Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Peeves: Office Etiquette

  • Today (Wednesday) I heard someone ask a co-worker, "How was your weekend?" This question may only be posed on a Monday (or Tuesday if Monday was a public holiday).
  • I got a business email today with a blank Subject line. There is no excuse for this.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The Dallas Morning News featured art gallery director Ashley Tatum in their Sunday "High Profile" feature. She looked very cute so I thought I'd try a little cyber-stalking. And here she is at the bottom of the page for this personal trainer, where she's described as " Fine Art Gallery Director/Model". Some interesting quotes from the other clients. She's also in a photo with Carolyn Farb (self-styled "First Lady of Philanthropy") and Caroline Hunt. How Texas is that? I love how Farb has the same superior smirk in every photo.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Music: MP3 Blogs - another MP3 Blog aggregator. I like it better than Web Nymph because they show which files are available. (For evaluation purposes only, naturally.)

Note that Aquarium Drunk has a couple of tracks from the forthcoming Ryan Adams & The Cardinals honkytonk album. (And a slogan taken from "The Simpsons".)

And, in case you're wondering, the ".ws" suffix is for Samoa (some say Western Samoa). Someone already has

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Simpsons: Charles Nelson Reilly

My least favourite recurring gag on "The Simpsons" is when a character, after making a mistake or getting in a bad situation, tugs at their collar and makes a strangulated "Euuawwww" noise (impossible to spell). From a commentary on the Season 6 DVD, I learn that this is based on Charles Nelson Reilly in the TV version of "The Ghost And Mrs. Muir". Interesting that Reilly's most recent credits include a short film called "Gaydar" and "SpongeBob SquarePants".

Words: Bully

The Word Detective says that the positive meaning of "bully" (as in Theodore Roosevelt exclaiming "Bully!", meaning "Splendid!") is older than the negative sense of "thug". It comes from the Dutch word for "lover" or "brother". (The Dutch use the same word for both? That's a trifle unseemly.) Ink magazine agrees, and suggests (plausibly) that Roosevelt's Dutch ancestry explains his usage of the word. Therefore, when Roosevelt spoke of the Presidency as a "bully pulpit", he meant it was a splendid platform.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Band List: 3-Letter Acronyms

An alphabet of 3-letter band acronyms. Rules: (1) The band must have started with a non-acronym name (so REM is out, but Public Image Ltd is okay). (2) The acronym must be used by fans of the band. (3) The band may have adopted the acronym later (like ELO). So how many of these acronyms do you recognise?

Religion: Ayatollah Sistani

Official web site of Grand Ayatullah Sistani (thanks Robb). Some doubt its authenticity, but only a true holy man could have this many scrolling windows on one web page. Also, the web site is linked from Wikipedia and the Whois lookup checks out.

The Ayatollah answers questions from the faithful on many interesting topics. No shaking hands with girls, "temporary marriages" are okay, and no, Imam Hussain did not combine the prayers of zuhr and `asr on the day of `Ashura.

Of course, you're going to head straight to the questions about sex. Just notice the repetition of questions in each topic - very strange.

You will need the Glossary, but good luck scrolling to a letter (at least in Firefox).

In the interests of equal time, here's an American Catholic Q & A, and the official Catechism from the Vatican. Also, a bonus anti-Scientology website, which is redundant now that Tom Cruise is running around like a crazy man.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Current Events: George W. Bush

Let's honour our Veterans - starting with this one.

Song List: Cannonballs

Topic suggested by Shell: has there ever been a song that mentioned cannonballs in a meaningfulway?

The greatest "Cannonball" song ever is the one by the Breeders, but Shell's right. What the hell does this mean?

Hey now, hey now, Want you, Koo Koo, Cannonball [2x] In the shade [4x]. I know you, little libertine. I know you're a cannonball. I'll be your whatever you want. The bong in this Reggae Song.

Supertramp's "Cannonball" is not as great as I remembered it being. And "cannonball" seems to be chosen for its rhyme alone.

I paid the price, for taking your advice. I felt it all, just like a cannonball.

And as for "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis, yes, it's nonsensical (but defended by some). Noel admits that he couldn't think of anything else that rhymed with "hall".

Slowly walking down the hall. Faster than a cannonball

The brass ring goes to Ryan Adams for mentioning cannonballs in two songs: "Cannonball Days" and "English Girls Approximately". Must be part of his Oasis fixation.

