Monday, January 31, 2005

Translations: Japanese To English

An account in Japanese (translated to English by Google) of a trip to Tokyo by Boo Hewerdine (The Bible), Gary Clark (Danny Wilson) and Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue). Now that would be a hell of a concert. Not sure what this means:
"The middle, according to the アリソン which excludes that room, pulling the guitar with underpants one thermal singing/stating doing, it probably will do while why, rickey (laughing). It is enormous the hen."

Cliches: If You Don't Like The Weather...

CBS-11's Tracy Rowlett responded to meteorologist Kristine Kahanek's forecast of possible snow with "Only in Texas...". News anchors in 48 of the other 49 states were simultaneously saying the exact same thing. No, the only thing that distinguishes Texas is the size of our anchorwomen's hair. Kristine is a beautiful woman but needs to lose some of her locks.
But that reminded me how every place in the world uses the saying, "If you don't like the weather in #######, just wait 5/10/15/30 minutes." A Google search for the phrase turns up:

According to the ever-reliable Snopes, Mark Twain uttered the original quote about New England.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sky Sports commentator fired over David Beckham/Tsunami joke.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Movie Review: "The Aviator"

Saw "The Aviator" tonight. I'll give it 7/10. Perhaps the highest praise I can give it is that I overcame my intense hatred of Leonardo DiCaprio. Some quibbles and observations:

  • I love John C. Reilly but I can't take his Fozzy Bear voice seriously.
  • Too many flashbulbs exploding in slow-motion, the sound amplified to malevolent extremes.
  • Katharine Hepburn, born in Connecticut, is played by Cate Blanchett, born in Melbourne, Australia. Ava Gardner, born in North Carolina, is played by Kate Beckinsale, born in London, England. Couldn't they find American actresses for these roles?
  • At least Errol Flynn, played by Jude Law, grew up in England.
  • What was with the weird colours? When Hughes and Hepburn play golf, the grass is blue.
  • Bonus: Tavis Smiley interview with Alan Alda - transcriptions that contain "Ha ha ha!" make the laugher seem like an idiot, don't they?

Movie Quiz: Making Fun Of Robb

Movie trivia (henceforth known as movia) question from Robb. What was Laura Linney's character's name in "Primal Fear" ?
Hint #1: It's a common name that's quite uncommon.
Hint #2: It sounds like an adjective.
Hint #3: It begins with 'P'.
Give up?

Music: Radio Sessions Online

Canadian radio website with sessions by bands like Interpol, the White Stripes, the Dears, Sigur Ros...go to "Table Of Contents" for an alphabetical list of all 102 acts. You can also try Just Concerts.
Another M.C. - Escher works recreated in Lego. (It hurts my ears to hear Americans refer to this toy in the plural.)

Cliche: Ripped From The Headlines

Congrats to Eric for solving today's Cryptogram so quickly. I'll add the solution to the Comments section of the original post. He also corrects me: the phrase should be "ripped from the headlines" - not "torn", citing "Law & Order". Sure enough, Google gives 23,900 results for "ripped from the headlines", only 2,550 for "torn". This guy is trying to document the original case that inspired every "L&O" episode. Some people have too much time on their hands!

Friday, January 28, 2005

M.C. Hawking: A Brief History Of Rhyme - this is a Flash animation/promo for the album by the rapper who sounds like Stephen Hawking. The official website is here, with MP3s.
Songs that are exactly 3 minutes long.

Cryptogram: Current Events

Time for another Cryptogram, torn from today's headlines:






Thursday, January 27, 2005

Movies: "A Very Long Engagement"

Saw "A Very Long Engagement" tonight. I'll give it 8 out of 10.

  • Does any actress convey happiness better than Audrey Tautou?
  • This is a great movie if you like bushy moustaches.
  • Here's Audrey at Cannes 2001.
  • A shame she's going to be in "The DaVinci Code".
  • Discussion of Audrey (with some photos) - apparently, she was named after Audrey Hepburn.
  • She looks very Hepburnesque here.
  • Any native French speakers out there? How was Jodie Foster's French? (Her character is Polish - to preempt any criticism of her accent?)

