zaterdag, februari 28, 2009

According to a recent study, Obese teenagers carry same risk as smoking 10 cigarettes a day.

Now this is the kind of reductionist hysteria that simple warms the heart.

So "clinically obese" teen are just as prone to social darwinism premature death as 10 fag-a-day habit teens. Naturally one wonders what it takes to be considered clinically obese...

Overweight is defined as having a body mass index – a measure of body fat based on height and weight – of between 25 and 30, whereas being obese is defined as having a BMI of more than 30. Being overweight at 18 increased the risk of an early death by just more than a third, while being obese more than doubled the risk. The risk of premature death also increased with the number of cigarettes smoked, with heavy smokers at more than double the risk of dying relatively early in life compared to non-smokers.

On the other hand, whilst teens smoking 10 fags a day are likely to be considered hipsters by the underachieving antisocial, slacker element bound to populate most teenage hangouts, somehow it's far less likely some fatty is going to end up considered cool rather than the butt of every one else's jokes so, well, you do the maths:


With another pair fallen, the English maintained their worldwide lead in drunk fucks who get killed in drink-related accidents whilst on holiday.

For a few colourful examples, check here.

While normal visitors are busy doing boring things like scuba diving and “eating breakfast”, the British are showing us what the fun holiday activities really are: vomiting in the street, stumbling from balconies, getting horribly maimed, and (most fun of all) dying of alcohol poisoning.


White Stripes

There's No Home For You Here

There's no home for you here girl, go away
There's no home for you here

I'd like to think that all of this constant interaction
Is just the kind of make you drive yourself away
Each simple gesture done by me is counteracted
And leaves me standing here with nothing else to say

Completely baffled by a backward indication
That an inspired word will come across your tongue
Hands moving upward to propel the situation
Have simply halted
And now the conversation's done

There's no home for you here girl, go away
There's no home for you here

I'm only waiting for the proper time to tell you
That it's impossible to get along with you
It's hard to look you in the face when we are talking
So it helps to have a mirror in the room

I've not been really looking forward to the performance
But there's my cue and there's a question on your face
Fortunately I have come across an answer
Which is go away
And do not leave a trace

There's no home for you here girl, go away
There's no home for you here

Waking up for breakfast
Burning matches
Talking quickly
Breaking baubles
Throwing garbage
Drinking soda
Looking happy
Taking pictures
So completely stupid
Just go away

There's no home for you here girl, go away
There's no home for you here



One day this month, 30 years ago, John Simon Ritchie, otherwise known as Sid Vicious, woke up dead. He had spent the previous evening shooting heroin in celebration of his release from Riker's Island after an assault charge. Sometime during the night, his heart stopped. He was 21 years old.

woensdag, februari 25, 2009

I Dunno Why, This Just Cracks Me Up

thanks, passive aggressive notes


Especially in light of this cowardly decision.

Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell said: "This is a Government which, when introducing measures to limit personal freedom, says that those that have nothing to hide should have nothing to fear.

"If the process of reaching the decision to embark upon an illegal war against Iraq is still supported by the Government, why haven't they the courage to let us see the minutes of the Cabinet?"

Fucking hypocrites. Cowards? Maybe that's why. Oh no, I'm sure there's a much more dignified and moral rationale behind it than meets the idea. Something only the Cabinet would be aware of and simply can't share with the unwashed masses who are clearly to stupid and gullible to deserve the unvarnished truth.


Whilst the news isn't earth-shattering, probably something more appropriately relegated to some gossip rag or hair salon magazine pile, a Swedish Princess is going to marry her personal trainer...

Apparently there is some sort of kink the Scandanavian Royals have with mixing with and marrying the riff raff:

In Norway, Crown Prince Haakon married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, a single mother and waitress, who was the daughter of an unemployed alcoholic. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark met his wife Mary Donaldson in a bar in Sydney and introduced himself by saying: “Hi, I’m Fred from Denmark.”

