So I'm on the way to do some Halloween shopping with Thing One (aged 6) and Thing Two (aged 4) and the iPhone is on shuffle. Happily, I'm far too lazy to actually create playlists and the like, so my iPhone is packed with every half-arsed sound file that's ever made its way onto my home computer. That's not to say Iron Maiden is half-arsed. On the contrary, Iron Maiden has arse to spare. Iron Maiden is fully rocktacular. What I'm trying to say is that Maiden rose above the half-arsed stuff like Icarus on a cloudy day.
The Maiden track that came on was Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a 13 minute heavy metal epic based on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem of the same name. In between the cod operatic soprano of Bruce Dickinson and the thung-a-thung-a-thung-a-thungering of Steve Harris's bass stylings, we learned the cautionary tale of the mariner, but also covered subjects as diverse as the wingspan of the albatross, Christian death symbolism in 18th Century poetry, use of metaphor to create pictures in the imagination, seafaring superstition, why it's possible to die from thirst in the middle of an ocean and how Coleridge was half off his nut on opium when he did most of his writing.
We even learned some of the more memorable/common lines from the poem, which Iron Maiden were thoughtful enough to repeat in full via the staccato medium of a full blown guitar wielding frug-out.
"Day after day, day after day, we stuck, nor breath nor motion, as idle as a painted ship, Upon a painted ocean. Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink."
Of course, the only bit Thing One and Thing Two recalled by the time we got home was that it had something to do with zombie sailors. But hey, you have to start somewhere.
What this bad boy does is tap and jiggle the spider's web, but this ain't just any old tap and jiggle - oh no. This is the tap and jiggle of small, exhausted prey. This is just the sort of prey the spider loves, so he comes racing down for the feast, only to find Stenolemus bituberus waiting for him. The assassin makes like he's out of the game, then when the spider is close enough - BAM! - spikes him right in the head, somewhere in amongst all those spooky eight eyes.
Interestingly, the assassin doesn't always have it all his own way, because the spider is Nature's Ultimate Invertebrate Badass. Sometimes the spider wins and gets assassin bug for lunch, but not often. It's a sufficiently well-adapted strategy to be successful most of the time.
Isn't evolution the most astonishing thing? What a bug! What a niche! I love Darwin.
This is from a series of humorous cartoons about physics. I edited to list to bring you the funny one. This is the funny one. In the Land of the Geek, the one able to derive comedy from something other than obscure references to Star Trek is king.
You know how newspapers like to start 'fun' stories with a couple of terrible puns. Something along the lines of "It was a case of turf luck for an amateur gardener who accidentally set fire to his prize winning lawn", or maybe "I boo!" as the headline for a story about Halloween themed weddings.
Today, the Metro opens a story about celebrities posing with their dogs for a tasteful fundraiser with the line "Celebrities are doing it doggy style for a photography exhibition to raise money for the Guide Dogs charity".
I'm not sure about you, but for me this transforms the balance from a playful use of language to the overt suggestion that Felicity Kendall has allowed Gary Linecker to be photographed riding her rodeo-style. While this would no doubt guarantee some serious exposure for the project, I'm fairly certain it's not what the participants had in mind.
The sawbones in question, Dr Sulieman Al Hourani, qualified at the Jordan University of Science and Technology (formerly World of Leather, Galilee), was employed by Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, committed the balls-up-ball-off, then hopped the country while being investigated for taking drugs intended for a patient.
Just so you know the sort of calibre they're employing in the NHS these days...
There's a lot to like about this old skool rejection slip, as issued by the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. They made 14 Charlie Chaplin shorts (all in the same year - 1915, a series that included no lesser movie than 'The Tramp'), as well as other fascinatingly-titled hootenanny, such as 'The Hobo on Rollers', so they presumably knew what they were doing.
I particularly appreciate the business-like directness.
The following devastating critique of 'A Dark and Stormy Night' has just appeared on imdb.com, posted by the scriptwriter himself. It almost makes you want to see the film.
"People die at a Halloween party." That is essentially all that remains of the screenplay on which "On a Dark and Stormy Night" is based on. Thirty-three pages of dialogue was removed from the script, along with character development, plot-points, and the triple-twist surprise ending. In their place; five minutes of a woman dancing in slow motion, a four-minute Dominatrix dance (by the female lead, who, for reasons I cannot comprehend, is constantly snapping a whip and gyrating against other characters in pseudo-sexual positions), and a four minute "Moonwalking" scene (no, this was never intended as a Dance Movie).
I wrote this film, and I am currently doing everything I can to prevent its release, as I believe it to be one of the worst films ever made. The killer's motivation is no longer explained, but he does manage to discusses his "next" victim after already killing him. Characters are constantly referring to situations that are no longer in the film, several of the murders are so poorly executed, even I, the writer, couldn't tell what was going on, and forty minutes of screen time has been stretched to ninety minutes, via the magic of slow-motion.
In my opinion, "On a Dark and Stormy Night" is an embarrassing mess that will hopefully never see the light of day. But in the unlikely event you ever see it, I am not responsible. My screenplay was thoroughly butchered -- nonsensical scenes added, less than nine pages of unaltered dialogue remaining -- and I've since removed my name from the film.
