Posts from 17th October 2005

17
Oct 05

THE FT TOP 23 UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA No.16: WHEN GRAVITY GOES MAD!!

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All around the world, there are mountain roads where drivers can ease off the car brakes and wheee!! They coast happily UPHILL hurrah. Explanationist “surveyors” — and other similar shills for the frightened Scientific Establishment — talk nonsense about optical illusions. Other hand-waving fools — accepting the truths their eyes are telling them but ignoring their BRANES — babble about ANTI-GRAVITY and even “MAGNETIC VORTICES”: well, the effect of AG wd be pretty striking even if you DIDN’T take the brakes off (=vertical take-off); MV is best able only to leave pretty little crop-tonsures on yr noggin during yr uphill glide. So OK, now look carefully at the following diagram and its loud question, bcz it contains a clue:

Guessed it? Exactly: no one would ask such a question if that thick black line merely demarcated the top of mile on mile of compacted rock, a planets-full of same. There only comes a question what keeps the mountains up if the EARTH IS HOLLOW. On the old-skool Earth-is-a-perfect-sphere theory, all gravity in effect pulls towards the centre of gravity: ie perpendicularly down. A car on the shallow slope at the end of the mountains in the diagram is (according to the SOLID-BALL theory) pulls vertically down by gravity, and pushed outwards, perpendicular to the slope, by the slope’s own solidness. The vector sum of these forces will be parallel to the slope, downwards. But
i. We know that the Earth is NOT a perfect sphere (bcz the mountains themselves make it not so), and
ii. we know that cars are not being pulled downhill when the solid-ball theory says they would be (bcz they are whizzin UPHILL)

Can the solid-ball theory be saved by accepting that the mountains make the earth NOT a perfect sphere? Well clearly that big blob of mountains wil exert SOME lateral pull on a car on the slope at the right, but this would be hugely outweighed by the mass of rock the solid-nearball theory claims is below it. Besides, there are no uphill glides in eg the Himalayas (see list below), which is a MUCH BIGGER blob of mountain. SO THUS HENCE: the solid-ball and solid-nearball theory are FALSE. So what’s going on? This?

Yet charming as the orthodox hollow earth theory is — 800 miles of crust, land and oceans on both sides, portals for flying saucers at the poles — it cannot explain the uphill glide. There’s just too much underneath — “holding up the mountains” — and downwards gravity would still win out over sideways “blobwards” gravity.

To grasp what is going on, we must turn to the vision of the great CYRUS TEED, and at last understand how hollow earthers have made their elemental mistake –>Teed saw that the earth is HOLLOW and that we live INSIDE. The outer shell is thin and tremendously strong (it can even hold up mountains!!) — and what pushes us outwards is not gravity but centrifugal force. Near certain mountain masses, howeve, the gravity sideways is enough to cause significant sideways pull (hence UPHILL GLIDE). But NOT ALL MOUNTAINS: some — such as the Himalayas — are not caused by accretions of rubble from material within the plane-sphere, but by celestial collisions from OUTSIDE (and if we looked at them from outside, we wd see a himalaya-shaped indent). Obviously these — being shell-thin and low in mass — cause no sideways drag. It will be argued that centrifugal force would cause a drop-out of pseudogravity at the (non-spinning) poles: but the spinning, over aeons, has by gyroscopic effects caused tremendous amounts off massy material to slide round and gather inside the shell, at each end of the inplanet space (causing the so-called “flattening of the poles” know to map-makers). The gravitational pull of this far greater depth of massy material compensates for the diminution in centrifugal force towards the poles. Probably the combined quantity of pull is never exactly equal to the equatorial centrifuge , but it is v.v.cold in the arctic regions and measurements consequently unreliable (esp.as ppl have to wear loads of heavy clothes).

