Friday, December 26, 2008

The Autumn of the Patriarch

Only then did we dare go in without attacking the crumbling walls of reinforced stone, as the more resolute had wished, and without using oxbows to knock the main door off its hinges, as others had proposed, because all that was needed was for someone to give a push and the great armoured doors that had resisted the lombards of William Dampier during the building's heroic days gave way. It was like entering the atmosphere of another age, because the air was thinner in the rubble pits of the vast lair of power, and the silence was more ancient, and things were hard to see in the decrepit light. All across the first courtyard, where the paving stones had given way to the underground thrust of weeds, we saw the disorder of the post of the guard who had fled, the weapons abandoned in their racks, the big, long rough-planked tables and plates containing the leftovers of the Sunday lunch that had been interrupted by panic, in shadows we saw the annex where government house had been, colored fungi and pale irises among the unresolved briefs whose normal course had been slower than the pace of the driest of lives, in the centre of the courtyard we saw the baptismal font where more than five generations had been christened with martial sacraments, in the rear we saw the ancient viceregal stable which had been transformed into a coach house, and among the camellias and butterflies we saw the berlin from stirring days, the wagon from the time of the plague, the coach from the year of the comet, the hearse from progress in order, the sleep-walking limousine of the first century of peace, all in good shape under the dusty cobwebs and all painted with the colours of the flag.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

"The only difference today between Liberals and Conservatives is that the Liberals go to mass at five o'clock and the Conservatives at eight."
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Some great sites....

Here are a couple of my regular stopping places:

English Russia: a daily entertainment blog devoted to the events happening in Russian speaking countries, such as Russia (Russian Federation), Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, etc. Everyday something interesting happens in the countries occupying 1/6 of the populated world.

Russian Blog: Language and Culture of the Russian-Speaking World

Russian Reading Challenge 2008: A 12 month reading challenge of all things Russian - novels, short stories, biographies, history, poetry - by Russian authors or by authors about Russia. Challenge begins January 1, 2008 and ends December 31st, 2008. (hope this goes on another year picked up some great tips) Works of Soviet Literature summarized for those unable or too lazy to read them in the original. (that'd be me then!!)

José Saramago - new novel due soon.