A line from 'Horatio Hornblower' starring Gregory Peck. He's delivering his leading lady back to Blighty and unbeknownst to him she has fallen in love with him. He's talking about the boat. She probably isn't.
Anyway, this elicited an untimely guffaw that took an awfully long time to explain to a baffled five year old.
... and other things I didn't expect to be doing on a Tuesday evening. Also met a man
who was taught by AJP Taylor and his wife who directed Colditz. And had the worst lasagne ever cooked by a genuine Italian.
For the 600th anniversary of Prague's Orloj, or astronomical clock, some clever bastards called Macula put together this excessively clever animation that was then projected live onto the clocktower's face. It's about 10 minutes long, but worth the ride.
In case you're not familiar with their cannon of work, the Insane Clown Posse are America's leading proponents of what is known as 'horrorcore' - a melding of hardcore hip-hip, thrash metal, monstrously dumb lyrics and visual stylings derived from the Saw franchise. It's sort of like glam rock's disturbing younger brother - you know, the one who spends a lot of time in the basement playing Medal of Honour and compulsively masturbating.
Anyway, having spent a decade scandalising America with their naughty lyrics about shooting women in the face and suchlike, it turns out they're evangelical Christians who've been undercover all this time, trying to bring 'kids' back to the light by "speaking their language". I'm undecided. Either these guys are two of the greatest performance artists of all time (as someone else said, but I can't remember who) or they are a pair of colossal dicks who just got that teensy bit dickier.
They certainly seem to be on the level, but then when you watch the video for their song 'Miracles' and listen to the lyrics, surely no-one - not even uber-retards of the type these gentlemen claim to be - can have penned these words with a straight face. Visuals of one of them apparently popping out of his wife's vagina? A story about the time he went to San Francisco and a pelican tried to eat his mobile phone? Surely they're having a giraffe ("a miracle!" - watch the vid, you'll see what I mean).
This is well worth a listen. Comedian Richard Herring makes a deft point. If gay men have reclaimed the skinhead from fascists and black people have reclaimed the word 'nigger' from racists, why can't comedians reclaim the toothbrush moustache from Hitler? After all, Charlie Chaplin made it popular. And Anne Frank's dad had one as well (although there's no evidence he was a particularly funny guy).
Also features a great moment where he turns on the studio audience for failing to vote in the European elections. Quality stuff.
I'm addicted. It's not healthy and may well lead to repetitive strain injury. No, not that. Angry Birds. For the uninitiated, Angry Birds is an iPhone game in which you kill pigs by slingshotting a variety of (angry) birds at them. Yes, it does sound stupid, but then smoking crack is stupid too. Nobody ever said addictions were rational.
Over on the very excellent Wired blog Dot Physics, physics professor Rhett Alain has carried out a detailed theoretical analysis of - yes - the physics of Angry Birds. Using video tracker analysis, he has determined the likely weight and size of the birds and whether or not air resistance is a factor. A gloriously pointless waste of a fine brain, but entertaining nonetheless.
You know when moviemakers spoil good films or even entire franchises by ladling on the schmaltz and gorgonzola at exactly the wrong moment? I cite Jar Jar Binks as the primary exhibit. Happily, there is a movement afoot to redress the balance with creative editing.
I'm not saying that Superman II was a great movie, but it wasn't made any better by Superman suddenly developing the hitherto unheard of power of the 'amnesia kiss' to make Lois Lane forget who he really is. So here's the recut. I think it gives Supes a distinctly caddish angle, which can only be a good thing.
Loathsome chav-scum baiter and all round epic bell-end Jeremy Kyle was recently thwacked over the head with by an irate pikey. Sadly, the offensive weapon employed in this non-fatal assault was a humble envelope and not the rather more satisfying implement used in the b3ta reimagining below.
What actually happened:
What we all wish had happened:
"Yeah, well the troof 'urts dunnit?" Yes, but not as much as a razor-edged bowler hat, old chum.
Doggo has a new bed. We dispensed with the bean bag she co-opted as a puppy and finally bought her a big, spacious, duvet-style bed. Now she sleeps with this goofy half grin on her face. In fact, her new bed is so comfortable, I watched her actually sneak onto the sofa earlier, then after 2 or 3 minutes consideration sneak back off again and return to her bed. Such is the life of a spoiled and hedonistic hound.
Sir Philip Green has been practically spluttering into his creme de menthe with indignation at the waste and inefficiency exhibited by government departments, but in reality all these pencil pushing bureaucrats are doing is conforming to the oldest rule in the book.
When it comes to spending money, the most efficient way is to spend your own money on yourself. The second is to spend your own money on other people. The least efficient way is to spend other people's money on other people, which is what governments do.
After all, if you aren't going to be out of pocket and won't see the benefit, why on earth should you give a shit about spending it wisely?
Just came across this reworking of the Simpson's opening credits by Banksy. Cue chirpy remix complete with predictable Banksy tags and trademark rats. But then it quickly descends into some dystopian netherworld of commercialised cruelty. Fun. Interesting to know if Matt Groening was actually in on the gag. I'm guessing 20th Century Fox wasn't. Apparently it's the intro for tonight's show. This is what happens when you come to content from You Tube rather than PR.