US:
Mystery Spot Road, off Branciforte Dr. Santa Cruz, CA
Mystery Spoit, Putney Road, Benzie County, Michigan
Gravity Hill, Northwest Baltimore County
Gravity Hill, Mooresville, Southwest Indianapolis
Gravity Road, Ewing Road exit ramp off Route 208, Franklin Lakes
Mystery Hill, Blowing Rock, hwy 321, Carolina
Confusion Hill, Idelwild Park, Ligonier, Pennsylvania
Gravity Hill, off of State Route 96 just south of New Paris, Bedford County, Pennsylvania
Gravity Hill (near White’s Hill) , just South of Rennick Road, on County Truck U, South of Shullsburg, in LaFayette County, Wisconsin
Oregon Vortex, near Gold-Hill, Grants Pass, Oregon
Spook Hill, North Wales Drive, North Avenue, Lake Wales, Florida
Spook Hill, Gapland Road just outside Burkittsville, Gapland (Frederick County), Maryland
Canada:
Magnetic Hill, Near Neepawa in Manitoba
Magnetic Mountain, just off the Trans Canada highway, Moncton, New Brunswick
Gravity Hill, on McKee Rd. just before Ledgeview Golf Course in Abbotsford, British Columbia
Scotland:
Electric Brae, on the A719, Near Croy Bay, South of Ayr, Ayeshire
Australia:
Anti-Gravity Hill, Straws Lane Road, Wood-End, Near hanging rock, Victoria
Barbados:
Morgan Lewis Hill, St Andrew
Italy:
Hill South of Rome, in Colli Albani, near Frascati
Portugal:
Malveira da Serra, on N247 coast road West of Lisbon
Greece:
Mount Penteli, on a road to Mount Penteli, Athens
South Korea:
Mount Halla, on the 1.100 highway a few miles south of the airport, on the island of Cheju Do

link for list

Doing Exactly What It Says On The Tin

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I am not sure why I bought a tin of Campbell’s Condensed Cream Of Mushroom Sauce a few months ago. Perhaps it was on special. Perhaps it was for the design. It was unlikely to be for the soup. Maybe it was the “Base of 1000 Meal’s” vibe the tin gave off. I was aware that the gelatinous soup after all was rarely watered down to make actual soup as per the basic cooking instructions. Instead it was used to make stuff like the Tuna Pasta Bake as advertised on the back of the tin.

As a child Campbell’s Cream Of Chicken condensed was a regular staple of my mothers repetoire. In particular a whole tin would go in her chicken stews. When I later made chicken stew to her recipe, I realised there was something ridiculous about adding a condensed, flavour saturated soup to a stock you had been lovingly preparing for four hours. I don’t use the tin any more.

But back to the back of the tin. A mushroom soup based tuna dish seemed highly suspicious, but in the spirit of experimentalism I went ahead. Lots of pasta shapes (classy, it does not specify a shape) cooked, drained. Then add the tin of soup, a tin of tuna, 200ml of milk, some spring onions (I also added a couple of prawns, some peas and the odd carrot because it seemed a bit short of veg). Decant to shepherds pie dish, grate over lots of cheese (50/50 Cheddar Parmesan in my case) and grill.

The result? Well a passable fish pie type of slop. With a crisp green salad it made an okay sort of lunch. If I were to do it again however, I would possible add more white fish and maybe tweek the veg content (maybe sweetcorn?). Oh, and one thing was blatently clear. It tasted too artificially of mushrooms. So my advice. Do exactly what it says on the tin, but swop the mushroom soup for a more generic white sauce. Or just make a fish pie.

THE BEATLES – “Paperback Writer”

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#217, 25th June 1966

An awful lot of comedy records have got to number one. Not many funny records have. This is one of them, as with every line the dreadfulness of this slush pile nightmare is more obvious. “It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few / I’ll be writing more in a week or two / I can make it longer if you like the style”: the band’s chirpy, wide-eyed delivery has a sitcom writer’s cruelty, and at 2’20” the record doesn’t kill the laughs by outstaying its welcome.