Excerpt from The Elephant’s Journey

There is no wind, although the mist seems to form slow whirlpools as if boreas himself were blowing it down from the far north and from the lands of eternal ice. However, to be honest, given the delicacy of the situation, this is hardly the moment for someone to be honing his prose in order to make some, frankly, not very original poetic point. By now, the people travelling with the caravan will have realised that someone is missing, indeed two of them will probably have volunteered to go and save the poor castaway, an action that would be most welcome if it weren’t for the reputation as a coward that will dog him for the rest of his days, Honestly, the public voice will say, imagine him just sitting there, waiting for somone to rescue him, some people have no shame at all. It’s true that he had been sitting down, but now he’s standing up and has courageously taken the first step, right foot first, to drive away the evil spells cast by fate and its powerful allies, chance and coincidence, however, his left foot has grown suddenly hesitant, and who can blame it, because the ground is invisible, as if a new tide of mist had just begun to roll in. With his third step, he can no longer see his own hands held out in front of him as if to keep his nose from bumping against some unexpected door. It was then that another idea occurred to him, what if the road curved this way and that, and the direction he had taken, in what he hoped would be a straight line, led him into desert places that would mean perdition for both soul and body, in the case of the latter with immediate effect. And, O unhappy fate, without even a dog to lick away his tears when the great moment arrived. He again considered turning back to ask for shelter in the village until the bank of mist lifted of its own accord, but now, completely disoriented, with as little idea of where the cardinal points might be, as if he were in some entirely unfamiliar place, he decided that his best option was to sit down on the ground again and wait for destiny, chance, fate, any or all of them together, to guide those selfless volunteers to the tiny patch of ground on which he was sitting, as on an island in the ocean sea, with no means of communication. Or, more appropriately, like a needle in a haystack. Within three minutes, he was fast asleep. What a strange creature man is, so prone to terrible insomnias over mere nothings and yet capable of sleeping like a log on the eve of a battle. And so it was. He fell into a deep sleep, and it’s quite likely that he would still be sleeping now if, somewhere in the mist, solomon had not unleashed a thunderous trumpeting whose echoes must have been heard on the distant shores of the ganges. Still groggy after his abrupt awakening, he could not make out just where it was coming from, that fog horn come to save him from an icy death or, worse, from being eaten by wolves, because this is a land of wolves, and a man, alone and unarmed, is helpless against a whole pack of them or, indeed, against one. Solomon’s second blast was even louder than the first and began with a kind of quiet gargling in the depths of his throat, like a roll on the drums, immediately followed by the syncopated clamour that typifies the creature’s call. The man is now racing through the mist like a horseman charging, lance at the ready, thinking all the while, Again, solomon, again. And solomon granted his wish and let out another trumpet blast, quieter this time, as if merely confirming that he was there, because the castaway is no longer adrift, he’s on his way, there’s the cart belonging to the cavalry quartermaster, not that he can make out details because things and people are nothing but blurs, it’s as if the mist, and this is a much more troubling idea, were of a kind that can corrode the skin, the skin of people, horses, even elephants, yes, even that vast, tiger-proof elephant, not all mists are the same, of course, one day, someone will cry Gas, and woe betide anyone not wearing a tight-fitting mask. The ex-castaway asks a soldier who happens to be passing, leading his horse by the reins, if the volunteers have returned from their rescue mission, and the soldier responds with a distrustful glance, as if he were speaking to some kind of provocateur, because, as a quick flick through the inquisition’s files will confirm, there were plenty of them around in the sixteenth century, and says coolly, Wherever did you get an idea like that, there was no call for volunteers here, the only sensible course of action in a situation like this is to do exactly as we did and sit tight until the mist lifts, besides, asking for volunteers isn’t really the commander’s style, usually, he just points, you, you and you, quick march, besides, the commander says that when it comes to heroics, either all of us are going to be heroes or none. To make clearer still that he considered the conversation to be at an end, the soldier rapidly hoisted himself up onto his horse, said goodbye and galloped off into the mist. He was displeased with himself. He had given explanations that no one had asked him for, and made statements he was not authorised to make. However, he was consoled by the fact that the man, although he didn’t really have the physique, probably belonged, what other possibility was there, to the group of men hired to help push or pull the ox-carts whenever the going got rough, men of few words and even less imagination. Generally speaking, that is, because the man lost in the mist certainly didn’t appear to lack imagination, just look at the way he had plucked out of nothing, out of nowhere, the volunteers who should have come to his rescue. Fortunately for the man’s public credibility, the elephant is a different matter altogether. Large, enormous, big-bellied, with a voice guaranteed to terrify the timid and a trunk like that of no other animal in creation, the elephant could never be the product of anyone’s imagination, however bold and fertile. The elephant either existed or it didn’t. It is, therefore, time to visit him and thank him for the energetic way in which he used his god-given trumpet to such good purpose, for if this had been the valley of jehosephat, the dead would undoubtedly have risen again, but being what it is, an ordinary scrap of Portuguese earth swathed in mist where someone very nearly died of cold and neglect, and so as not entirely to waste the rather laboured comparison with which we chose to encumber ourselves, we might say that some resurrections are so deftly handled that they can happen even before the poor victim has passed away. It was as if the elephant had thought, That poor devil is going to die, and I’m going to save him. And here’s the same poor devil heaping thanks on him and swearing eternal gratitude, until finally the mahout asks, What did the elephant do to deserve such thanks, If it wasn’t for him, I would have died of cold or been devoured by wolves, And what exactly did he do, because he hasn’t left this spot since he woke up, He didn’t need to move, he just had to blow his trumpet, because I was lost in the mist and it was his voice that saved me, If anyone is qualified to speak of the works and deeds of solomon, I’m that man, which is why I’m his mahout, so don’t come to me with some story about hearing him trumpet, He didn’t just trumpet once, but three times, and these same ears that will one day be dust heard him trumpet. The mahout thought, The fellow’s stark staring mad, the mist must have seeped into his brain, that’s probably it, yes, I’ve heard of such cases, then, out loud he added, Let’s not argue about whether it was one, two or three blasts, you ask those men over there if they heard anything. The men, whose blurred outlines seemed to vibrate and tremble with every step, immediately gave rise to the question, Where are you off to in weather like this. We know, however, that this wasn’t the question asked by the man who insisted he’d heard the elephant speak and we know the answer they were giving him. What we don’t know is whether any of these things are related, which ones, or how. The fact is that the sun, like a vast broom of light, suddenly broke through the mist and swept it away. The landscape revealed itself as it had always been, stones, trees, ravines, and mountains. The three men are no longer there. The mahout opens his mouth to speak, then closes it again. The man who insisted he’d heard the elephant speak began to lose consistency and substance, to shrink, then grow round and transparent as a soap bubble, if the poor-quality soaps of the time were capable of forming the crystalline marvels that someone had the genius to invent, then suddenly disappeared from view. He went plof and vanished. Onomatopoeia can be so very handy. Imagine if we’d had to provide a detailed description of someone disappearing. It would have taken us at least ten pages.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


