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Ebay fail

If you don't tell your kids about rapists and murderers, who will?Collapse )

For added bonus fail: "toys-for-christmas.co.uk" on January 5th?!

Down and Sprout

There's been a sprout in the gutter on Soho Square all week. Even rats and pigeons won't eat the things. -- huskyteer on Twitter, 16 December 2010

There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square
It must be a week now that it’s been there
It looks just the same as it did on day one
Green, round and lonely, its hopes are all gone
It should be in a kitchen, it seems so unfair
There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square

There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square
I really must say it’s a tragic affair
The rats and the pigeons both leave it alone
That poor lonely sprout that’s bereft of a home
It could freeze half to death and nobody would care
There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square

There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square
The folk passing by all look so debonair
They’re dreaming of turkey and stuffing and wine
If offered this sprout they would surely decline
It’s no longer looking in perfect repair
There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square

There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square
It’s suffering badly from wear and from tear
We need someone famous to highlight its plight
Quick, call for Bob Geldof, perhaps he just might
Do sprouts know it’s Christmas? It makes you despair
There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square

There’s a sprout in the gutter in Soho Square
The days keep on passing and still it lies there
Denied its true home on a Christmassy plate
Like so many homeless, a victim of fate
At this time of year, we should all be aware
Of all of the homeless… no matter where.

Thought for the day

If you call the Incontinence Hotline, do they say "Please hold"?
Bought both the new issue of i.s.o, and the collected volume 1 thereof, at FC. Been reading the latter (which comes with a bonus story never previously published that is Very Odd Indeed).

Reading the comic as a whole rather than a series of pages on its LJ comunity is much to be recommended; it makes it easier to follow and helps keep track of the characters. It's made me realise just what a damn good comic i.s.o is, and also made me wish that my own comic, Ragged Heroes, hadn't been forced onto hold due to kashyfox having to drop out of the project; because in many ways Ragged Heroes and i.s.o. were making similar points from different directions, if that makes sense.


I still have everything I did for RH -- complete scripts for the first two issues, detailed plotlines for the remaining six of what was to be an eight issue run -- and I'm pretty sure that the story would be as entertaining and relevant now as it was in 2005 when I first started work on it.

At a push I suppose I could convert it into a purely textual story, but I'd sooner it stayed as a comic, the way it was meant to be.

Therefore... I am looking for an artist with whom to collaborate on an eight issue, ongoing storyline, slice of life furry comic. You don't have to help with the writing, though if you want to I'd be very happy to work with you; if you're happy to just draw from my scripts I'm happy to handle that entire side of things.

I like the way i.s.o does things, i.e. putting each page online as it's completed, and then printing a comic once or twice a year when there are enough pages to fill one; but this is negotiable.

Everyone reading, please: if you know an artist who you think might be interested, feel free to point them at this post. And I'd also appreciate suggestions for where else, other than here, that I could disseminate this advertisement.

Over to y'all...

Not a resolution

I  don't do New Year's resolutions, but here's my New Year wish.

I endorse it with all my heart, for all my readers.

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind."

Quote from Neil Gaiman, via sammason .

I  encourage others to reprint this (and, of course, to mean it).



This, people, this.

Johnny Casino and the Secrets

Went out last Friday to a gig where this mob were the support act.

I'd never heard of them before, but gorblimey, they were good. A little poking around shows that the eponymous Johnny is Australian and is currently doing two months touring Europe -- though only two gigs were in England, and I was at the second, so sorry, you missed him.

Garage rock is alive and well down under, and here's the proof (with a really rather good video, too, assembled out of bits of ancient movie; can anyone identify any?)

Just for Sphelx

You can travel from Earl's Court to Sloane Square on the District Line in 9 minutes or so.

When I was young I told my mum
I'm going to walk on the Moon someday
Armstrong and Aldrin spoke to me
From Houston and Cape Kennedy
And I watched the Eagle landing
On a night when the Moon was full
And as it tugged at the tides, I knew deep inside
I too could feel its pull

I lay in my bed and dreamed I walked
On the Sea of Tranquillity
I knew that someday soon we'd all sail to the moon
On the high tide of technology
But the dreams have all been taken
And the window seats taken too
And 2001 has almost come and gone
What am I supposed to do?