I dunno, does it matter? No, it's just an alternative to hyperventilating into a paper bag after reading that other bit about the Iraq War minutes.

via quirkyjessi

dinsdag, februari 24, 2009

For those struggling with the drink, or struggling against it, however the case may be, take heart in this piece on writers and drinking. Nice little ditty about Hunter S Thompson setting himself alight. (I read that piece by Hamill quite some time ago and still recall the incomprehensible bouts with gin that F Scott Fitzgerald went through.) You wonder sometimes if it is genius in spite of the drinking or because of it. Funny world, perspective.


Speaking of drinking, why not a Guide to best New Orleans bars for Mardi Gras?


From the Cocaine?! I Thought I Was Smuggling Diamonds!, Department of Dumb Excuses:

"The problem is the boss paid for me to be transferred and now I am in his debt," he says. "If he puts a gun in my hand and tells me to shoot someone I will have to do it. If he says I have to let him sleep with Laura, there will be nothing I can do.”

It is quite a little tale about a British guy with a dodgy history taking his kids and ex-missus on a trip to Venezuela alleged just to smuggle diamonds but as it turned out, they ended up busted for attempting to smuggle cocaine.

I do feel a little sorry for the woman who may very well have been duped but when you think about it, what was she doing running off with her ex and her kids to Venezuela when she had a boyfriend already? Lure of the sunshine thousands of miles away too strong?

Perhaps should feel good for the kids, getting out of the clutches of such colossal idiots which no cannot but have a harmful effect on their upbringing.

But really, the guy? Are we really supposed to feel sorry for him? Jackal.


And yes, today IS Pancake Day in England, aka Shrove Tuesday, the day before the onset of Lent. For those of you who don't know any better yet still somehow manage to care, read this for a little background.

Just realise that whilst people in Ingerland are stuffing their gobs with pancakes, in New Orleans they're having "real" fun getting all liquored up at Mardi Gras.

Anyway, in theory, today is the day you are supposed to confess all your terrible sins and seek absolution for them.

So start confessin', kids.


And whilst it's no pancake, how about a Dashimaki fried egg, Japanese-style, like?

maandag, februari 23, 2009

Shedding The Ego

What the Curlew Said, Nostos Continued, by John Moriarty, via Dublin Review of Books on "old evil":

As in Nostos, he refers to Captain Ahab’s obsessive hunting down of the whale in Melville’s Moby Dick. This he sees as a powerful, expressive image of the mindset that’s wrong with Western culture, through which nature is treated merely as something to be harnessed and exploited for practical benefit. A related problem is the old one of evil, which troubles him. “If things are ontologically so right how come they are so often so morally wrong?” He well recognises that nature itself is harsh and indifferent to human and animal suffering. He finds it “unfigurable” that the curlew in whose call he hears “gospels” is also a predator of worms. At the same time, central to his view is the recognition that we still carry within us today something from our entire human and animal past. A part of this has been the struggle to survive in an often hostile environment. Fear and apprehension have deep roots. But so too does wonder, along with dreams and aspirations. Moriarty sees us as still having the capacity to reawaken in ourselves the early stupendous wonder our distant ancestors must have felt on becoming aware of being in the world, a wonder which found expression in naturalist religious beliefs and practices.


Musical interlude: Hermeto Pascoal, live at Montreaux 1979, zows! (particularly the solo about 6 minutes in...)

zondag, februari 22, 2009

The Many Languages of Death

Il cadavere di un uomo è stato trovato dentro una valigia in un appartamento di via Urbano II al quartiere Aurelio a Roma.

Een 23-jarige vrouw uit Wageningen is zaterdagavond om het leven gekomen nadat zij met haar auto op een bestelbusje en daarna op een boom was gebotst. Het ongeluk gebeurde op de kruising Nijenoord Allee en de Churchillweg in Wageningen, zo heeft de politie laten weten.

Un policier a été tué de deux balles dans la tête ce samedi soir à la Courneuve (Seine-Saint-Denis). Le policier - un homme d'une trentaine d'années - était en civil au moment des faits. Les circonstances de cette mort restent pour l'heure indéterminées.