I'll miss you but go on, goodbye. I feel like a straight from his cannonball days, When all of your roses were mine.

Tall drink of water, she's a Norfolk waterfall. Little daybreaker, she's a shootin' like a cannonball.

Damien Rice seems to be the only one who uses it thoughtfully. Well, he is Irish. Would you call "float like a cannonball" a simile, a contradiction in terms, or an oxymoron?

Stones taught me to fly. Love taught me to lie. Life, it taught me to die. So it's not hard to fall when you float like a cannonball.

I'll also cut Van Morrison a break for his "(Straight To Your Heart) Like A Cannonball", which is probably so named in tribute to Cannonball Adderley.

We move along. Keep singing our song. Straight to your heart like a cannonball.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Music: MP3 Blogs

Music blog Turquoise Days is posting cover versions from an NME 1992 compilation, and taking requests. He has fulfilled half of my request (so far) - Suede doing "Brass In Pocket".

Apples v Oranges: Christie

Who is the greatest Christie of all time?

  • NBA player Doug Christie, known for his uxoriousness. Also, repeatedly used the phrase "That's the just of it" when interviewed on The Ticket (thanks Robb and Shell). Maybe his version is an improvement on the more usual "That's the gist of it". According to the Word Detective, the word "gist" is itself taken from the wrong part of a French phrase.
  • Doug's wife Jackie Christie, who has a clothing and home decor business when she's not whipping her husband.
  • Yorkshire singer Tony Christie. Tony's specialty was songs that mentioned US cities: "Is This The Way To Amarillo?", "Las Vegas", "Don't Go Down To Reno". He's back in the spotlight in Britain thanks to Peter Kay. He even toured with Anastacia, which seems an odd pairing.
  • Mystery writer Agatha Christie. Creator of Miss Marple (transparent attempt to get more visitors from Germany.
  • British sprinter Linford Christie, tainted by drug scandals, famous for his "lunchbox".
  • Auction house Christie's, founded by James Christie in 1766. Both Christie's and Sotheby's were indicted in 2001 in a price-fixing conspiracy.
  • Sixties singer Lou Christie. Born Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco. His web site requires QuickTime, so he's automatically on my Enemies List.
  • Serial killer John Reginald Halliday Christie.
  • Wisconsin ski resort Christie Mountain.

I've got to go with the mountain.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lyrics Quiz: Tomorrow

Lyrics Quiz all about Tomorrow. (I woke up with Song #1 in my head.)

  1. Maybe tomorrow, maybe someday. Maybe tomorrow, maybe someday. You've changed your place in this world. You've changed your place in this world.
  2. If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?
  3. Let the devil take tomorrow ’cause tonight I need a friend.
  4. I'm feeling good, I'm feeling oh so fine. Until tomorrow, but that's just some other time.
  5. Learn to love me. Assemble the ways. Now, today, tomorrow and always.
  6. If your life was bad to you, just think what tomorrow will do.
  7. There’s a man I’ve found could remove his sorrow. He lives in this town, let’s see him tomorrow.
  8. But how beautiful it was - ’tomorrow’. We’ll never have a day of sorrow. We got through the ’30s, but our belts were tight. We conceived of a future with no hope in sight.
  9. And if it’s the price I pay. Some say, tomorrow’s another day. You’ll stay. I may as well play.
  10. Tomorrow we can drive around this town and let the cops chase us around. The past is gone but something might be found to take its place.
  11. If you feel like leaving, you know you can go. But why don't you stay until tomorrow. If you want to be free, you know, all you got to do is say so.
  12. Well let the boys all sing and the boys all shout for tomorrow.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Automobiles: Hybrids

Here's a bumper sticker idea for someone to make a fortune off: "My next car will be a hybrid". A Google search shows it's a popular sentiment. A sticker like that would look great on the back of a Hummer. Wait, they've had a hybrid Hummer in the military since 1998.

Celebrities: Connections

Some bizarre connections:

The strangest connection of all time? Robert Fripp marrying Toyah. "It's A Mystewy", indeed.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Optical Illusions

Very cool optical illusion (with explanation). Index of all 57 illusions/phenomena on this well-designed site.

Music: Classical

You can listen online to the BBC Proms. Click on the "BBC Proms Radio Player". Concerts are available for 7 days. Right now, I'm listening to Prom 48 with Elgar, Maw, MacRae and Shostakovich - all music for strings.

