Oxygen of publicity

Thatcher said in 1985 “Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.”

I don’t think this asphyxiation should be reserved for these chaps alone. In this lala world, there are quite a few others I’d like to see strangulated even more.

Without mentioning them by name (as this gives them further publicity), I believe people should just avoid mentioning these television shows and fake celebrities that have cropped up everywhere like a festering plague, sucking of the abundance of the world and growing evermore redolent in the process.

A typical case of news creating news and gaining momentum each time like a rolling stone that gathers mass was displayed yesterday, where a case of bullying on telelvision somehow resulted in further publicity for a show that, at best, is boring.

Therefore I say in 2007 “Thinking people must try to find ways to starve the ‘celebrities’ and the television producers of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend”

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A year! A whole year!

Yes, that’s how long it’s been since Sha made her moves on poor ‘lil me. Little did I know that “badminton” was just an excuse for her to get her mitts on this slinky young thing. And I thought she really was “helping me improve my backhand” with all that groping.

Today’s quote for the day is hilarious: 

Scientists tell us that the fastest animal on earth, with a top speed of 120 ft/sec, is a cow that has been dropped out of a helicopter. – Dave Barry

And something Rach’s blogged about reminded me of what I read in some animal behaviour book recently. Everyone knows about how ants leave trails to find their way back home after they’ve found some food. But apparently if an ant troop gets mixed up, there is a chance they’ll stumble upon the trail they themselves made, and keep marching along it in a circle till they die of exhaustion. 

I told you I wouldn’t need to work!!

I’ve won the lottery.

The kind gents at “UK National Lottery” apparently held an “Online Sweepstakes International Lottery Program … on JANUARY 12TH, 2007.”

According to this e-mail I’ve received, “Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from a pool of over 25,000 names of distinguished professionals drawn from Europe, America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Middle-East, parts of
Africa, and North & South America as part of our international promotions programme conducted annually to encourage prospective overseas entries. We hope with part of your prize awards, you will take part in our subsequent lottery jackpots.”

Distinguished professional??? Moi??? Well, I’ll let that one slip, because a phrase like “…your £850,000,00 (Eight Hundren and Fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling) would be released to you by any of our payment offices in Europe” buys a lot of forgiveness in my books.

And if I had any doubts as to the authenticity of this, they’ve given me a contact e-mail address, uknationallotteryboard_claims@yahoo.co.uk.
 

On a more serious note, I’ve got an interview coming up Thursday for a “Geographic Information Systems Assistant” at one of Greater Manchester’s largest transport authorities for buses and trams (there, that should give you a clue). If you still haven’t got it, try putting the words “Greater”, “Manchester”, “Public” and “Transport” together in Google.

Runaway Jury

As everyone knows (well, should know) this brilliant court-room drama book by John Grisham has also been made into a movie starring John Cusack (there’s been a lot of him on telly recently; has he died or summat?), Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman (the Real Hoff) and Rachel Weisz.

Now this effort, though commendable is in itself is not remarkable; they are not the first to make a film from a thought-provoking read (ref: Batman). What is noteworthy is that although the book was about the battle between the tobacco companies and the anti-smoking lobby with huge amounts at stake, the film script modified (downsized) this to being about guns, rather than cigarettes. Still an evil, one might say, but not as all-encompassing as the mighty cigarette.

It seems quite likely that the film makers were scared or bullied into changing that detail. Especially as I remember the book contained some vivid anti-smoking scenes, one with a video shown in court of the legal deposition of a man dying from cancer imploring people not to smoke (which any Hollywood producer would jump upon as a definite yes in his movie).

More than anything, what I took away from that movie is the ability of certain groups with vested interests to influence what we see.

On a separate note, I went to last.fm and typed in the name of a band I wanted to listen to (Rush) and they are now playing music similar on my own radio channel!! Including Dreamtheater, Yes, Van Halen, Porcupine Tree, Liquid Tension Experiment, King Crimson, Ozzy, Pink Floyd, Boston, Blue Oyster Cult and more. Try it.

The Life of the Cosmos

Just trying to keep you numbskulls up-to-date on the latest in theoretical physics.

The book called “see title above” is written by a Lee Smolin who evidently would love to marry himself and must find it hard to get out of bed in the morning because it means he’ll have to stop making sweet love to himself. Until he gets into the shower, that is.

A current thought is that it is impossible to find a reference point from which to observe or describe the universe, since whatever point you chose must be inside that universe. Therefore a whole new way of describing things is required.

Also, instead of seeing the universe as a staid, unmoving thing we should remember that it is relatively new and therefore may be evolving. Therefore the laws that define our existence might have come about through a process of evolution through natural selection.

This of course implies that the universe is reproducing, and therefore the search is now on for evidence of the universe “doing the dirty”. Or as Fry said, “doing the nasty in the past-y”. Black holes are definitely on the suspect’s list because, like a Tory MP’s house party, nobody really knows what goes on there.

Peeing with a brick

I’ll bet you’ve never seen a post like this before.

As a young and impressionable lad at school in India, I was surprised to see a number of my comrades scrabbling around for a piece of brick to take with them to the toilets. What was rivetting was that this didn’t seem to be an optional choice, but a necessity. They could be bursting at the seams, but no brick meant no peeing.