Los perros desplegados por la Guardia Civil para la búsqueda de Carmelo M.D., de 38 años de edad y cónyuge de la mujer fallecida violentamente en Rociana del Condado (Huelva), han propiciado el descubrimiento del cadáver del sujeto en el interior de un pozo ubicado a unos 500 metros del casco urbano de dicho municipio, según ha informado un portavoz del Instituto Armado.

Socks, die Katze im Weißen Haus während der Präsidentschaft von Bill Clinton, ist im reifen Alter von 18 Jahren gestorben. Die Clinton-Stiftung gab zu dem traurigen Ereignis eigens eine Pressemitteilung heraus. Allerdings wohnte die Katze zum Schluss gar nicht mehr bei der einstigen Präsidentenfamilie.

Minst 13 mennesker har mistet livet og 20 er skadd i en kollisjon mellom et tog og en turistbuss i Slovakia. Redningstjenestene frykter at dødstallet kan komme til å stige.

The recent deaths of two Massachusetts teenagers - 17-year-old Taylor Meyer last October in Norfolk and 16-year-old Elizabeth Mun last weekend in Andover, who each wandered away from unsupervised parties and died in cold, shallow bodies of water - have shocked parents and teenagers alike.
Sunday Morning Music

Just a few videos to get the morning started, before the weekly reading of the papers, the heavy English breakfast, the long walks...

Bojan Z, pianist...

Vlatko Stefanovski and Miroslav Tadic, guitars...

Martha Galarraga, Hamilton de Holanda y Marcos Souzano au Triton

Omar Sosa Quartet

vrijdag, februari 20, 2009

Adelard of Bath

Allegedly, the first English scientist. Here, a little time line of his life beginning around 1080. Although he travelled quite alot, when he returned eventually back home, he turned his eye to his countrymen to discover

...that its chief men are violent, its magistrates wine-lovers, its judges mercenary, its patrons fickle, private men sycophants, those who make promises deceitful, friends full of jealousy, and almost all men self-seekers`

Times never change, do they?

The cause of this brief spasm of research was the book review of The House of Wisdom

Speaking of which, All Arabic numbers we use today are ideograms created by Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (c.778 - c.850).
Al-Khwarizmi was born in Central Asia, where today is placed the Uzbekistan, and then he moved to Baghdad, where he worked as a mathematician during the first golden age of Islamic Science, at the "House of Wisdom".


In more current times, it appears the Britain's national debt will now (if it hasn't already) realistically leap-frog to 150% of national income. Of course it all depends on whose calculator you're using but nonetheless, one keeps getting tiny peaks into the window of this nearly unfathomable financial disaster which, owed to bank bailouts, house market crash and general global economic meltdown appears to be growing daily.

Martin Wolf at FT considers the UK Monetary Policy:

The resulting analysis risks missing the underlying processes at work and so risks being, in the words of John Maynard Keynes, precisely wrong rather than roughly right.

I would stress one lesson of the past and one challenge for the future.

The lesson of the past is that inflation targeting failed. This does not mean that it is impossible to target inflation successfully. The evidence is that it has worked, so far. But stabilising inflation has not, in practice, stabilised the economy. On the contrary, success with inflation helped destabilise inflation itself, as we now see, by boosting a credit explosion, foolish risk-taking and ultimately a financial meltdown.

Within its two-year policy horizon, the monetary policy committee had to ignore the risks of such long-term feedback effects, via credit, money and asset prices. They were unsustainable processes. But when they would break was unpredictable. Yet, in hindsight, policy should have taken them more into account. This could have been done by adjusting interest rates or by regulatory means.

This lesson of the past also relates to the challenges ahead. Again, will it be possible to manage the powerful destabilising processes we see? The economy, the public finances and indebted homebuyers have suffered large negative shocks. Deflation is the immediate fear. But one must also ask what role inflation might play in redistributing these losses in future.

This is not a true reflection of taxpayers’ likely future liabilities from banking losses, which Goldman Sachs estimates at 8 per cent of national income – or £120bn – and internal International Monetary Fund estimates, put at 13 per cent of national income – or £200bn. Together the IMF estimate and the latest forecasts for public borrowing put underlying public sector debt at about 80 per cent of national income by 2011, twice the former “sustainable investment rule”.