Genealogy: Ireland 1837

Now online - Samuel Lewis' 1837 Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. From the entry for Longford:
The lower orders are shrewd, intelligent, and industrious, fond of manly exercises and amusements, such as foot-ball, hurling, and wrestling, but on Sunday evenings the chief and invariable amusement is dancing. They are of a very proud and independent spirit, which manifests itself most conspicuously in their great repugnance to hire as servants, an occupation considered by them to be highly disreputable; hence they remain at home living in penury in a cabin and on a small patch of ground. They are exceedingly litigious, ever ready to have recourse to the law upon the most trivial subjects.

And for Mayo:
Killery harbour is known to be one of the best fisheries for herring; but this branch has been much crippled by the restrictions of the fishery laws. Herrings have been known to set in to some of the bays in vast shoals, yet, from the want of salt, they were left to rot on the shore in heaps; and the wretched fisherman, whose little stock had been expended in fitting out his sea equipage, witnessed his own ruin with abundance apparently within his grasp. To obviate this calamity, salt is now stored at Clifden, Westport, and Bellmullet.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Music: Rock and/or Roll

Wreckless Eric expresses his dislike of Chris Martin, Glastonbury, Elvis Costello, Live Aid, Live 8, Status Quo, Queen, Bob Geldof. But he liked the Who. Scroll down to listen to an hour-long solo radio performance by Wreckless Eric. His chatter between songs is best - I like his speaking voice. Which is actually very similar to his singing voice. "Whole Wide World" is at the 47 minute mark.

Music: Novelty

Listen to "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?" by North American Hallowe'en Prevention, Inc.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Simpsons: 1-800 Number


This is the phone number to order a different case for the Simpsons Season 6 DVD set. Call outside business hours (Pacific Time) to hear a message from Homer. Or is it? You can also go to

Hoax: Space Shuttle

Company reorganisation seminar today began with story of how the range of the Space Shuttle was indirectly determined by the width of a horse's ass. I'd heard the story before, but a couple of details didn't ring true. The railway tunnel could have been made wider to take bigger rockets (or, as Robb says, they could have built the rockets closer to the launch site). Snopes says it's false (or "True, but for trivial and unremarkable reasons").

Automobiles: Which Side Of The Road?

Why do some countries drive on the right and some on the left? Historical table and country-by-country guide here. Some very interesting tidbits.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A-Z: Musicians

  • A?
  • Eric B. - pioneering hip-hop artist, rarely seen without Rakim.
  • Vitamin C - girl from Eve's Plum makes happy pop music.
  • Chuck D - rapper from Public Enemy.
  • Eazy-E - another rapper, this time from N.W.A.
  • Adam F - Drum & Bass artist, worked with Tracy Thorn.
  • Gina G - the "Ooh Aah...Just A Little Bit" Aussie singer.
  • Arthur H - French jazz/pop band.
  • Prince Far I - reggae great.
  • David J - former member of Bauhaus/Tones On Tail/Love & Rockets.
  • Josef K - jangly Scottish band from early 80s.
  • Jack L - would-be Jacques Brel from Ireland.
  • Aerial M - "post-rock" instrumental band featuring guitarist David Pajo.
  • N?
  • Candy-O - a Cars tribute band from Canada.
  • Master P - rap mogul.
  • Stacey Q - had a hit in the 80s with "Two Of Hearts".
  • R?
  • Department S - one-hit Brits ("Is Vic There?").
  • Mr. T - don't say Mr. T isn't a musical genius until you've heard his "Treat Your Mother Right". Then you can say it.
  • Thriller U - easy-listening reggae singer.
  • V?
  • W?
  • Generation X - punk band that spawned Billy Idol.
  • Y?
  • David Z - engineer/producer who worked with Prince and Fine Young Cannibals, among others.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Feeble Attempt At Humour

Costume party ideas.