It is today, nearly ten years after NATO and the UN took over Kosovo. An elderly Albanian couple is sitting in their dark flat in Pristina. The electricity is out, yet again, and they are sitting in front of a blank television, lights out, food beginning to rot in the refrigerator which isn’t running, no hot water, and certainly no cooking to do. They are just sitting there, wondering what to do next when all of the sudden, the crackle of electricity is heard when the lights begin to flicker. The television comes to life, the hum of the refrigerator can be heard and the water heater starts up.

The old man looks at his wife and says “Honey, get my gun. The Serbs are back.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fighting Jack Churchill

A "Real" Hero

Apologies to Wiki who I stole the text from....but this gut deserves to be more famous.

Early life
Born in Hong Kong to English parents, Churchill graduated from Sandhurst in 1926 and served in Burma with the Manchester Regiment. He left the army in 1936 and worked as a newspaper editor. He used his archery and bagpipe talents to play small film roles in the movie The Thief of Bagdad.

Second World War
He resumed his commission after Poland was invaded, and volunteered for the Commandos after fighting at Dunkirk. It is said that Churchill was not sure what was entailed in Commando duty, but that because it sounded dangerous, he signed up. In May 1940, Churchill and his unit, the Manchester Regiment, ambushed a German patrol near l'Epinette, France. Churchill gave the signal to attack by cutting down the enemy feldwebel (sergeant) with his barbed arrows.

He led two companies in Operation Archery, the raid on the German garrison at Vågsøy, Norway on December 27, 1941. As the ramps fell on the first landing craft, Churchill leapt forward throwing a grenade and began running towards the bay. For his actions at Dunkirk and Vaasgo, Churchill received the Military Cross and Bar. He received the Distinguished Service Order in 1943 for capturing the battery at Salerno, while commanding Number 2 Commando. Leading from the front, Churchill infiltrated the town with only a corporal in support. He kidnapped a sentry and forced him to make his comrades surrender. Churchill and the riflemen walked out of town with 42 prisoners and a mortar squad.

In 1944, he led Number 2 Commando in Yugoslavia, where they supported the efforts of Tito's partisans. The commandos raided the German-held island of Brač and assaulted Hill 622. Only Churchill and six others managed to reach the objective. A mortar shell killed or wounded everyone but Churchill, who played "Will Ye No Come Back Again?" on his pipes as the Germans advanced. He was knocked unconscious by grenades and was flown to Berlin for interrogation after being captured. He was placed in Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

In September 1944, he and an RAF officer crawled under the wire through an abandoned drain and set out to walk to the Baltic coast; they were recaptured near the coastal city of Rostock, only a few miles from the sea. In late April 1945 Churchill was transferred to Tyrol together with about 140 other prominent concentration camp inmates, where the SS left the prisoners behind.

He escaped from Niederdorf, Italy in April 1945 and walked 150 miles to Verona, Italy where he met an American armoured column.

As the Pacific war was still ongoing Churchill was sent to Burma, where the largest land battles against Japan were still raging, but by the time he reached India, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been bombed, and the war abruptly ended.

Later life
In 1946 Twentieth Century Fox was making Ivanhoe with Churchill’s old rowing companion Robert Taylor. The movie studio hired Churchill to appear as an archer, firing from the walls of Warwick Castle.