But it's all a happy place. If you aren't bankrupt yet and can still afford a pint, if you quaff it in your local, you're likely to have the privilege of having Big Brother Efficient Government watching you while you do.

The Met of course, pooh-pooh the idea. They explained that they did not "impose" CCTV, but merely put it forward as a "recommendation" to the relevant Licensing body. We also asked why they had mentioned a requirement for all licenseholders to make images available "on request" – which would be a serious extension of police powers.

It's a joke really, coming from the same government which appears to believe if something can't be taxed it should be banned and if it can't be surveilled it mustn't exist.

The Daily Mail has a typically rational response in its headline

How do you a police a society of thieving, rabid, drunken, violent dogs? Perhaps they should let the FSA regulate them. After all, look what a brilliant job they've done regulating financial services.

donderdag, februari 19, 2009


Is it "true" madness? (ps - grazie, trutv

Substitute Un café for une bière, deux biè voila! You've got anti social behaviour:


Although it wasn't the winner of the 2008 World Press photo this certainly gets my vote:



Ok, one's a mountain gorilla, one's a chimp, but to keep the imagery running in a tokenly similar vein, have you had a gander at the latest cartoon of controversy with thinly veiled undertones of racist commentary? If one could surmise that the comparison of Obama with a rabid chimp is being made here (and wow, I'd like to hear the explanation of Delonas or the New York Post explaining how it isn't) one wonders at the notion that so long as one is lampooning between the lines, the killing of the President in lieu of a cartoon depicting Muhammad, cartoonists can pretty much do get away with whatever they want. Whilst recognising the "Arab Street" isn't going to get involved in the outrage of this particular cartoon, which street is it on the protest map?


woensdag, februari 18, 2009

zeklova tree prone to Dutch elm disease although it is not an elm, only a substitute for one. Made in Japan.

although this looks like a Belgian landscape in a sense...well, a certain Flemish road leading into the Oostende or someplace I was thinking of, unclear and I've no photos to show for it so this will have to suffice more than memory:

And since we're on the subject of trees for some odd reason, here's on of my favs in Brizzle:

maandag, februari 16, 2009


It isn't often that I'd stoop to referring to a crisps promotion or better still, referring to a newspaper article about crisps promotion but I have to admit to having wondered myself whilst wandering the aisles of ASDA, counting pound bargains and benefits-slurping pikeys, seeing these allegedly bold new flavours sitting out there like tantalising new whores on an red light district street block. Brooker's summary of the oddest of the new flavours, Cajun Squirrel, is all you need to know:

"Self-consciously "wacky" and attention-grabbing entry. Walkers are keen to point out that "no squirrels were harmed in the making of this crisp", which is a pity because I had chucklesome visions of thousands of live, screaming squirrels being bulldozered into an immense bubbling cauldron in front of a party of horrified schoolchildren. The flavour itself is truly vile: if they'd called it Squirrel's Blood, everyone would've believed them. They taste precisely like a tiny cat piping hot farts through a pot-pourri pouch into your mouth."


Good luck, lads. You're gonna need it

Taking on the Hollywood entertainment industry is no small feat, even for the four standing accused of piracy.

“This trial is about ideology and politics and you can draw parallels about this case to the past. When the printing press was invented in the 16th century the French establishment wanted it banned because they feared they wouldn’t be able to control the masses, but they couldn’t stop it. When libraries were launched in the UK the 19th century the establishment claimed that no more books would ever be written as a result because authors would never be able to survive if people read books for free. Clearly this is not the case,” said Rick Falkvinge, the leader of the ‘Pirate Party’, a Swedish political party formed as a result of the growing concern amongst the file sharing community that their civil liberties were being clamped down on as a result of the entertainment industry’s powerful lobby.

apparently, the trial can be watched live here (or, in the past, depending on when you watch it...

