Sunday, January 31, 2010
I have reproduced this post on facebook, but some readers here think that facebook is not their cup of tea.
I hope that you will all enjoy this account of my dear friend Mountaine's recent birthday. Proof, were it needed, that you can still be bloody silly in old age.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The Torygraph contains an extraordinary headline (I didn’t read the story) about claims by the brother of someone called “Susan Boyle”. I am not aware of the young lady. I assume that she is a pop singer of some sort, perhaps a member of one of these “girl groups” about which one hears so much these days. Perhaps Dave can illuminate this little corner of popular culture; he likes to keep abreast of modern music.
Anyway, Mr Boyle has expressed fears that his sister might be assassinated in the same way that John Lennon was.
I find this disturbing and disrespectful.
John would never have courted controversy by comparing his status to someone even more famous from the past.
Monday, January 25, 2010
In a vain attempt to provide interesting news stories to fill round-the-clock broadcasting, BBC Radio 5 this morning spent some time interviewing a cove by the name of Lord Rees (Rhys? Reece? – [it’s Rees. Ed. Now get on with it]) who is President of the Royal Society (some conflict of political philosophy there?) who gave lie to the fact that he has a very large brain by discussing with Nicky Campbell the possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe.
Readers (a Mrs Trellis of North of North Mayall’s Object) will be surprised to hear that yes, it is likely that there is life out there, but no, we do not know for sure.
Well thanks, chaps, for filling in that little gap in my knowledge. There’s one less conundrum about which to fret, then.
For those of you who are unfortunate enough to be of foreign or alien extraction, I should tell you that the Royal Society is a club for scientists, founded by Christopher Wren, the ornithologist, and Robert Boyle, the discoverer of carbuncles, and other ghastly swots as “'a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning”. It would be cruel to comment on their inability to spell or correctly use upper case in judging whether they were qualified to form a college.
Anyway, old Rees tells us that if there is life out there capable of communicating with us, it is so far away that exchange of messages will take many years.
I have checked comments on a few of my earlier posts here, and find no sign of visits from beyond the bounds of this planet, although with some of you it is difficult to be absolutely sure. (Hello Adam).
I am not entirely sure whether there is any benefit to be gained from having such a readership, even if they have broadband and have not defaulted on their direct debits to BT. They are probably not yet aware of the result of the Battle of Trafalgar, for example, and may be expecting me to be writing in French. It is bad enough waiting for dear old Dave to keep up, without having to explain to some creature from the next galaxy who Keith Chegwin is. I am not implying, I hasten to add, that all of the inhabitants of Norfolk are as chronologically challenged as Dave; some of Rog’s puns, for example, are under thirty years old.
When these people do communicate with us however, and have established an internet connection, downloaded IE, created a facebook account, done a lol on twitter, searched for “pictures of big tits” and checked their numbers on Euromillions, they will dash over here to check out the epitome of human wisdom.
So, what should I tell them first? What are the bedrocks of human existence, without which nothing will make sense? Here is my first draft:
1) No matter how beautiful and glorious your planet is, with its psychedelic sunsets, North East Hampshire-like topography, and curvaceous features of all thirteen sexes, nothing on it will approach the majesty of a Tom Graveney cover drive.
2) Discard the theory that God rested on the seventh day. It is silly. The poor old bugger laboured for many millennia, and only after he had created Goldie Hawn’s arse was he able to tick the “job well done” column on his to-do list and put his feet up for a few hours.
3) You are not allowed to dance on Thatcher’s grave. We have a system here, called queuing, and, as late arrivals, your place is at the back. Even if you combine the skills of Dame Ninette de Valois and Michael Jackson.
4) When you arrive, you will be pestered by scientists. Do not pay them much mind. By doing so it would be as if you had given as much credence to those who make canvas as those who paint on it – a necessary and skilled craft, but only a means to an end. Be kind to them – pat them on the head, say “well done” and give them a toffee, but do not be distracted by their ramblings.
5) For amusement, try the ancient sport of skittles. Our most famous bowling alley is called “Stonehenge”. Just off the A303.
