Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Songs for gay dogs


Greenfairy appears to have given up, worryingly....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I have a grant application on my desk that concerns 'reducing fouling and slagging constraints'.

It says a lot for my mental state that I tittered a little on first reading it.

I am assuming it has little to do with Leicester Square on a Saturday night.

Congratulations to the England & Wales cricket team on Sunday's game (yes, you read that right, that is the full title and is why we have Simon Jones and Geraint Jones playing. Well, Geraint is actually from Papua New Guinea but that is another matter.) A real nailbiter. Hold on lads, not long to go now....

It has been a great year for sport so far, personally. Apart from the utter cock up that was the Lions, we have had great cricket, the emergence of Amir Khan and the consolidation of Joe Calzaghe, West Ham are back in the Premiership and Wales have a Grand Slam.

This is truly odd, and as a friend of mine pointed out, the way Gein and Dahmer got started....

Thursday, August 25, 2005


IQ questions interest me. 100 is supposed to be the average*, but there are loads of different ways of measuring it, many of which give different results for the same person - I have a 20 point differential between two of the sample tests.

IQ is a bit of a pet interest of mine, as an example of a biological statistic that has been mangled and dragged through politics. It is so controversial that many researchers won't even look at intelligence now, and the president of Harvard recently got in extreme PC trouble for even thinking aloud about it.

A few fun facts -
  • IQ raises on average 5 points if the test is undertaken by someone who has recently listened to Mozart.
  • It bears little or no correlation to cranial capacity
  • It is is probably true that IQ is higher in developed than undeveloped countries, which initially seems an incendiary racist argument, until you consider the effect malnutrition and illness have on the brain
  • The US used to test a sample of immigrants at Staten Island for IQ and concluded that all Russians were congenital morons, due to the minor point of delivering the test in English to starved sleep-deprived refugees
  • Whichever test method you use, the same distribution difference between men and women can be seen - there are more women of average IQ, but at the highest and lowest ends of the scale there are more men. Women cluster around the average whereas most geniuses and morons are male. Which explains a lot (chess grandmasters, severe regressive autism, GCSE passes) (see here.)

    I'd also refer you to Steven J Gould's masterful 'The Mismeasure of Man', a history of political attempts to hijack intelligence studies.

    * - 90 or less - certifiable learning difficulty, 125 - average for the holder of a first class degree
  • Mandolinquency

    I recently took up the mandolin, inspired by the 'O Brother Where Art Thou' soundtrack, Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy, and also because it's a damn sight easier to carry on public transport than a full size acoustic dreadnought, being roughly the size of a tennis racket. You get some odd looks if you openly carry a mandolin on the tube. Specifically, you get an old bloke smiling at you, and a girl who asks 'what is that', and, on being told, says, 'what, like Captain Corelli?'

    It has been fun so far though and I go for my first lesson tonight. It would be nice though, if, on doing a Google search for matters related to the little instrument, I got something useful, not loads of Nicholas Cage fanpages and tour operator websites selling me holidays to Cephalonia.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2005

    The flying spaghetti monster

    If I wasn't already a Buddhist, I'd be a Pastafarian.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    24 hour licensing

    'How will you react to the prospect of pubs in your street being open all night?'

    With a massive hangover.


    Friday, August 19, 2005


    Good to hear the ScaryKnackers are largely unharmed, if now as seedless as British tennis.

    Another former Labour Minister who fell out with Blair dies after a “fall”. It's getting scary isn't it? Anyway, bye Mo. A woman of integrity and oft-forgotten massive intellect, a rare thing in Nu Labour c.1997 (hell, You have to love a woman who provoked Ian Paisley (I will not use Dr or Rev for him, he got both titles from an unaccredited US correspondence college) into fulminating 'that accursed woman has brought sodomites into Stormont!'

    I have spent a lot of time in Northern Ireland, and always rave about it as a holiday destination. It really is beautful. The mountains of Mourne are proper LOTR territory, Newcastle is a lovely little seaside town, and Belfast is a great night out. A lot like Cardiff, only the police drive grey bulletproof Land Rovers and the accents are a bit different (and the women are a lot better looking). A Welsh accent is useful there - to one side I am a fellowed oppressed Celt, to the other, a holder of Her Majesty's passport.....

    Album of the week: Word Gets Around, by the Stereophonics. A lovely collection of vignettes of Valleys life.

    Question on exam paper:
    1. Write a sentence using the word 'judicious'.
    Child A's answer: 'Everyone agreed it was a judicious move to make.'
    Child B's answer: 'He always made judicious deals.'
    Child C's answer: 'Hands that judicious can feel soft as your face....'


    Thursday, August 11, 2005


    Lifted wholesale from Wikipedia, the Mosnter Raving Loony Manifesto from the 2005 election:

    The manifesto, entitled "The Manicfesto", for the 2005 General Election the OMRLP's major manifesto commitment was once more their long held pledge to abolish income tax, citing as always that it was only meant to be a temporary measure during the Napoleonic Wars. This has been a Loony staple policy since the original manifesto was written by Sutch's agent Pauline Read in 1983. Also included was another old staple, the "Putting Parliament On Wheels" idea of having Parliament sit throughout the country rather than solely in London - with special emphasis this time in its creation negating the need for national/regional assemblies.