After World War II ended, Churchill qualified as a parachutist, transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders, and later ended up in Palestine as second-in-command of 1st Battalion, the Highland Light Infantry. In the spring of 1948, just before the end of the British mandate in the region, Churchill became involved in another conflict. Along with twelve of his soldiers, he attempted to assist the Hadassah medical convoy that came under attack by hundreds of Arab militants. Following the massacre, he coordinated the evacuation of 700 Jewish doctors, students and patients from the Hadassah hospital on the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.

In later years, Churchill served as an instructor at the land-air warfare school in Australia, where he became a passionate devotee of the surfboard. Back in England, he was the first man to ride the River Severn’s five-foot tidal bore and designed his own board.

He finally retired from the army in 1959, with two awards of the Distinguished Service Order, and died in Surrey in 1996. Eccentric until the end, Churchill would toss his briefcase out of the window of the commuter train he rode home every day. Passengers and conductors were shocked because they did not know he was throwing the luggage into his own backyard as the train passed by. It saved him the trouble of carrying it all the way home from the station.

fucking awesome

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”
—Charles Bukowski

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, died in Santa Monica, California. He was 71.


The world has become (believe it or not) and even more unhappy place.

On June 22, 2008, George Carlin one of the worlds finest comedians was admitted to St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California after complaining of chest pain. He died later that day at 5:55 p.m. PDT of heart failure at the age of 71.

In George's honour:

1. Shit - The bird shit on the statue.
2. Piss - I have to piss like a race horse.
3. Fuck - Fuck you.
4. Cunt - She has a rancid cunt.
5. Cocksucker - Go to hell, you cocksucker.
6. Motherfucker - You are a motherfucker.
7. Tits - Hey, nice tits.

1. Fart - I farted.
2. Turd - Who dropped a turd in the urinal?
3. Twat - Shave that hairy twat.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

John McCain Called his wife a Cunt!!!!!

News just in...old news but worth a look......this is based on a true story....

"Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days." via

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mike Strutter

Just got an e mail form my cousin in Dubai, pointing out some amazing YouTube clips by comedian Paul Kaye (formerly Dennis Pennis) as Mike Strutter (pronounced 'Stwutter')

He is the foul-mouthed, curly haired L.A. lawyer who appears in the Dennis video - 'Too Rude To Live' and his own vid - 'A Star Is Porn'. He's based loosely on Sean Penn's character in 'Carlito's Way'...and is absolutely brilliant!!!

Warning: NSFW

Game Show Host:

Struttergear Shit Stick:

Strutters Guide to London:

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sad news...

Another hero of mine has passed away.

Blind Canadian rock musician Jeff Healey has died in a Toronto hospital aged 41 from a rare form of cancer, his publicist has said.

Healey, famed for playing his electric guitar flat on his lap, died of retinoblastoma which claimed his sight when he was a one-year-old-child.

His 1988 album See The Light was nominated for a Grammy award and sold one million copies in the US. Healey's latest album was due to be released in Canada on Monday.

His publicist Richard Flohil told broadcaster CTV: "Jeff was an intriguing player to watch, because he played guitar - by any conventional standard - all wrong, with it flat across his lap."
"But he was a remarkable, a virtuoso player," he added.
Colin Bray, a member of Healey's band who was at his bedside when he died, said: "I don't think any of us thought this was going to happen.
"We just thought he was going to bounce back like he always does."
Healey played with blues legend BB King and recorded with Mark Knopfler and the late George Harrison. He was also a lover of jazz, and hosted radio shows in Canada where he would play music from his record collection, which numbered more than 30,000. Last year, he underwent cancer surgery on his lungs and legs and had chemotherapy.

The musician is survived by his wife Christie and two children

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Boy with an Arse for a Face

Saw this on TV last night, Mitchell and Webb just get better and better. Think this could be the funniest thing I've seen on TV for very many years, especially if you're familiar with UK Ch5's exploitative freak show documentaries....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Europeans think of each other

The French — Disliked by some Spanish (particularly the Catalonians), for being arrogant. One woman from Barcelona told me, “Come on¦who really likes the French? Nobody!” The Swiss don’t like the fact that they have contempt for authority and are lazy. The Brits, of course, have the most mixed feelings about the French, though. One half the country hates them, the other half loves them. Those that hate the French tend to like the Americans, and vice versa. In the UK, they’re considered stinky, rude (they never line/queue up like decent people), and a bit yellow, based on their tendency to not fend off invaders like the Nazis.The French, in turn, dislike the British, look down on Belgians for being stupid, and don’t have much to say, in my experience, about Spaniards or Germans (oddly).