6) If you want to piss yourselves laughing (that is, if you share those characteristics with us. Perhaps you truly do lmfao when you find something quite amusing), go and have a look at the LHC. Guess how much it cost? No, really.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
May I say how much I enjoyed the programme on the electric television this evening called “Book Club”?
I enjoyed the programme on the electric television this evening called “Book Club” very much, thank you for asking.
I struggled for some time to tolerate the smarmy Frostrup woman on one of the Sky channels. I failed, alas.
Those nice people at channel 4 then came up with the idea of having a book programme hosted by Jo Brand. We love Jo, don’t we? I probably won’t read many of the books that are discussed (as a concession to being one of her majesty’s unemployed I have curtailed my book spending), but it was still very enjoyable.
You may have seen a television series called Silent Witness. As it is sort of a detective thing, I felt obliged to watch.
I found myself becoming slightly fascinated by the leading lady. Like many actresses in these sorts of programmes she seems to have only one facial expression (as does, for example, the nice young lady who is the DS in Rebus).
More alarmingly, when wearing this expression, which I calculate to be 90% of the time, she adopts a kind of frown in which something sticks out on her forehead just above the right eye. It does seem to be a vein, but, lacking medical training, I could not accurately identify it. Maybe it is the clitoris, who knows?
I suspect that they employ actresses with these bizarre quirks in order to distract the discerning viewer (i.e. me) from the appalling continuity errors and ludicrous plots.
I became so diverted by this lady that I decided to find out more about her, to see whether there were any genetic reasons for her face to be set into so peculiar an expression.
“Bugger me!” I exclaimed. She is Emilia Fox, and cousin to my favourite weirdo, Lawrence, who is Sergeant Haveitaway in “Lewis”. Do you know of any more members of the Fox dynasty who are portraying eccentric members of the law enforcement community on the electric television? Maybe they have a monopoly. I think we should be told.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I apologise in advance for writing about blogging. I hate it when people do that.
But I need to tell you that my absence here is due not only to my not having anything worthwhile to say (yes, I agree, that has never stopped me before), but also my awareness of that lack.
I am still reading your daily jottings, but I don't have anything much to say about them. Fortunately, there is one blog out there specifically invented for those with nothing to say, so I usually leave a comment there. Thanks, Dave. I have also been more than a little rude to Tom. I may regret that later.
Anyway, can I direct you to two of the many little contributions to the creative part of the electric internet which may have escaped your attention?
I've nearly finished this, and still not regretting what I said to Tom. I mean he's watching some sort of celebrity nonsense on television.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Spare me a moment, please, Mrs Bennet, and you better bring half a pound of your finest butter with you.
Much as I hate to select the less savoury aspects of the news upon which to comment, I am sure that some of you will have seen the description of the poor man who had a rather embarrassing incident with a metal pipe.
The Torygraph, usually so careful about sensationalism, reported somewhat ambiguously:
“Medics at Southampton General Hospital could not get the man's penis out of the stainless steel pipe because the restricted blood flow had caused it to become aroused.
So they called in Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.”
I think that it needs to be stated that they were called because of their expertise in releasing things from other things, and not because they were likely to cause the end of the arousal. Yesterday evening a couple of members of the Hampshire police force had reason to enlist my help and called at my house. I cannot tell you how exciting this was, and can only assume that other members of the emergency services are equally stimulating in this fine county.
For those of you whose geographical knowledge is below average, I should tell you that Southampton is in the far south west of the county, whereas my property is in the North East. While I am shocked and stunned that anything like this should occur in this locality, it would certainly never happen in Jane Austen country. She was, after all, a leading advocate of lubrication – Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Ass and Anallube.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Someone on the Indescribablyboring has located my previous posting, if not my G spot, and commenced to find some other unsubstantiated claims to do with thingy.
The correspondent finds ten subjects to conjecture upon, but mysteriously ends the final one with:
"that frequent masturbation can actually reduce the chances of contracting prostate ca"
I guess that he just gave into the impulse after getting too involved in the subject.
I tell you this by way of warning.