You could extend the metaphor to creativity in general, and the Beatles’ experience of their own imitators may have lent an edge to their cynicism, but I prefer “Paperback Writer” simply as a sharp, light jab. There’s a sneer in the harmonies and a briskness in the bassline that makes “Paperback Writer” feel almost throwaway – meta-hackwork, if you like – but it’s so vigorous and venomous, and pretty too, that it’s one of my very favourite Beatles songs.

Day 51: The Bush
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 LOUSY TUNES

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It was refreshing to be on a new continent: North America had been getting me down. Also their alcohol measurements were very stingy, whereas here in Australia I had discovered something called a Schooner, which made a tolerable gin measurement.

My good mood was also buoyed somewhat by having made good time, and whilst I was not back on schedule I had finally completed half of the world. I was a touch disappointed not to get the chance to go Crowded House hunting in New Zealand. Nevertheless Australia was a comfortable place, and one which had a rather good record of doing its own biggest selling artists in. Not only did Michael Hutchence put us out of his misery, but even Midnight Oil had suggested how to get rid of them (and I was looking forward to setting fire to some beds).

I guess my good mood was also helped by Crispian being on the other side of the ocean. Whilst I was a touch worried that yet again he would be spending all my money, it was nice to get him out of my hair. The downside to this seemed clear about eight hours later, after several schooners of gin and tonic. Lots of people had been taking the piss out of my received pronunciation, and I pointed out to them that I was just following a fine tradition of English women in Australia. Most notably Jenny Agutter in Walkabout. At which point I illustrated this by heading out into the desert. Or as they call it in Australia, The Bush.


THE BUSH (Kate that is)

The definite article is appropriate; the amount of coverage the return of Kate Bush is getting in the Sunday Supplements. Clearly certain editors had certain crushes when they were kids and these somewhat unfortunate chickens are coming back to roost. Yes, there was something unpleasantly perky about that poster of her Live In Hammersmith video, but come on, the woman is mad as cheese. Mad as American Processed Cheese Squares.

Consider her career. Born. Her parents name her Bush because of her hair. Aged fourteen: reads Wuthering Heights. Does not understand it. Writes a song about it. Dave Gilmour happens to hear it, lets her record it. It is a hit, as the great British public love an underdog eccentric. Especially ones that look like black poodles and sing songs about O Level set texts. Entire nation of sixteen year old kids fail their O Levels as they take Kate’s song to be a set of York Notes on Wuthering Heights. When asked the question: “What are the main reasons for Heathcliff’s return to Cathy?” all the schoolkids answered “Its so co-o-o-old.” Clearly this lack of a qualified intake with English O-Level directly led to the skills crisis and unemployment in the mid eighties.

Undaunted Bush built herself a studio, and locked herself in it: one assumed it also had state of the art security to stop the army breaking down the door and putting us out of our misery (Army Dreaming must be about this). Barely lucid songs about a woman being her husbands mistress, a man who uses his eyes as a nursery and a whole album where she sings with a rubbish Australian accent followed. A nation of wanking boys lapped them up. The record industry loved her too, as they never knew what to do with the “Best Female Artist” catalogue in the Brits.

And then nothing. I rejoiced. It is almost as if the Rubberband in the Rubberband Girl had happily snapped (Rubbish and should be Banned more like). But after most pop stars would have thrown in the towel because they finally realised they were rubbish, Bush is back to take on the Sugababes. (There are three of them, I don’t fancy her chances). And what has she been writing for the last thirteen years? Well, a song about Elvis.

Hello? He died twenty eight years ago. You had your chance. Not only that but her four year old son has drawn the single cover. One only hopes he has played all the instruments too on the album. Here’s to another thirteen years of silence, and there being no surprises in the best Female Artist category in the Brits for the next three years.

Captain Jack And The Gay Agenda!!!

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I was convinced, what with the resounding success of the character of flirty bisexual cad from the future Captain Jack, that the BBC would spin him off. And, lo and behold, they have. However rather than having him conquering time and space in his time craft The Gay Agenda, it appears he will be based in a research lab in Cardiff. The show is described as The X-Files meets This Life which suggests that the man piotching it was frozen ten years ago and has only just been thawed.