  • If your name is Eric, carry a wet sponge and dab the side of your head with it. When asked why you're not wearing a costume, say, "What do you mean? I'm Erick Dampier."
  • If your name is Steve, wear a raincoat and a tiara. It will be obvious to all that you are Steve McQueen.
  • If your name is Rob(b), set yourself on fire and say, "Look everyone! I'm Robert Burns!"
  • If your name is Pat, jump on people from behind and announce that you're a Pat on the back.
  • If your name is Shell, shave off your eyebrows, then paint on new ones about an inch above the originals. Walk around with your mouth hanging open. "I'm Shell-shocked."
  • If your name is Jim, have a more talented older brother named John and get him to die young from a drug overdose. Then land a mediocre sitcom where your wife is played by an actress far too beautiful to be your real-life wife. You can then pass yourself off as Jim Belushi.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lyrics Quiz: America

In honour of my return to these shores, an American Lyrics Quiz. Hint: one of these is by Morrissey.

  1. She’s a good girl, loves her mama. Loves Jesus and America too.
  2. Oh but ain’t that America for you and me. Ain’t that America, we’re something to see baby. Ain’t that America, home of the free.
  3. Good morning, America, how are you? Don't you know me? I'm your native son.
  4. Take a jumbo across the water. Like to see America. See the girls in California. I’m hoping it’s going to come true, but there’s not a lot I can do.
  5. It’s on America’s tortured brow that Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow. Now the workers have struck for fame ‘cause Lennon’s on sale again.
  6. Turn the key and slowly unlock the door, as a man breathes into a saxophone, and through the walls you hear the city groan. Outside is America.
  7. Holly came from Miami F.L.A. Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
  8. In Europe and America, there’s a growing feeling of hysteria, conditioned to respond to all the threats in the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets.
  9. Every child had a pretty good shot to get at least as far as their old man got. But something happened on the way to that place. They threw an American flag in our face.
  10. It’s coming to America first. The cradle of the best and of the worst. It’s here they got the range and the machinery for change. And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
  11. In America, it brought you the hamburger. Well, America, you know where you can shove your hamburger. And don't you wonder why in Estonia they say, Hey you, Big fat pig, You fat pig, You fat pig.

Lyrics: Annette or Aimee

Fun lyrics game: Annette Funicello or Aimee Mann?. I scored 11 out of 16. Hooray for whoever created this quiz!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Song List: Johnny

Shell buries his contribution once again in the Comments section. Doesn't he know that no one ever reads the Comments? Here it is again:

Songs with "Johnny" either in the title or somewhere in the lyrics. For starters:

  • "Angry Johnny" - Poe
  • "Johnny Be Good" (sic) - Chuck Berry
  • "Be Good" - Men at Work
  • "Johnny Are You Queer" - Josie Cotton

Some he missed:

  • "Johnny And Mary" - Robert Palmer
  • "Johnny Was" - Bob Marley (and Stiff Little Fingers)
  • "Johnny In The Echo Cafe" - Saint Etienne
  • "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" - traditional
  • "Johnny Mathis' Feet" - American Music Club

And songs that mention "Johnny":
  • "Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)" and "My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)" by Neil Young
  • "Walk Of Life" by Dire Straits
  • "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sports: Football

The headline at the Basque News And Information Channel is "Asier Del Horno's Chelsea beat Arsenal in the Community Shield". A bit parochial, no? Silly Basques. An anagram of his name is "El Senor Hairdo". Meanwhile, Didier Drogba (who actually scored the two goals) is "Odd Brigadier". And manager Jose Mourinho is "I'm Joe Honours".

And why did the Charity Shield become the Community Shield? Minor scandal, apparently, "for failing to disclose to ticket purchasers that only "profits" from the game would go to good causes, and for delaying the distribution of proceeds."

Advertising: Mazda

Risque commercial for Mazda, featuring a mannequin. As seen on British TV (but not, probably, US TV). Mind you, I haven't seen this ad on TV yet. (And while you're at Fat Campus, don't miss the early Jim Morrison video.


Good news for women's health.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Words: Numpty, Sledging

The Brits do have some funny words, don't they? Numpty means "idiot", but sounds much nicer. Sledging means "insulting your opponent" in Cricket. More sledging.

And if you're missing baseball like I am, some Texas Rangers lowlights.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Sudoku etc.

USA Today has a nice Sudoku puzzle done in Flash. (Too easy though.)

Gizmodo has an interview with Jonathon Keats, a conceptual artist who has created a "camera" with a hundred year exposure.

Explanation of British number plates, including those tricksy Norn Iron plates.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Furniture: Funny Store Names

The name of this Northern Ireland furniture store makes me laugh: All Things Nice.