Monday, January 04, 2010
As the more astute readers (there is a fine oxymoron for you) may have detected, I became somewhat disenchanted with the Torygraph’s scientific review of the decade. I think it was just a space filler, which is odd as I read it online, and as of 8:40 this fine morning there still seems to be lots of potential space on the electric internet as yet unfilled.
So this morning I turned my attention to the august offerings of the Belfast Telegraph and their perspective on the scientific community.
The particular article that caught my attention, and I have no idea why, concerned a study by ‘scientists’ from King’s College London which has cast doubt on the existence of the ‘G Spot’.
No details are given as to the source of funding for this project, but I suspect that it was the good old taxpayer. The alternative is that a millionairess had become distraught at the loss of her erogenous zone.
Let us applaud the restraint, then, of these fine scientists who did not set about their task by the more obvious practical route, but instead conducted the research by the medium of a questionnaire.
The BT tells us that the questionnaires were “filled in”; not “filled out”, nor “filled up”, nor even simply “filled”. What does one do with questionnaires? Perhaps I ought to conduct a questionnaire about it. When ‘filled in’ and ‘filled out’ clearly carry the same meaning ought we not to dispense with all the outs, ins, ups, downs, rounds, throughs, ons and offs that superfluously qualify verbs? I am sure that you all have an opinion on this important matter. I am equally sure that I care not what it is. (that’s enough wandering off topic, Ed.)
There will be, no doubt, a parade of comely wenches who, having had this issue highlighted, will be begging my time and expertise in searching out their G spots, and indeed any other alphabet related personal area that is normally concealed from public view. I am sorry to disappoint, but my mailbox and letterbox are filled with similar requests, and these boxes alone take too much of my time (I nearly wrote “take up” there). I really wish there were someone around with my discretion and sensitivity with whom I could share these arduous duties.
Perhaps instead you could inform the chaps at KCL if you have a G spot. Or tell them if you once had one and have now lost it (where was it the last time you remember seeing it?). If you have ever found a G spot, particularly in some place that you were not expecting to find one, then I am sure that they would be equally interested.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Are you all keeping up?
Colin Pillinger Professor of planetary science at the Open University is excited about the discovery of ice on the moon, and the prospect of an astronaut base there. Yes, boys and girls, another corner of the universe that mankind can go and befoul. I don’t rate the ice’s chances of survival. If we (the species, you fool – my readers and I will be lucky to get past Thursday) survive the next century then the news will be full of the threat of lunar warming.
Charlie Burton, who is only a journalist and not an academic, but he probably tries hard, champions the cause of wireless power transfer. He says “meaning that inconvenient clutter, such as mobile-phone chargers, will soon be a thing of the past”. Oh goody. This means that the owners of cellular telephones will never have to go home, and can entertain us all with their conversations – 24/7 as annoying people like that say.
Roger Highfield is another journalist, and I can barely follow the reasons for his being excited. The clue may be in the surname, but perhaps I am being uncharacteristically cynical. He thinks that the discovery of “Homo floresiensis” is important. This refers to a bunch of remains of creatures now extinct who lived 18,000 years ago. Dave is nearly that old, and still with us, but does he get that kind of recognition? Most unfair.
Vicus Scurra, head of applied obfuscation at North East Hampshire Faculty of Physics Deniers heralded the discovery that you don’t have to review the rest of the contributions in this particular offering from the Torygraph. Apparently, it gets even more boring and is filled with similar piffle.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Sue Hartley, professor of ecology at the University of Sussex is thrilled to report that plant scientists (i.e. fauna who study flora rather than flora who study something else) have found that plants can recognise what is attacking them and adapt their behaviour accordingly. She reckons this will be important. I reckon it foretells the evolution of triffids. I need to clarify that my problem is not with those who like nothing better than to tuck into a cabbage (not a euphemism, that boy at the back), but those who destroy the environment with chemicals. She also says that we need to work out how to maintain crop yields in the face of a changing climate. Good point, Sue, no other bugger has thought of that, have they?