Now that the space race is over
It's been and it's gone and I'll never get to the moon
Because the space race is over
And I can't help but feel we've all grown up too soon

Now my dreams have all been shattered
And my wings are tattered too
And I can still fly but not half as high
As once I wanted to

Now that the space race is over
It's been and it's gone and I'll never get to the moon
Because the space race is over
And I can't help but feel we've all grown up too soon

My son and I stand beneath the great night sky
And gaze up in wonder
I tell him the tale of Apollo And he says
"Why did they ever go?"
It may look like some empty gesture
To go all that way just to come back
But don't offer me a place out in cyberspace
Cos where in the hell's that at?

Now that the space race is over
It's been and it's gone and I'll never get out of my room
Because the space race is over
And I can't help but feel we're all just going nowhere

(Billy Bragg)

Apropos of nothing (really)

"If a person can't communicate, the very least they can do is to shut up." (--Tom Lehrer)

A voice in the wilderness

It really annoys me when I see someone talking about an event happening "in just three short months" or bemoaning that it's "three long weeks" till they see their boyfriend.

How does a long month or a short month, pray, differ from an ordinary one?

Don't these people read George Orwell on the use of ready-made hackneyed phrases?

Susan bloody Boyle

I swear that the next person who posts that bloody clip of Susan bloody Boyle bloody singing is going to be off my friends list!

...well, probably not... but seriously, people, is there anyone in the WORLD who hasn't seen this yet?

So a middle aged woman can sing. Wow. Who knew? Go get Shirley Bassey out of her retirement home!

EDIT: I'm not going to post a link to the bloody video. If you really haven't heard of her, Google is your friend. I also recommend some very sensible comments from Firecat, who as so often makes a lot more sense than me: http://firecat.livejournal.com/609437.html
Music GCE A Level: 8 February 2008

Question 1 (20 marks)

Compare and contrast Weird Al Yankovic's "Angry White Boy Polka" with Bill Bailey's "Greatest Cockney Rock Album In The World... Ever." Pay especial attention to each artiste's use of their respective culture's traditional musical formats.

On a different note...

(Namely a fanfare of trumpets and angelic harps)

Happy birthday arakinuk

Dear Dr Freud

Last night I dreamt that I had been elected as a local councillor for the Labour party.

After the count and the announcement that I had won the other Labour councillors took me aside and congratulated me, then told me "Right, now we get to tell you how the system really works, not the lies that the voters all believe..."

But before they could tell me, I woke up.

What does this MEAN?!

A belated thought

Would the poem in my last post be better if it ended:

"I'm glad I am a poet.
My god! perhaps I'm not."

loganberrybunny, this is YOUR fault

Observe the happy poet!
He's composed an epigram.
I wish I were a poet.
My god! perhaps I am.

Take note, all my friends

Found this week on the ever-amusing b3ta.com:

"My friend says that if she died in a car accident, she wouldn't want bunches of flowers [tied to the nearest street furniture], as her opinion of them is similar to yours. Instead she wants a giant statue of her saying "SLOW DOWN" as it moves its arm up and down in the style of a traffic policeman."

Be it hereby noted and enacted that I WANT THAT TOO. Okay?

(A special prize to anyone except bhata who can say why this has got me thinking of Half Man Half Biscuit. Who, incidentally, I saw in Kentish Town last Thursday week, and very good they were too. They even got people starting a mosh pit centre stage, as though they were metallers or grungers instead of urbane quirk-rockers.)
Thanks to loganberrybunny for drawing to my attention this BBC poll in which we are invited to rank Britain's twelve post World War II prime ministers in order of their ability -- but in order for your vote to be counted you must score all twelve.

This is the sort of debate I could engage in till the cows come home, so I'm reposting my answer below this cutCollapse )
However, I encourage anyone thinking of voting to cast their votes without looking at my post or Logan's first! (And don't forget they're being ranked on post-war achievements only -- especially relevant for Churchill, that, of course.)