Being the budding anthropologist / smarmy fucking nosey bastard that I was, I began my investigation of this curious affair.

The thing that struck me first (apart from a couple of smart blows to the nose when I got carried away with my observations and drew too close to my ‘performing’ subjects) was that the perpetrators were exclusively of the Islamic persuasion.

Subtle investigative questioning coupled with familiarisation tactics (“Why the brick, mate?”) led to the uncovering of the truth. The boys (did I forget to mention that I had access to data from the boy’s toilets only?) were under the impression that The Prophet (pbuh) himself rather liked them to do this.

“What?” I asked. “Take a brick with you to pee? Why on earth? Where’s the sense in that?” (I already had the beginnings of my trademark inquisitiveness and thirst for knowledge that made me such a frickin’ pain in the backside).

After long and tedious inquiries into the matter (thereby illustrating another of my trademarks; the doggedness and persistence and never-say-die attitude that makes people want to say “Never say die, eh? Well, I’d like to try”), I managed to elucidate the matter.

Apparently the brick (or any other absorbent dry matter) is to be used in the absence of water to clean your thingammyjig of any stray drops after “going”. Here was a classic case of little zealots performing things by rote without understanding what they were supposed to be doing. They were just chucking the bricks into the urinals after peeing, and their thingammyjigs were none the cleaner for it (I was observing all this, remember?). 

Hence I illustrated a common sense idea that was taken literally and performed mechanically because the religious got mixed up. Unfortunately this happens a lot.

Support

Shasha’s Sony monitor was flopping about, so I (was) volunteered to fix it. Half-an-hour of messing about with Google and model numbers and downloading plug-ins, and I’m finally having a chat with an analyst called Sammy. You just know this is going to be good.
A verbatim report follows:- (my snide sub-texts are in brackets)

Problem: Hi. Having problems w my monitor; it’s flopping about and needs propping up. How do I go about tightening the screws on it?user naz has entered room
analyst Sammy_ has entered room
(ooh, getting cozy)

Sammy_> Hi Naz. Welcome to Sony Online Support. I’m Sammy. Please allow me a moment to review your concern.

naz> Hi Sammy.

Sammy_> Thanks for waiting, Naz. I’m sorry that the monitor is propping up. I’ll be happy to assist you with this.

(eh? I said it’s flopping about and needs propping up. Our Sammy isn’t the sharpest. And can you stop promising to assist me and start assisting me?)

Sammy_> Are you trying to tighten the screws of the monitor? (oh, not a DIY nuthead! Does he even know what screws are??)

naz> Yes, I’ve flipped the back panel open but can’t identify the screws that will prevent the monitor from wobbling. (see, I know what I’m doing and proved it by using the technical term “back panel”. My technical prowess is further established by the fact that I coolly “flipped” it open)

Sammy_> I suggest that you contact the Sony Authorized Service Center to get further assistance to tightening the screws of the monitor as these issues are handled by Sony Authorized Service Center team. (Uh-oh, the situation is getting out of hand!!! A customer has got into our back panels!!! What if he sees that the monitor is actually run by little mice with paintbrushes???)

Sammy_> Shall I forward a link where you can find a repair location to get further assistance to tightening the screws of the monitor?

naz> yes please. (I thought this was the place where I would get further assistance for tightening the screws of the montior !?)

Sammy_> Okay, Naz. I’ll forward the page to locate the Sony Authorized Service Center.

Sammy_> When you receive the link, please click on it to open the page and let me know if you are able to view it. (I hope he knows what a link is)

Sammy_> http://www.sel.sony.com/service/plsql/rma.inquiry

naz> yes got it. Thanks. (that link was where I found you from, you klutz!!)

Sammy_> Are you able to take it from here or would you like me to assist you with setting up service? (can’t be too careful with this numbskull)

naz> I’m fine thanks, you’ve been most helpful. (he said ironically)

Sammy_> You’re welcome. (Haha, lets stick this ‘genuine customer comment’ in my annual review file!!)

Sammy_> Have a nice time, Naz.

naz> ciao (do I wish him a nice time as well?? do I send a smiley, or hug him?? oh it’s getting a bit too uncomfortable with the lovey-dovey talk, so use an off-hand Continental “ciao”)

Ice Skating

Going Ice Skating in Picadilly Gardens now. Expect to watch a lot of falls while all the time my superior balance and panther-like agility will keep me head and shoulders and torso above the rest.

Yes, I’ve never done it before and I’m a tad nervous.

Cover songs – do we really need them?

Weighing up the sheer number of bad ones vs. good ones, I guess I must say NO!

I heard a cover version of Nirvana’s ‘Lithium’ the other day with harps (Harps!!) and some (expletives) singing in a happy voice. Did he even realise that “I’ll kill you, I’m not gonna crack” is not meant to be happy?

And who’s that cleverclogs who thinks she can sing “Another Piece of my Heart” better than Janis Joplin??? She just comes across as a one-dimensional no-talent. (You can see this is something I feel very strongly about)

Of course, some of the old covers are masterpieces, although I’ve been struggling for a couple of minutes now to remember a cover song good enough to mention…

Right,

1. Jimi Hendrix’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All along the Watchtower” which has become the way to play that song, as Dylan himself acknowledged.

2. Janis Joplin herself has recorded the best ever version of “Summertime” by Gershwin.