the spiky variant, though they’d have to catch them first.

I never believed that hedgehogs were actually as fast as the pixelated wry blue show-off of gamelore but do recall an incident a few years back when staring out at the night sky from my back door one night I heard a rustling in the bushes and a dark blur racing out from the vegetation at an alarming pace, pursued by the neighbour’s cat (not Knuckles). Also impressive is their general noisiness as they forage around your garden (fortunately this does not extend to making a fox-esque cacophony at 3am) and their alleged ‘invulnerability’ when curled up into a ball, pointy bits out – though not quite tough enough for the deadliest predator of them all, SUV MAN. Hedgehog entrails spilled out all over the road in front of your house is not a pretty sight, so if they are to continue trying to cross busy roads at night I would not be adverse to powdering their diet of insects with crushed up steroids, just to boost their chances of making it from one kerb to the other in time. But it’s probably illegal. In the meantime we can only stand back and simultaneously deplore and admire their human-like willingness to dice with death in this way. Erm, hooray?

TV Diary: everything I watched on 29/3/05

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TV Diary: everything I watched on 29/3/05

WWE Raw: It starts with an occasional chat-show style segment, and commentator Jerry Lawler says, in a surprised tone, “It seems like every time we have a Highlight Reel it ends up in a fight!” Perhaps next week he will note that approximately 50% of wrestlers seem very willing to break the rules. There’s a break in this live transmission, fortunately missing one of their appalling movie-scene-parody trailers for Wrestlemania. Had it lasted a little longer, we’d have missed a women’s champ vs #1 contender arm-wrestling bout. Best line in the show: “I’ve fought The Undertaker at Wrestlemania twice, and both times I was lucky to escape with MY SOUL.”

The Munsters: Not well enough written to want to watch it too often, but Al Lewis as Grandpa is good value, and Fred Gwynne’s Herman is one of the great sitcom characters. The bumbling father is at the heart of so many sitcoms, particularly American, and even without the Frankenstein image, Herman might be the best of them before Homer.

Spy Kids 3: I loved the first two and this has a fabulous opening, with the young boy in a trenchcoat offering a voiceover explaining how he is out of the agency now and never going back. Trouble is, from then on it’s all inside a video game with Sly Stallone as the big enemy. ‘Better than Tron‘ is pretty faint praise.

Smallville: Oh dear. Two days of Earthsea, now I have to adjust back to Lana Lang. This is of course always best watched on video, as then you can FF through the worst theme tune this side of Enterprise. I think the show might be better if they could find story material to carry through a season, and do a bit more that suggests that they know the whole thing has a limited life, which we know it must have.

King Of The Hill: This is an odd series. Has there been a cartoon pitched as a sitcom with so few laughs? It doesn’t try for many. What it does do is take a fairly strong and honest look at an impressive central cast of characters. I am particularly convinced by Hank: I don’t find him likeable, but he is pretty admirable. I also can’t think of another show which uses some of the advantages of animation as this one does: the characters don’t age, so you can keep examining them in depth at the same age; but also the lack of actors who want to be liked and look good means that Peggy can stay plainer than anyone ever does in a live action series, for instance. An interesting show.

The Simpsons: The one where the kids are put in the foster care of the Flanders. The moment where Rod & Todd are first exposed to Itchy & Scratchy is great. And a second episode, where Lisa turns vegetarian. This is all from the show’s prime, of course. A real joy.

MASH: Right, any joy has gone because my oven has just gone horribly wrong and there is a smell of burnt lasagne and plastic, and it’s clearly buggered, so I’m in a terrible mood. Didn’t plan to watch TV now, but I’m too pissed off to choose music, so Paramount Comedy is a default option. I am busy ranting and resorting to microwaving, so have nothing to say about the show. I ‘watched’ two episodes. One had a rabbit in it.

CSI: I love this show. It’s generally brilliantly worked out and superbly directed, but the thing that sets this well above the two spin-offs for me is Grissom, a great creation. I kind of wish that more episodes went into the complexities of his character. His superior is gunning for him in this episode, but there’s no real tension about that – though we do get a surprise ending anyway.

Room 101: Guest Harry Hill. A rerun, but don’t think I saw it first time. Reasonably funny, but bantering with someone else is not his style. When he talked about the start of his career, saying “I was happy with two laughs and a clap at the end,” I immediately said: sounds like my sex life. Yes, aloud, despite being on my own.

SMALL HANDS NO EXCUSE

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SMALL HANDS NO EXCUSE

(Cheers to Nick Dastoor for this story). The Mini Fillet Burger is even more mini than the word mini would suggest as ads have been pulled for this micro-burger. Apparent the chicken is a fillet by virtue of it being the meat between the bones on a chicken wing. The advertising standards authority are also to be commended for their ability to spot the difference between different types of lettuce in an advert.

That said though, kudos to KFC for suggesting that it was not out of proportion and the person shown holding it probably just had small hands. No kudos to KFC for being owned by a company with the stupid name of Yum Brands. Unless the Yum (also owners of Taco Bell & Pizza Hut) is ironic.

THE FT TOP 25 ANIMALS – 10. Sharks

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Sharks, like crocodiles, have been around forever. They are the reknowned uber-predator, indeed if they had added sharks to the mix in Aliens vs Predators vs Sharks, the swimming ones would have won*. Sharks used to eat the odd T-Rex for lunch and are around today being cool and content in their evolutionary position as the anti-panda. Yes this makes them interesting creatures, BUT, does it justify quite the amount of television time they get on National Geographic TV. Of course not. The majesty of the phrase SHARK ATTACK does the justifying all by itself.

So much so that even when it is not really a shark attack at all, brer Great White can make it on to the news. Last Friday’s news, a slack affair admittedly, still had much room for this story: Man Escapes No Danger Whatsoever In Shark Attack. The story was simple. A man was on a shark watching trip, and they saw a shark. Man gets in SHARKPROOF CAGE which the shark then attacks to no avail. Man is never in danger. However, someone takes some great footage of a shark attacking a cage and its eyes rolling back in that super scary shark way. Not news in any way shape or form, but the nearest the News At Ten bongs are going to get to the Der-Der of the Jaws theme.

*If there had been any water of course, the one reason sharks do not rule the world.