I don't give a fart about the bloated pigs running Hollywood and what they might stand to lose. The frightening thing perhaps, if you've ever encountered any of these pirate sites, is that the quality of most of the movies which are being pirated are just shit. Try and find a good foreign film, artistic direction or a good low budget film that won't ever have a chance in hell of being shown in one of those massive, mind-numbing cineplex shit factories on one of these sites. It ent easy. The big blockbusters, the rubbish bins of the film industry, are the usual lot available. It's sad that what's allegedly being stolen is money when really all they're doing is making rubbish movies free, which is about what the product is worth to begin with.

zaterdag, februari 14, 2009

Why Not Just Light Up A Fag?

this article is an interesting take on the growing human incapacity for spending time alone and more importantly, for using technology in public places as a means of repressing the uncomfortable feeling of being a loser simply because one isn't surrounded by mates.

"But my unease sprang from my inability to convey that to the strangers around me. Honest, I'm not a loner. I had to learn to deal with the discomfort. Sometimes, it would force me to strike up conversations with strangers or be receptive when they engaged me. Other times, I would just sit alone and read or think. The discomfort never went away entirely, but it sure receded with practice."

It struck me that lighting up a fag in such instances often alleviates the discomfort he's on about. The Fag as a Friend theory speaks to not being alone, feeling cool, indifferent or simply distracted when alone in public places.

Ironically of course whilst its ok to fuck with a blackberry or mobile phone in public places, unless that public place happens to be outdoors, you're rather screwed for a place to smoke but that's another rant for another day.

Suffice it to say I've observed how pathetic it is to watch your average idiot suffer with finding something to do when sitting or standing alone somewhere and how quickly that fucking mobile phone or blackberry comes out. Check messages, read auld ones, ANYTHING to avoid coming off as Billy No Mates in public.

But it's a sham. They aren't receiving any calls or excitedly having new messages revealed, just underscoring either that they're a loser with no friends or a loser with friends who is so inept that a few moments alone seems incredibly embarassing.

Stand outside and fire up a fag. Read a book. Whatever, but if you can't feel indifferent or comfortable alone in public places even the fag or the book isn't likely to help and more likely than not you ARE the loser you are so desperately attempting to avoid appearing like.


The Tetchy-Feely Poor and Indifferent Rich

Are these social skills going to become more valuable during the growing tide of economic downturn?

"Kraus and Keltner’s study, published in last month’s issue of Psychological Science, shows that individuals who are low on traditional measures of socioeconomic status (SES) (their family earns less than the state’s median income) demonstrate more “engagement cues” in conversations than do their wealthier peers. The authors hypothesized this effect based on the following evolutionary theory:

In nonhuman species, the ability to assess resource displays accurately leads to preferred mating opportunities and the avoidance of costly, aggressive encounters in negotiations of status. In humans, nonverbal displays of the capacity to provide resources are likely to be important in mate selection, as well as in group members’ attempts to identify individuals suitable for positions of leadership.

In other words, the rich can afford to be relatively aloof in their conversational exchanges. However, those of us whose net worth is in negative equity tend to be more attentive communicative partners, since we have more to gain by being liked. With resources aplenty, powerful people are less dependent on others, and this translates to their being more disengaged in everyday social interactions."

Or maybe the rich are just a little more selective about social interaction for fear of being seen with less desirable people. What have the poor got to lose? New contacts could lead to new horizons, an uplift in social status. The non-poor, on the other hand, have appearances to uphold. What banker wants to be delayed on a street corner exchanging niceties with social pariah and risk being swept up into the loser net?


Gorky Aguila, Cuban Punk

dinsdag, februari 10, 2009

Honesty For a Change?

Four senior bankers were grilled by the Treasury select committee revealing their incompetence and lack of qualifications.

One wonders how they were ever in the positions they were in to begin with...

Sir Tom McKillop, the former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Sir Fred Goodwin, RBS's former chief executive, and Andy Hornby and Lord Stevenson, respectively the former chief executive and chairman of HBOS admitted:

•They did not have any formal banking qualifications.

• Hornby was still being paid £60,000 a month to work as a consultant for HBOS.

• McKillop did not fully understand some of the complex financial instruments his bank was using.

Shouldn't this hearing/meeting have come in front of the gallows or guillotine?

Profound and unqualified apologies.

Big fucking deal. How about handing back all that ill-gotten gain and a dozen pints of blood to go with it?