The Italians — Most of the stereotypes are positive, but mostly because of the food. Northern Europeans consider them lazy and flaky, and maybe incapable of managing anything right (mostly because of the 50+ governments they’ve had since WW2). One Dutch professor I had dismissed another Italian one, saying, “All the Italians care about are pasta and mamma.”Italians, in turn, don’t have strong feelings about other Europeans, but within Italy, the north-south divide is pretty strong. Northern Italians continuously complain that Southerners are lazy and unproductive, while Southerners complain that Northerners are devoid of culture or joie de vivre.

The Germans — Germans are considered industrious but uptight and humorless, by just about all the other Europeans. They know WW2 is a sore spot for them, so other Europeans will often mercilessly tease them about it. As much as Germany is considered an economic powerhouse, the vast majority of Europeans don’t really want to learn German or study there (or send their kids there to study). The food is considered uninspired, too, and only Berlin has some cachet among younger Europeans for its vibrant underground club scene. The most anti-German sentiments are among the Dutch and Danish, who just hate them from invading their countries too often. When German ask for directions in Holland, they’re usually given directions to the shortest way out of the country, or told “Give us back our bikes!”, a reference to the fact that Germans confiscated Dutch bicycles during WW2.Danes hate it when you pronounce their capital as “ko-pen-HAH-gen”, because this is the German pronunciation. Either pronounce it the English way (with “HAY” instead), or the Danish way, which is literally impossible to put down here.Germans tend to like their Western neighbors far more than they are liked by them, but they look down on their Eastern neighbors, particularly Poles. They, oddly, have some mixed respect for the Czechs, who have resisted German aggression.

The Scandinavians — Widely respected by most other Europeans, because of their high standard of living …and blond hair and blue eyes. However, within Scandinavia there are some persistent stereotypes. The Norwegians, Danes and Finns all think the Swedes are stupid and uptight. Norwegians are considered racist. Danes are considered more blunt than the others, maybe a bit more cranky, and the Finns are oddly introverted, even by Scandinavian standards. Except for the Danes really disliking Germans, and Finns really disliking Russians, they don’t really have anything against other Europeans.

The Belgians — Considered idiots by both the Dutch and the French. Belgians, in turn, consider the Dutch to be a bunch of cranky assholes, and French stuck-up.

The Dutch — The Dutch, like the Scandinavians, have an enviable economy and social order that’s admired by southern European countries. However, they do have a reputation of being self-righteous “know-it-alls” and very similar to their German cousins in terms of their rigidity. But they do not like any comparisons to Germans, and if you remind them that the Dutch national anthem makes a reference to the Dutch being “van Duitse bloed” (from German blood), you might quickly get the silent treatment. The Dutch are also disliked for being the biggest misers in Europe, and because of this they incur the wrath of the tourist industry wherever they travel. The Dutch have been known to stock up on water before they take their campers down to the south of France.The Dutch, in turn, kind of look down on just about everyone. Yes, there’s a bit of a reason for the “know-it-all” smart-ass reputation they have.

The Swiss — Considered extremely rigid, even by the Germans. Blunt to the point of being rude, the Swiss probably have the least likely reputation for being characterized as “friendly” or “warm”. Note that there is a big cultural divide between French-speaking Swiss, and the German-speaking Swiss. The former are almost exactly like the French, except having a blander cuisine and more respect for authority, the latter being more like the Germans except even more stiff, rigid and cranky. However, everyone knows Switzerland “works” so the fact that foreigners comprise 20% of the population (mostly from EU member states) should make this clear.Note that the German-speaking Swiss also speak their own variant of German, which sounds very strange if you’ve only been exposed to standard “hoch-Deutsch”.