Music: MP3 Blogs

Really nice cover version of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" by The Last Town Chorus. That's the lead singer playing the lap steel. Copy, Right? has some more good covers this week - get 'em while you can.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

DIY Punk? Those guitar solos don't sound very punk to these old ears.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Feeble Attempt At Humour

I had been telling my brother about my miniature chess set for some time. (I carved the pieces from sunflower seeds. The board was made out of interwoven blades of grass. The whole thing fits comfortably in the palm of one's hand.) Anyway, I was excited to show it to him when we met over Christmas, but his reaction was not what I expected. He looked at it and sneered, "So that's your little game, is it?"

Monday, January 24, 2005

Music: Swedish

Review of "When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog" by Jens Lekman that quotes one of my favorite lines on the record:
"When people think of Sweden I think they have the wrong idea / Like Cliff Richard who thought it was just porn and gonorrhea."

(I can't find any proof online of Sir Cliff insulting the Swedes. He does have Swedish fans.)
You can watch the Jens Lekman video for "You Are The Light". Well, maybe you can - I'm missing a codec.

Feeble Attempt At Humour

Someone who looks good in photos? Photogenic. Someone who looks good on TV? Telegenic. Someone who looks good hosting a late night talk-show? Carsonogenic.

(The existence of Carson Daly somewhat detracts from the hilarity of that. How many of you were hoping it was him and not Johnny who had died? Just me?)

Someone who brags about their "ethical investing"? "Holier-than-DOW".

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Words: Whunch

On C-SPAN the other day, a political consultant used the phrase (unintentionally, I'm sure) "Powers-to-be". If this phrase takes off to describe someone who has been elected but has not yet taken office, then I'd like to take partial credit.
(She's not the only one to commit this malapropism.)
I've also created a portmanteau word, "whunch" - a cross between a "whim" and a "hunch". For example, my smoke detector was beeping - low battery. I unscrewed it from the ceiling, but on a whunch I left it dangling there without replacing the battery. It has not beeped since, confirming my whunch.
("Whunch" is being used elsewhere onomatopoeically like "Wham" or "Whomp" - example here - good dialogue!)

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Music: MP3 Blogs

A Radiohead medley performed C&W style by Hard n Phirm. The "Hard" part of that group is Chris Hardwick - host of many a dating show. He also has a "Rock Opera" version of "Tron" on his own web site, but it didn't do much for me. Except for the line: "It's like the Matrix, only gayer." He has some other funny stuff there.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Friday, January 21, 2005

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Movies: Snow Films

Lovely snowy photos. I love films with snow in them: "Nobody's Fool", "A Midnight Clear" (quick - name two other snowy Ethan Hawke movies), "Fargo", "The Sweet Hereafter", "Home Alone".

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Sports trivia (thanks, Eric): Who were Glenn and Lyle Blackwood, Doug Betters, Charles Bowser, Bob Baumhower, Kim Bokamper, Jay Brophy and Bob Brudzinksi?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Internet: Face Analyzer

The Face Analyzer. (You may need to try a few times - seems to be very popular because of idiots like me blogging it.) You upload a photo of a face and it analyzes it. I tried a recent photo of me. It thought my race was "100% Chinese". (They really shouldn't use yellow in their bar chart for Chinese.) Average intelligence, low risk, average ambition, low gay factor, income $30K-$50K, very unpromiscuous! White collar prototype. I think I need to try another photo.

Boardgames: B

Why do the best boardgames have names that begin with 'B'? Boggle, Balderdash, Beyond Balderdash, Black Box, Backgammon ... I know why but I'm not saying. Body Boggle looks interesting - like Twister for smart people.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Least Favourite Speaking Voices

We now move on to Least Favourite Voices. Eric suggests Fran Drescher. She's okay so long as you don't make her laugh. Megan Mullally makes her voice squeakier for "Will & Grace" so she doesn't count.
I'll nominate Roseanne Barr and Gilbert Gottfried (but maybe he's putting on that voice too?).

Favourite Speaking Voices

Eric proposes Ringo Starr as a favourite speaking voice for his Thomas The Tank Engine work. (Is that from your kids' TV viewing, Eric, or are you listening to books-on-tape on your daily commute?) ("Thomas" is mentioned at Jump The Shark - apparently, they replaced Ringo with George Carlin among others.) Anyway, I'll agree that Ringo has a pleasant voice. Does anyone else remember that annoying Scouse comedian from the 1970s who used to go on about "the Germans"?