The funny thing is all this rubbish about bonuses and absurdist salaries being required to attract qualified staff and yet all those bonuses and absurdist salaries attracted scum. Well paid, unqualified scum. So should anyone bother listening to anything they are saying?


Part of the series: Down the Yangtze River
Picture: KEVIN LEE


And, given the snow and images in the UK over the last week or so, how about a little snowman and a Highland cow?

Picture: PA

donderdag, februari 05, 2009

Where In The World

Was just wondering this morning what ever happened to Manuel Noriega, the CIA asset, dictator, stooge who was the target of a 24,000 troop US invasion of Panama back in GW Daddy's Days.

As you may recall, Manny was given a show trial and dumped in prison for the foreseeable future.

Oddly, it appears that although Noriega completed his original prison sentence in September 2007, he still isn't a free man...

Noriega was convicted in 1992. After the trial, he was declared a POW by Judge William Hoeveler, which set the stage for the current legal morass.

Noriega was scheduled to be released about 16 months ago. He has been in prison for just over 19 years.

At the end of all legal proceedings, the courts will make a recommendation to the U.S. secretary of state, who can accept or reject the court's ruling.

The case will probably eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court and the incoming Obama administration, specifically his secretary of state, will ultimately decide whether to follow the final court ruling.

So, ultimately, the decision could be Hillary Clinton's.

Either way, he isn't likely to be free any time soon. Both France and Panama want him for money laundering and murder, respectfully.

Quite a life, that Manuel Noriega. Survived prison, prostate cancer and a stroke. And Dick Cheney remains a free man.



Just because, a shout out to Adolf Sax

Adolphe Sax is born in Belgium, at Dinant, in the street where, since 1896, has his name. he has live in the small house, destroyed in 1914, which now there is an big commercial center. In the front of this , there is an inscription cut out of stone :" Here born Adolphe Sax. 1814-1894".
He was the son of Charles-Joseph Sax (born in 1791 et dead in 1865) and of Marie-Joseph Masson (born in 17 ? ? and dead in 1861). Adolphe was the olddest child on eleven children, six boys and five girls. Only 3 out of sisters and brothers will survive. The others were all dead between 18 and 25.

The conditions of the construction of the first saxophone are not known, Adolf just used a conic copper tube and a mouthpiece with a wood reed .
THe first saxophone was born. It was a C bass saxophone the 20th Mars 1846 and Adolf Sax was just 20.


Lastly, another SNOW fall last night lends this photo from out my flat window pre and post dawn...

dinsdag, februari 03, 2009

Don't Look Now, But What's This? A Sensible Conclusion To The World Crisis?

Imagine this: you've maxed out three or four credit cards, you've got a mortgage for a house which you purchased waaaay above your means, an outstanding loan on a £100,000 auto and suddenly, you lose your job. You've got no way to pay any of the debt back.

You're fucked, right? Not if you're a bank, of course. If you're a bank you just ask your fellow taxpayers pay for you. Give me a BIGGER loan to cover all the bad loans I can no longer afford and THAT will solve the problem.

Right, good luck with that one.

Now comes a sensible approach from historian Niall Ferguson:

"The aim must be not to increase debt but to reduce it. Two things must happen. First, banks that are de facto insolvent need to be restructured – a word that is preferable to the old-fashioned “nationalisation”. Existing shareholders will have to face that they have lost their money. Too bad; they should have kept a more vigilant eye on the people running their banks. Government will take control in return for a substantial recapitalisation after losses have meaningfully been written down. Bond holders may have to accept either a debt-for-equity swap or a 20 per cent “haircut” (a reduction in the value of their bonds) – a disappointment, no doubt, but nothing compared with the losses when Lehman went under."


From last night's debacle...the morning after:

maandag, februari 02, 2009

Finally, a bit of Snow

Don't see this very often...Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

We didn't get it like this in Bristol. Most of the day was reasonably dry until shortly after 4 pm when it started snowing with a vengeance. Not enough to cancel work/school/ those wimps in London...

Anyway, that was supposed to be the heaviest snowfall for 18 years. Not much...


zondag, februari 01, 2009

go ahead, click it. it's fucking mad.

mad cow animation