Oh, and clearly Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who so he has to appear. Andrew Davies’ attempt to sex up sci-fi is continuing apace.

The FT Top 100 Songs Of All Time No.77

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Depeche Mode – “Just Can’t Get Enough”

Depeche Mode are a curious lot in that they’ve made a lot of entertaining singles in which you can plainly see the seeds of their future complete awfulness: for much of the band’s lifespan (OK, the 80s) there’s quite a fruitful tension between poptastic tunesmithery and hard dancefloor action and lyrical/vocal seriousness which stops the records being more embarassing than charming and which sometimes makes them sneakily effective. And then the first and second elements went AWOL and suddenly the band was as terrible as you always thought they could be.

But also there’s their curious early period, the Vince Clark years, which have nothing of the gloom or metaphysics or BDSM and which amp up the pop bounce at the exclusion of all else. I didn’t nominate this song and I think the OMD tribute “New Life” is quietly a lot better, but “Just Can’t Get Enough” is probably the most ruthlessly Bucks Fizz catchy record Depeche Mode ever made and hence is one of their most memorable. It comes off as a more virginal, dry run Erasure but it’s still pleasantly ticklish that the same band nominally made this and the grisly “Barrel Of A Gun”.

POPTIMISM #6 Giveaway CD Tracklisting

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The theme this month was cover versions, so if you got a copy of this, here’s what you heard, and if you didn’t, well, you can go and make your own. Apologies for the serious lack of ‘flow’ on this disc!

1. JOAN JETT – “Little Drummer Boy”: Suggested by Mark S (who else), Joan interprets the seasonal classic.
2. THE FLYING LIZARDS – “Great Balls Of Fire”: Not quite as good as their previously-Poptimized “Sex Machine”, this is still very enjoyable in a kind of Black-Box-Recorder-But-Good way.
3. THE VENTURES – “Hawaii 5-0”: Surf bongo rewax of the TV theme.
4. LOUCHIE LOU AND MICHIE ONE – “Shout”: Suggested by the magnificent DJ Katstevens, brilliant pop-reggae indiarubber version, surely the best “Shout” ever!
5. BONEY M – “King Of The Road”: The roads are much nicer in Germany.
6. BETH DITTO out of THE GOSSIP – “Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay”: taped at a karaoke night a few years ago.
7. ULTIMATE ft SUNGIRL – “Whiter Shade Of Pale”: boshin! The only version of this I have ever enjoyed.
8. LASSIGUE BENDTHAUS – “Jealous Guy”: This guy, Uwe Schmidt, also does Senor Coconut, and this is his micro-emo alter ego. Blatantly exploitative but rather good.
9. CO.RO – “Life On Mars (Smoke And Mirrors Remix)”: Poptimism ANTHEM since its first airing in August.
10. SOME BLUEGRASS DUDES – “Mamma Mia”: As has become traditional I have forgotten the name of the band Pete put on the CD. Hoedown reading of ABBA gem.
11. ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMIES – “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”: Third best version of Rice/Webber’s second best song. The “Have I said too much?” bit is particularly good.
12. SINEAD O’CONNOR – “Chiquitita”: Scarily intense version gets to the secret emo heart of ABBA’s song.
13. THE ASSOCIATES – “Love Hangover”: Six minutes that completely justify the existence of this song, the Associates, pop music, homo sapiens, etc. Even if he sounds like he’s taking a dump at the start.
14. T.A.T.U. – “How Soon Is Now?”: One of those cover versions that is so perfect in concept you fear for the execution, except they get it right.
15. LAMBCHOP – “This Corrosion”: Shout out to all the Goths! Chosen by Pete.
16. JAMELIA – “Numb”: Why this exists, I know not, but short of Britney doing “Faint” this is the best Linkin Park cover you’re likely to encounter.

A big thankyou also to DJ Robster, who got my solicitation email too late to contribute to the CD, but would have included the Pet Shop Boys’ superb “Where The Streets Have No Name / Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” mash-up.