Book meme

Grab the nearest book. Find the 5th sentence on page 23. Append it to the paragraph below. Append your name to the list below of people who have contributed to the paragraph. Post the result to your LJ.

They also talk of our being guilty of injustice, and their being the victims of an unjustifiable war. Brandy, and Tom got increasingly close-mouthed and sour. Although a certain sense of tripartite society survived down to Christian times, the three classes described in the Eddic poem "Rigdthula" bear little resemblance to Dumezil's three. It is often argued, and still oftener thought, that none but bad men would desire to weaken these salutary beliefs; and there can be nothing wrong, it is thought, in restraining bad men, and prohibiting what only such men would wish to practice. At its nearest point the wall was little more than one league from the City, and that was south-eastward. When he saw Jack Hare jump towards the fire, and the Practical Man brandishing the toasting-fork, Sir Isaac grabbed the strings of gravitational force that bound Jack to his destiny and PULLED--- That's a seventy-four gun privateer, besides. To honour a group of British nobles, treacherously slain at a conference by Hengist's guards, Aurelius decides to erect a great monument near Amesbury. That being so, he did not chortle when he went upstairs. Let stand. This ensures that when the garbage collector runs, it has complete access to the memory in the heap and can perform its tasks safely without the threat of being preempted by another thread. And then you may begin to laugh. The data are stored in Column 1 and renamed "Age." Pull your hand back. I don't remember that any secrets were revealed to me, nor do I remember any avid curiosity on my part to learn something I wasn't supposed to--perhaps I was too young to know what to listen for. You don't remember how awful it is being normal. Highlight the desired state tax table and press Enter. Abraham had now reached a ripe old age, and the LORD had blessed him in every way. This doesn't alter either string, any more than 2+3 alters either 2 or 3. And I will say firmly that it is the author who says, "One does feel," who is really an egoist; and the author who says, "I believe," who is not an egoist. The police have agreed to let us show this video. She was particularly fond of Union Maj. Joseph Willard, some years her senior, who courted her amid the competitive field of Blue and Gray. And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womanservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. Nonetheless I am surprised to see the amount my week's worth of toil has actually brought me. Her cheeks began a burn against her palms. He sang when he was making things of this sort; and when Smith began to sing those nearby stopped their own work and came to the smithy to listen. "Nej, vänta lite nu!" utropade premiärministern. "Ni kan inte bara stoppa in ert folk på mitt kontor, det är jag som bestämmer vem som arbetar för mig..." The small, dark interiors were, especially of the temples, were places where the gods, ancestors, and a few authorized lords visited. It provides war and disaster relief and aid to refugees. Many Irish priests still seem frozen in a state of adolescence.

1) Ranger Rick 2) Rialian 3) Elenbarathi 4) Starsandfishes 5) Echthros 6) Doltaghey 7) Ebonhost 8) Tibicina 9) Browngirl 10) ceo 11) roozle 12) quietann 13) Dale (achinhibitor) 14) tigerbright 15) autographedcat 16) kitanzi xvii) annonyno חי)thnidu 19) smallship1 20) vashti 21) xydexx 22) Leonard_Arlotte 23) margaras 24) snobahr 25) halfelf 26) Vandringar 27) melskunk 28) kinkyturtle 29) klepsydra

An unusually honest bank

It's generally believed by most people that all bankers are, well... merchant bankers, to use the vernacular.

So it's nice to see that one bank at least accepts this and is honest and upfront about it.

Step forward and receive your prize, ICICI Bank UK!

Check out section 1.2 of their savings account terms and conditions:


Ooh, it's tomorrow

...which means: happy birthday, snowfields!
I'm so allergic to myself

that when I cry

my tears leave acid trails

running down my cheeks
What do I have in common with the Jews?  I don't even have anything in common with myself.
I got wild staring eyes

and I got a strong urge to fly

but I got nowhere to fly to
I adore the unique British band Half Man Half Biscuit, but I would be the first to admit that they aren't for everyone.