Simon Singh who is not even a professor, not even at the University of Slighty Obscure on Severn, is excited that we have seen a planet outside of this solar system for the first time, but is unclear as exactly ‘how’ we saw it. I have checked, I just took a peek through the curtains, and even though there is a clear sky and a full moon, I can’t see this planet of which he speaks. He does say “Viewing another planet (albeit at infrared frequencies) was an extraordinary moment, because it made the idea of extraterrestrial life more concrete. This particular planet is probably too inhospitable to harbour life.” In other words, even though we can see it, (probably only if our name is Simon Singh), that’s all we can do. We can look at it. Simon, lovey, there are more than enough bloody things to look at already. I have not seen half of the things on the electric internet, and I’ve been sitting at this screen since quarter past seven. In fact, all Simon really has to say is that there’s a very good chance of intelligent life out there in the universe. I think, Simon, that we have caught you unprepared, haven’t we? The heading for your section should be “Will This Do?”. And what, pray, do you mean by 'harbour life' - not entirely free from ambiguity, is it?
Lord Rees - Astronomer Royal and president of the Royal Society. Is in agreement with Simon, and is all excited about the discovery that lots of stars have planets. I think the Torygraph must have contacted him whilst he was quietly getting pissed in the “Pipette and Micrometer”, probably with Simon Singh, if this is the best he could come up with. What, in the name of buggery, does an Astronomer Royal do? Is he on call in case Prince Andrew sees some light outside his bedroom window that he can’t recognise? Does he have to telephone Liz once a fortnight to report that Saturn is maintaining the correct orbit? I wonder if there is a Cynic Royal and how much it pays. I could do that. (Drifting off topic a bit here – just caught the end of Spinal Tap on the electric television).
Paddy Moore (still apparently alive) has got all het up about the discovery of bacteria on Mars. (Rog, do you want to do something about unhygienic chocolate bars?) saying how marvellous it is that life will appear just about anyplace that is capable of supporting it. To me, this just shows that life is totally indiscriminate, as witnessed by it managing to allow Patrick Moore and his loony cronies to exist.
Friday, January 01, 2010
Next up to the oche is Steve Jones. professor of genetics at University College London (When did professors start having names like Steve?).
He agrees with contestant number one about the garden gnome project, but thinks that sooner or later people will stop funding research which has no promise of any benefit. I almost like him.
I will now demonstrate a proper name for a professor, and quote his section in full:
Richard Wiseman - Professor of psychology, University of Hertfordshire
"In my field, I would select the 'Gorillas in our Midst' experiment by Daniel Simons, of the University of Illinois, and Christopher Chabris, of Harvard, in 2004. They asked people to count the number of passes being made by a basketball team in a video – the vast majority failed to notice a gorilla walking across the court, even when it thumped its chest (the idea was copied for a recent road-safety video, using a moonwalking bear).
As well as being a fascinating demonstration of a psychological phenomenon known as 'inattentional blindness', the experiment illustrated that it is possible to have a great deal of fun while carrying out science, and inspired lots of researchers and students to create other fascinating studies exploring the surprising limitations of our perceptual system."
(When did they start having universities in places like Hertfordshire).
Doncha just love “inattentional blindness”. I have made studies of the limitations of our perceptual system. I have observed that there is a propensity among humanity to read the discoveries of members of the scientific community and not immediately proclaim “This is bollocks”. As for having fun carrying out science, well, Dickie, you obviously didn’t go to my school.
OK, time for the big boys:
Frank Close - Professor of physics, University of Oxford
He is excited by the fact that some chaps found fault with earlier research by another chap. We can now detect all three kinds of neutrino being emitted by the sun. Before you all breathe sighs of enormous relief, then I should inform you that I am in the process of contacting Frankie, and telling him that I have found six different kinds of neutrino in my garage this morning, without having to look too hard.
Prof. Close goes on to predict that the LHC will discover something that no one had ever anticipated. Wrong again, Close you old goat, I have anticipated every daft notion, theory and useless fact to emanate from that particular corner of the age of confusion. Refer to my “this is bollocks” remark above.