    The rest of the party's manifesto included:

    Refusing to sign up to the euro, but inviting the rest of Europe to join the pound.
    Drivers can go straight over a roundabout when there's no traffic coming "to make driving through Milton Keynes more fun".
    Traffic cops "too stupid" for normal police work to be retrained as vicars.
    Withdrawal of MPs' £118,000 expenses allowance, and the money "in future be distributed to the poor and needy so that they can waste it instead."
    Any MP whose constituency sells off a school playing field for development will be required to relinquish their own back garden as a replacement sports facility for the school.
    All motorways to become massive cycle tracks instead (even the Green Party has never dared go so far on an environmental pledge)
    All speed cameras will be abolished and replaced by a new device fitted to cars which will automatically slow down to the speed limit when driven though an infra-red beam.
    Introduction of a 99p coin to save on change.

    All seems eminently sensible to me....

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    Train manager's announcement

    'Welcome to this 2140 train to Nowhere, calling at Emptiness, Despair and all stations to Framley. Smoking is only permitted in coach C, also known as the cancer carriage. Tramps, snogging students and smelly hippies can be found in coaches D to F. Toilets can be found at the end of every carriage, and will both resemble and smell like a mid-summer open sewer. Coach B is a quiet carriage, so tossers who want to bellow into their mobiles should bugger off elswhere to annoy us all. A can of warm Stella is available at the bar for £4. The next station will be somewhere you have never heard of, and no-one will get off there. Thank you for travelling with BastardRail.'

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    The worst poet in the English language/Buddhist links

    The wonderful, or execrable, depending on your point of view, William McGonagall.

    Since I converted to Buddhism a few months back I get a lot of questions about it from my friends. The best resource I can point to is this Wikipedia page. The BBC guide is here, and the FWBO guide here. There are some excellent freely downloadable texts here: I particularly recommend this one.

    On an unrelated note, well done to Tim Ireland for keeping an eye on Parliament's attempts to ignore protest. His rather funny story is here. We should laugh at them, and then think, and then make the buggers listen....

    Monday, August 08, 2005


    The last time I went to a bad taste party a medic friend of mine turned up in his white coat with his stethoscope, wearing a false beard and a badge saying 'Dr Shipman'. We all thought he was in the worst possible taste, until a guy turned up in a wheelchair.

    Dressed as Superman.

    I find it unsettling that Mo Mowlam was taken critically ill and Robin Cook died in the same week. Both outspoken critics of Tony Blair who are now unable to speak, as it were. Frankly, George Galloway must be sh*tting himself.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Recent potentially racist/religious crimes


    And of course, the 52 dead since the 7/7 tube bombings.

    That's it. I'm giving up political blogging. My blood pressure can't take it.

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    From today's Times

    'DURING THE past few weeks we’ve heard a lot on Radio 4 from Massoud Shadjareh, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission. He’s made some forceful points about the need to respect civil liberties in Britain at this time. There’s certainly a case for a vigorous defence of those Muslims whose human rights are being infringed at this time. So I hope that the commission can fill me in on all the good work it has been doing in pressing for the right to vote for the party of your choice in Syria, holding the Saudi religious police to account for their distinctive approach to zero tolerance and asking Iran when it will stop torturing students and journalists who have the temerity to ask for democracy.' Here

    And, from Wikipedia, some wonderful pub bore ammo here: songs over 15 minutes in length.

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    On Muslim voices

    According to this, young Muslims feel the government doesn't listen to them.

    Here's a newsflash.

    Government doesn't listen to ANYBODY. I'm white, male and Oxbridge educated and do they listen to me? Like hell. So let's not make this a race/faith/culture issue. They do not listen to ANYONE.

    I understand a major bone of contention for the Muslim population (and, apparently, the bombers) was Iraq, and the deaths of hundreds of Muslims there once the Americans invaded. I don't recall mass Muslim disenchantment when Saddam was murdering Iraqis before the war. And I say this as someone was who was against the invasion. Is the slaughter of Muslims acceptable when the perpetrators are also Muslims? See here for more on the phenomena of Muslim-on-Muslim murder and chaos.

    Bizarre graffiti

    Discussion of the day: bizarre graffiti you have seen.

    On a bus stop at Old St: TONY IS A JUNCTION CREAMER (I dread to think, answers on a postcard)
    On a Bakerloo line train this weekend: SCOTTISH HOLIDAYS CREATE EMPLOYMENT (laudable, I suppose)
    On a bridge in Merthyr: STRIPHAIRIJUNKROT
    On another bridge in Merthyr: 'Up to £50,000 go fish!'
    On a bridge in Troedyrhiw (local village): TAMPAX (free advertising for them, then)

    This weekend Donnie Darko is being shown with a live score in Kensington Gardens, and the mighty Alabama 3 play Clapham. Do I have tickets to either? Are they both sold out? No and yes. A*se biscuits.


    You may have out on ICE number on your phone recently. You may have even heard about the hoax surrounding ICE numbers. Well, Oscar over at Gnus of the World proposed adding another number too, and Tim at bloggerheads has gone into quite some detail on the topic.....