Anyone who tells you that they have identified every reference in every HMHB song is lying (or Nigel Blackwell, who writes them -- and I'm not convinced even he could get them all, sometimes.)

Their newest album, the wonderfully (and typically) titled CSI: Ambleside just came out, and I picked it up yesterday at HMV, taking it over to bhata's with me for a first listen. We all agreed it was a thumbs-up and, if anything, even better than its predecessor Achtung Bono. There's a more definite rock groove (apart from one track which comes perilously close to being rap, but amuses nonetheless) and it's perhaps a smidge more accessible than some of their other releases this century, though of course it will still come nowhere within ten miles of denting the charts.

If you've never heard any HMHB, give it a listen.

Oh, and speaking of obscure references... The CD's back cover proclaims that it was 'produced by R M Qualtrough'. This name rang a faint bell for me, and not a musical one either, so I looked further...

And it was as I thought. 'R M Qualtrough' was the false name given by the never-identified murderer of Julia Wallace in Liverpool (HMHB's home town, of course!) back in 1931, a real-life whodunit celebrated at the time, and even now, for its complexity -- Julia Wallace was in some ways the Madeleine McCann of her day. Her husband, an inoffensive little insurance salesman, was lured out of the house by a phone call to sell a policy to a non-existent address, and while he was out searching for it, 'Qualtrough' broke into his house and killed his wife. The police decided that Mr Wallace must himself be the murderer and he was actually found guilty at his trial, but then cleared by the Court of Appeal -- the first such case in British legal history, I do believe. It's all at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Herbert_Wallace and http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/wallace.html.

A quick Google suggests that I may be the first on the Internet to nail this little joke by Nigel, and I'm feeling insufferably smug about it. Which is, of course, why HMHB are a perfect band for me.

Lending library

Today's post by the_gneech reminds me: someone out there has borrowed my copy of 'Scream for Jeeves', and I'm blessed if I can remember who. Anyone want to own up? bhata? huskyteer?

Vote, vote, vote for Nigel Barton

Those of my readers who have a vote today: for goodness sakes, go and use it if you haven't already. Democracy is not an automatic right, and the less we use it the more likely we are to lose it -- you just know Margaret Thatcher would have declared herself Emperor for Life if she had thought she could get away with it.

In the Mayor of London roadshow, after some last minute hesitation (and contrary to what I told moshiicake) I voted Paddick first and Livingstone second, since the smart money seems to be on the election coming down to a two-horse race between Kuddly Ken and Barmy Boris, with second choices making the difference. I hope I'm right, because if Boris Johnson wins on first place votes alone I am going to feel a complete tit. Livingstone has many faults, like all politicians, but he's so self-evidently a superior choice compared to Johnson, who looks and acts like he's just come from midnight mass at St Loony's-up-the-Cream-Bun-and-Jam, that I truthfully cannot see how any person with a grain of sense could think Boris was a good choice (there, that should alienate half my friends list).

As I came home from voting the heavens opened briefly, and left behind this:

A double rainbow, no less. Maybe God was trying to tell Walthamstow to vote for Paddick after all.

A good month for music

28th April 2008: Half Man Half Biscuit release their new album 'CSI: Ambleside'.
19th May 2008: Sparks release their new album 'Exotic Creatures Of The Deep'.
27th May 2008: TV Smith releases his new album 'In The Arms Of My Enemy'.

Just heard Sparks' new single 'Good Morning'. Oh boy it's good!

Not that HMHB and TV won't be as good or better, of course. Have some footage of them as well:

HMHB "It's Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas":

TV Smith "Not A Bad Day":

"...myghod that was The Time Monster..."

It's funny how most of the links I seem to be posting here these days are for the benefit primarily of huskyteer. Maybe it's because she's one of my best friends that I never get to talk to these days either online or on the computer.

Anyway... Jon Pertwee is The Prisoner!

As the page itself says, "Utterly pointless but hopefully amusing". And very cleverly done. I like geeky cleverness for its own sake, and this is as fine an example as can be found