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Guardian quiz about the British pop charts. (I got 15 out of 25.)

Games: Boy Scout Stunts

Some "fun stunts" for boy scouts, taken from an olde timey book. "Admiral Poof" sounds a little dubious. There is also a section on Ventriloquism. Important caveat:
"The first idea which the would-be ventriloquist has to dismiss from his mind is that, by following out a stated course of exercises, he will be able to "throw" his voice or, in other words, to upset the equanimity of peaceable old gentlemen snoring quietly in the furthest corner of the railway carriage - or ruffle the temper of some aged lady by producing facetious remarks concerning her appearance from a long distance away; not that those who approach this subject have any particular desire to be a disturbing influence to other people, but it is safe to say that more take up ventriloquism with the idea of practical joking than for any other purpose."

Favourite Speaking Voices

Who has your favourite speaking voice? James Earl Jones may be the best, but he generally sounds too pompous and actorly for my taste. I'll nominate Lorenzo Music, voice of Carlton the Doorman on "Rhoda" and of Garfield the cat. Sadly, he passed away in 2001. I think there are still a lot of voice-over artists imitating him.

I'll also nominate Brad Garrett from "Everybody Loves Raymond". (Read "Brad's Favorites".)

Finally, I'll choose Wanda Sykes (although some people think she's annoying). Interview with The Onion - you can "hear" her voice as you read this.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Music: Dottie West

Another maudlin masterpiece of C&W music on KHYI today, by the late Dottie West. "Mommy, Can I Still Call Him Daddy?" It's a duet with her then 4-year-old son, Dale, as described by NPR on their list of annoying songs for Mother's Day. (They have the song in Real Audio format - please check it out. You'll thank me later.) (Graphic description of her death, partially blamed on Kenny Rogers.) Wonder what her son is doing now?
Heard a radio commercial driving home for an Insurance company. Wasn't really paying attention until they said they would pay up, "even if you don't die."

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Congrats to Eric on getting all the Cryptic Clues (except #5). I've posted the answers as a comment to the original item.
Listening to KHYI (95.3 in the DFW area) last week, I heard Red Sovine's "sequel" to "Teddy Bear", called "Little Joe". Sadly, I can't find the lyrics to "Little Joe" online. You'll have to call the station and request it. Red mentions in passing that Teddy Bear has been miraculously cured. Apparently, he was pissed off at a sequel that someone else recorded which killed off Teddy Bear. There's a fine web page about another of Red's songs, where Elvis gives his last concert on Red's flatbed truck.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Cryptic Crossword: American Football Clues

Some football-related Cryptic Clues.

  1. Clumsily spiking football. (7)
  2. How Darren is better than Shannon? (7)
  3. Patriot swallowed by pterodactyl. Awful! (2, 3)
  4. Audible flame runs around greenspace. (7, 5)
  5. First position? (6)
  6. President left at sea - is running in Washington. (7, 6)
  7. Hero regrets nibble - becomes probable Rookie of the Year. (3, 14)

Music: Benefit Concerts

Another benefit concert for the victims of the tsunami. Good line-up, but as Robb says, wouldn't it be more cost-effective for the musicians involved to just contribute more money themselves? Willie Nelson's concert in Austin raised a mere $75,000. One of the organisers of that concert put his finger on it:
Mr Hall said that he had been inundated with offers from artists wanting to perform. "People want do it because they want to be part of something," he said. "They see something so horrible and want to be part of something to make it less horrible," he said.

So these events are largely designed to make the artists feel better.

Media: Unflattering Descriptions

Another unflattering physical description from Reuters (see November 15th). In an article about the new Homeland Security nominee:
"He's faced countless challenging decisions...," Bush said at a White House ceremony with the balding, gaunt Chertoff by his side.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Internet: Games

Frog jumping puzzle/game.
Someone has posted John Peel's last Festive 50, with MP3s for some of them.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


The Times (of London) prints a daily logic puzzle called Sudoku. There's a sample puzzle on the front page (which shows the solution when you mouse-over), and another if you click "Contest".


I'm back. Strangest thing I saw on TV was Spongebob Squarepants "as gaeilge". Especially when he was speaking Irish with a French accent. TG4 has a cute presenter, Róisín Ní Thomáin, on their pop show. She has very elastic features. Can't find a picture online.