In case they've passed you by, Die Antwoord ('The Answer') are a Saffer hip hop outfit who "self-identify as a mélange of several diverse cultures", fusing trashy bling rap with "out-of-date, discarded cultural and style elements." Apparently.
They went big last year and it's hard to know whether they are some sort of art-house project, a collection of genuine uber-freaks or just massive, massive dickheads. I suspect something art-house, on account of it all being just the right side of knowing. Plus, massive, massive dickheads don't usually have sensational production values, which like them or loathe them, Die Antwoord undeniably have in spades.
Why is Evil Boy interesting? Because the lyrics are delivered in not just the usual blend of English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, but also Prawn, the alien language from the awesome sci-fi flick District 9. Which is cool. And because at one point Ninja appears to be singing into a six-foot prosthetic penis. Which is, well, weird.
Be warned, if your taste in music is remotely conservative, you will hate what you are about to hear.
Here's New Zealand breakfast TV host Paul Henry's reaction to the name of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit. Yes, he has been suspended.
Fair to say that Henry was probably riffing on the dodgy conditions in the athletes' village when he made the comment about her name being "appropriate", but it certainly sounded pretty racist. That's OK though, because since then lots of Indian guys have been on You Tube putting that "stupid white motherfucker" right. Like racism, stupidity can also be a two-way street.
Caution advised: this may be my worst post ever, but sometimes you see stuff on the Interweb that defies explanation and you just have to tell someone else to make sure it isn't just you seeing it and that everyone else is in fact getting just a really normal version of the world. Let me know.
A while back Otter Zen covered the story of Faisal Shahzad (Zen 200: Times Square bomber was 'world's stupidest terrorist' [LINK]), the man who attempted to bomb New York but failed on account of his sizeable intellectual deficiencies. His follies included buying the bomb making equipment in his own name and then failing to make a mix of fireworks, propane and petrol explode. Really. Apparently it can be done.
Well, he's just been sentenced to Life Without Prospect of Parole (LWOPP in American prison parlance). Upon discovering his sentence, he warned the US that it faced "imminent" defeat in a war with Muslims. That's presumably just as soon as the loony fringe breaks out of the mountainous border regions of Afghanistan and comes up with a way to overwhelm the greatest superpower the world has ever seen with nothing to their names but six rusty Kalashnikovs and a bad case of camel herpes. By Friday.
In summing up, the judge asked Faisal why, if he hated America so much, he had sworn allegiance to the United States when he took US citizenship in April 2009. In response, he summoned up this brilliant bit of playground logic: "Well, I did swear but I didn't mean it."
Somewhere in Pakistan, there is a village missing its idiot.
Great photo of the traditional Montana sport of 'bear tossing', wherein a yearling bear not over 100lbs in weight is propelled skywards by locals using a specially woven blanket. Apparently the bears love it. Except for this one, which died.
The Ryder Cup is about to begin, which means that bastard golf will be everywhere. I don't get golf. This may be because I have the hand-eye coordination of a toddler on roofies, but it's one of very few sports whose popularity leaves me utterly baffled.
I mean, just look at them. Golfers are the most miserable bastards on Earth. When was the last time you met a golfer who said they'd had a brilliant round and really enjoyed it? I'll bet never. The vast majority of golfers spend 95% of their time in a twisted fit about their swing and the other 5% of the time bitching about the monstrous twats they met out on the course. Walk into any golf clubhouse in the world and there's enough hate in the room to make you dizzy, which itself begs the question: what do golfers do for fun?
Then there's the ball. It's not moving. Who in god's name thinks up a sport where the ball isn't moving? Fat, slow, lame people that's who. Then they rig it even further by declaring that you have to hit the ball that isn't moving using a waggly stick, a process that is so arse-achingly difficult to master that only fat, slow, lame people with lots of time on their hands, i.e. rich folks, become any good at it.
But then, inevitably, the skinny, athletic crowd get in on the act and are, of course, better at it because they haven't spent their their entire adult lives scoffing fois gras in smoky boardrooms. So the fat, slow, lame people come up with a completely rigged scoring system - the handicap - that allows them to beat the skinny, athletic people, even though by any objective measure they are much, much worse at twanging a ball that doesn't move around a big field with a waggly stick.
More deranged yet, if the fat, slow, lame people find out they still aren't beating the skinny, athletic people, then they can pretend to be much worse than they actually are to achieve an even bigger handicap, thereby giving themselves an even greater advantage. Who in the suffering fuck invents a sport where you win by pretending to be much shitter than you actually are? It's just not natural.
Finally, there's the clothing. I'd hesitate to suggest that anyone wearing 'slacks' is participating in an activity that can reasonably be described as a sport, especially not when said slacks look like they've been robbed off Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch. Golf must surely be the only social context where it is acceptable for white men to dress as black pimps, which is frankly baffling in a sport that has historically been shot through with more snobbery and segregation than a Georgia Ku Klux Klan meeting.
And the one black guy who is actually super good at it? Well he doesn't have to pimp, because he's getting it all for free. Apparently.