Monthly Archives: December 2008

Top Chef

Tim Newman is a blogging engineer, currently terraforming the far eastern Russian island of Sakhalin, a place Wikipedia describes as “less cold than inland Siberia”, with a view to it being fit for human habitation some time in the 22nd century. His account of his ten days spent on a Russian icebreaker is entertaining.

In Search Of The Perfect Pitch

Clive Davis is a champion of singer/musician Curtis Stigers, who had a couple of enormous mainstream hit singles and then made the journey from pop to jazz years ago. Sadly, it seemed at first that only seven people noticed his migration, including Clive—or as, as wardy observed, seven and two ragged tigers. This year, on the […]

Time Travel

There aren’t many photos of me and my sister as children so I was especially touched when my (British) cousin, Teresa, sent me a couple she had found when scanning her father’s collection. The first one I’ve posted here is of Teresa and me visiting our grandmother in Walton in Lancashire. Uncle Bernard has always […]

“In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”

Congratulations to the Web surfer brought here by a search for: “interracial dates that like Radiohead” You have hit the jackpot.

On The Thrown

[J]ust how effective is it to insult someone in an alien cultural idiom? Bush, naturally enough, looked bewildered, but he ducked speedily and seemed none the worse for wear afterwards. Gordon Brown, I suspect, would have stolidly absorbed the blows; Obama would probably have caught one shoe in each hand before throwing them across the […]

“It’s not the despair; I can cope with the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”

Cornershop Man watches every single cricket international he can on his satellite TV under the counter—and, unlike me, he fails the Tebbit test. At the start of the week, I asked him: “Suppose you’re looking forward to whupping England’s backsides?” “Hmm,” he inhaled, “I don’t know. You’ve got some good bowlers with you. You could […]

Jumpers For Goalposts

[UPDATE: For the hordes arriving here after searching for the comedy catchphrase "Jumpers for goalposts", you'd probably be better off reading this.] Yesterday afternoon, I interrupted some desk-bound consulting work that, even if I weren’t prevented by an NDA from doing so, would put you to sleep instantly if I told you about it, to […]

Always To The Swift

This is a neat little article that sketches out why your skin colour doesn’t determine your chance of growing up to become an elite sprinter; but your genetic make-up might: There are no sprinters of note from Asia, even with more than 50 percent of the world’s population, a Confucian and Tao tradition of discipline, […]

How To Look Polished

Anna “little red boat” Pickard, who is female and blessed with a fine head of hair, has identified an exciting new product for those, like me, who are neither: Shiny head! Originally uploaded by anna pickard.

Great Moments In Music Pedagogy, No. 2 980

The guitarist in the band I’m in has a diploma in (popular) music performance and his music theory is pretty good—certainly better than mine—but he was never taught any music history and he’s only just turned twenty-one. So when, during a discussion about the scores the sax player had written1 for himself and the trumpet […]

An Apology

I’d like to express my profound regret to everyone reading this post for any offence I might have caused by thinking of writing this post while listening to Radio 2 in the shower at the same time as rubbing my naked body with shower gel. In mitigation, my Webcam was switched off at the time—and in […]

Directors’ Cuts

I went to see Quantum of Solace1 yesterday evening. The plot revolves around a secret global club of financiers that’s infiltrated the highest levels of governments and their intelligence agencies. Every one of the movies—The International, Valkyrie, and Angels and Demons—depicted in first three trailers shown beforehand also centres on a conspiracy. Obviously this is a clever double-bluff […]

Clash Of The Titans

From a letter to the Halifax and Calderdale Evening Courier by Jason Smith, the Bradford Chairman of the UK Independence Party: GREEN’S ARREST SHOWS WE ARE BECOMING DICTATORSHIP As unaccustomed as I am to defending Tory MPs, I feel I must speak out about the arrest of Damian Green, who was apparently held for nine […]

Tall People Got No Reason

If you’re over six feet in height, squeezing yourself into an economy seat on a plane can be torture, but if you’re seriously overweight and on a domestic flight in Canada, you get another seat: The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a regulatory ruling requiring the country’s airlines to provide an extra seat — […]

Super Brontë Sisters

As Dickens himself once wrote, this is both the baddest and the bestest thing ever: eighteen quid buys you one hundred classic works of literature for your DS. Devoting a nearly quarter of the content to Shakespeare’s plays is a bit of a cheat, though. That’s like padding out a collection of scores from great […]

Karma Police On Patrol

Led by The Fat One, Take That are top of the singles charts and will soon be top of the album charts. Robbie Williams is not. I feel about this state-of-affairs the same way I feel about Histon beating Leeds in the FA Cup.

“Militants” Express “The Grievances of India’s Muslim Community”

Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head […]