The Spaniards — Honestly, very little antagonism against the Spanish or by the Spanish. No one really seems to dislike them, and they don’t seem to really dislike anyone else. (Yes, some Spaniards near the border to France don’t like the French very much) Not entirely sure why. However, God forbid you speak Spanish with a Latin American accent — there is still a lot of snobbery among Spaniards towards Latin Americans. Spaniards consider themselves white and European, and would be deeply insulted if you suggested they were Latin American of any kind.

The Greeks — Only nominally considered European by other Europeans, but the Greeks fiercely identify as European. Naturally, this is a huge irritant to Greeks.

The Poles — Not much seems to register about Poland and the Poles except that they’re quiet. They are a relatively big country (40 million people) so the supposed scare of being overrun by Eastern Europeans when a bunch of Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2005 focused in on the Poles. The Germans really don’t like Poles, and among Germany’s 9 neighbors, are disliked the most. Poland is considered a country of car thieves by the Germans. Really, the relationship between Germany and Poland is similar to that of the United States and Mexico, and often for many of the same reasons (differences in income, history of war, different languages, etc.).Poles really shore up their hatred for their eastern & southern neighbors, primarily Russia and Ukraine, although they don’t like Czechs, Slovaks or Lithuanians either. Oddly, they don’t really mind the Germans, and probably still fear them a bit — you never, ever hear jokes about Germans in Poland.

The Czechs — Considered a relatively bright spot of Eastern Europe by Western Europeans, but I think primarily because Prague is such a gorgeous city and a popular tourist destination. Czechs are a bit like Germans, though — a bit rude, blunt, and cold. Poles don’t have much good to say about them.

The Austrians — Considered a mix of the best & worst aspects of Germany and the Balkans, Austrians are considered laid-back but very nationalistic and racist. They’re said to be the birthplace of Hitler, but never came around to being fully apologetic about the Holocaust (unlike Germany). Neutral feelings from most ofWestern Europe, negative feelings from Germans (who consider them backwards, and not always the representing the best image of German-speaking people) and admired by Eastern Europeans (a throwback to the Hapsburgs).

The British - About half of the British would be really angry at being called European, so that should provide an apt starting point. The main beef with the Brits is that they’re considered the lapdog of the U.S., and are anti-European because the U.S. tells them to be so. They are considered polite, but maybe a bit two-faced (hence “Janus Britain”) and snobby. The Scots and Welsh are tolerated and liked, inasmuch as that no one really knows too much about them outside the UK, but the English are those that bear the brunt of negative sentiments among other Europeans. After all, London is in England.
The English also have a poor reputation in tourist traps, such as Amsterdam and Ibiza, for being loud-mouthed, obnoxious drunks.
The English, in turn, really seem to hate everyone. This is because it’s pretty hard to find an Englishman that has even, at best, neutral opinions about other Europeans (or Americans, or other nationalities). Europe is full of English expats, and the longer they live abroad, the more they seem to hate their host country. And yet they never seem to want to move home.

The Irish — A very small country, despite its exaggerated importance in Americans’ minds (just over 3 million) but considered polite and humble. They nominally dislike the English, but I have yet to meet an Irishman who really loathes the English. The sentiments towards the Irish and by the Irish seem to be positive, overall.
I personally don’t know much about how the Portuguese, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians, and others are perceived, or how they perceive others, but if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below.

In Heaven…

* the mechanics are German
* the chefs are French
* the police are British
* the lovers are Italian
* and everything is organized by the Swiss.

In Hell…

* the mechanics are French
* the police are German
* the chefs are British
* the lovers are Swiss
* and everything is organized by the Italians.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

“Letter to America”

John Cleese’s “Letter to America”
15 02 2008

Dear Citizens of America,

In view of your failure to elect a competent President and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy), as from Monday next.

Your new prime minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up “aluminium,” and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour’, ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix “ize” will be replaced by the suffix “ise.”

3. You will learn that the suffix ‘burgh’ is pronounced ‘burra’; you may elect to spell Pittsburgh as ‘Pittsberg’ if you find you simply can’t cope with correct pronunciation.

4. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up “vocabulary”). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

5. There is no such thing as “US English.” We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the elimination of “-ize.”

6. You will relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”,
but only after fully carrying out Task #1 (see above).

7. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. November 2nd will
be a new national holiday, but to be celebrated only in England. It will be called “Come-Uppance Day.”

8. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.

9. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

10. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

11. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric immediately and without the benefit of conversion tables… Both roundabouts and metrification will help you understand the British sense of humour.

12. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling “gasoline”) - roughly $8/US per gallon. Get used to it.

13. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call french fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called “crisps.” Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with malt vinegar.

14. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

15. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer,” and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as “Lager.” American brands will be referred to as “Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine,” so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

16. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors as English characters. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” was an experience akin to having one’s ear removed with a cheese grater.

17. You will cease playing American “football.” There is only one kind of proper football; you call it “soccer”. Those of you brave enough, in time, will be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American “football”, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a
bunch of Jessies - English slang for “Big Girls Blouse”).

18. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the “World Series” for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable and forgiven.

19. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

20. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due, backdated to 1776.

Thank you for your co-operation.
John Cleese


A man goes to the cinema and takes his seat for the movie. He is sitting to a woman and her dog.Throughout the movie the dog laughs at the funny bits, cries at the sad bits and jumps at the scary bits.

"Wow," said the man, "Love, your dog is amazing. The way he reacts to the film, he loves it."

"I'm surprised aswell," replies the woman, "he hated the book."

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The Wow! signal was a strong, narrowband radio signal detected by Dr. Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977 while working on a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project at the Big Ear radio telescope of the Ohio State University. The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-solar system origin. It lasted for 72 seconds, the full duration Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again. It has been the focus of attention in the mainstream media when talking about SETI results. The Big Ear telescope was fixed and used the rotation of the Earth to scan the sky. At the speed of the earth’s rotation, and given the width of the Big Ear’s observation “window”, the Big Ear could observe any given point for just 72 seconds. An extraterrestrial signal, therefore, would be expected to register for exactly 72 seconds, and the recorded intensity of that signal would show a gradual peaking for the first 36 seconds — until the signal reached the center of Big Ear’s observation “window” — at which time it would show a gradual decrease. Therefore, both the length of the Wow! signal, 72 seconds, and its shape would correspond to an extraterrestrial origin. The region of the sky in which the signal was heard, lies in the constellation Sagittarius, roughly 2.5 degrees south of the fifth-magnitude star Chi-1 Sagittarii.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Laurie Lee

"I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began.

The June grass, amongst which I stood, was taller than I was, and I wept. I had never been so close to grass before. It towered above me and all around me, each blade tattooed with tiger-skins of sunlight. It was knife-edged, dark, and a wicked green, thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt though the air like monkeys. I was lost and didn't know where to move. A tropic heat oozed up from the ground, rank with sharp odours of roots and nettles. Snow-clouds of elder-blossom banked in the sky, showering upon me the fumes and flakes of their sweet and giddy suffocation. High overhead ran frenzied larks, screaming, as though the sky were tearing apart."

Spent the day out today, went to Stroud to visit a little village called Slad, where Laurie Lee who wrote "Cider with Rosie" came from. I met him a few times at the local pub, "The Woolpack" when I was studying English...and his "Rosie" book. Nice bloke, I have signed copies somewhere about, I wanted to be a rock star in those days and he signed "To Doug may you make Top of the Pops"...happier days they were.

Laurie is buried in the churchyard in a lovely spot overlooking the beautiful Slad valley, his gravestone reads, "He lies in the valley he loved" which I think is wonderful.

If you ever get chance to read one of his novels or some of his poetry, take the time to visit this place and you'll get a feeling for what he was all about, his lyrical prose is so deeply rooted in this place.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


A dog walks into a telegram office, takes out a blank form and writes:


The clerk examines the form and says to the dog:

"There are only nine words here mate. You could send another "Woof" for the same price."

The dog replies "But it wouldn't make any fucking sense then"


A dog walks into a telegram office, takes out a blank form and writes:


The clerk examines the form and says to the dog:

"There are only nine words here mate. You could send another "Woof" for the same price."

The dog replies "But it wouldn't make any fucking sense then"


“A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, big or small, young or old. He doesn’t care if you’re not smart, not popular, not a good joke-teller, not the best athlete, nor the best-looking person. To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born. You are his friend and protector.”
-Louis Sabin, All About Dogs As Pets

“I wonder what goes through his mind when he sees us peeing in his water bowl.”
-Penny Ward Moser

“Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There’s so little hope for advancement.”

“Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won’t buy the wag of his tail.”
-Henry Wheeler Shaw

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”
-Andrew A. Rooney

“How’s it going Mr. Peterson?” - Woody “It’s a dog eat dog world, Woody, and I’m wearing milk bone underwear.”
-Norm from “Cheers”

“The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.”

“Life is like a dog sled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”
-Lewis Grizzard

“My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am”
-author unknown

“Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.”
-Franklin P Jones

“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”
-John Steinbeck

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”
-Ben Williams

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Matchbox King size Lamborghini Miura K-24

It doesn't get much prettier than this!
Another addition to my car collection, to replace missing vehicles of my youth. Been after one of these for quite a while now, and picked up a nice one for half the going rate of £45. Consider me a happy man tonight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


George Bush goes to a primary school to talk about the war. After his talk, he offers question time. One little boy puts up his hand and George asked, "What is your name?"
"My name is Bob", says the boy.
"And what is your question, Bob?"
"I have 3 questions. First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN? Second, why are you president when al gore got more votes? Third, what happened to Osama bin laden?"
Just then, the bell rings for recess. George bush informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess. When they resume George says, "Ok where were we? Oh, that's right. Question time. Who has a question?"
A different little boy raises his hand. George points him out and asked him "what is your name?"
"My name is Steve" says the boy.
"And what is your question Steve?"
"I have 5 questions. First, why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of UN? Second, why are you president when Al Gore got more votes? Third, what happened to Osama bin laden? Fourth, why did the recess bell go 20 minutes early? Fifth, where is Bob?"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lost Friends

I only just found out today that Dan Fogelberg died before Christmas.

Although I was not a massive fan, his album "Souvenirs" was one of the defining albums of my teenage years. Produced on this occasion by hero my Joe Walsh this album was pretty much his breakthrough set, and for me one of the finest albums of the 70's American folk rock era. If you ever get a chance to listen to it, take the opportunity, its a fantastic album.

Sorry and sad news.

Daniel Grayling Fogelberg
(August 13, 1951 – December 16, 2007)
Tribute site

Friday, January 25, 2008


"What a pity, when Christopher Columbus discovered America, that he ever mentioned it."

Margot Asquith



Thursday, January 24, 2008


"Our first relationship is to nature. You are part of nature, not the master of nature. This also gives us a strong sense of solidarity - you are about other people. Money is not important and power is not important. It's more your personality, the human being that is important."

Mari Boine

Mari Boine Persen is a Norwegian Sami musician known for having added jazz and rock to the yoiks of her native people. Boine (born 8 November 1956 in Finnmark, Norway) grew up amid the Laestadian Christian movement as well as amidst discrimination against her people. She was asked to perform at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, but refused because she perceived the invitation as an attempt to bring a token minority to the ceremonies. Gula Gula (1989, Real World) was her breakthrough release, and she continued to record popular albums throughout the 1990s.

Monday, January 21, 2008


For those of you who found the last post a little distasteful, let me redress the balance with the stunning flamenco guitar playing of the worlds finest guitarist, Paco de Lucia

Hey Toro!

A controversial one...

Bullfighting, I am absolutely engrossed in it, fascinated by this cultural spectacle of wonderful Spain. I have spent the last few months reading many, many books on it, and viewing some excellent documentaries (albeit in Spanish) and I have formed my own opinions, which I think are quite well informed, if you'd like to share yours, feel free in the comments section.

Darwin Awards

Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honouring the least evolved among us.

A Darwin Award is a tongue-in-cheek honour named after evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin. "Awards" have been given for people who "do a service to Humanity by removing themselves from the Gene pool", i.e., lose the ability to reproduce.
It is for people who kill, or in rare cases, sterilize themselves accidentally by attempting to do stupid feats. As described in the Darwin Award books: The Awards honour people who ensure the long-term survival of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion.

Here is the glorious winner:

1. When his 38-calibre revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach , California , would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And now, the honourable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a
little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shovelled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in
Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20
mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free
ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an
oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change.
When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the
counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer.... $15.
[If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window.
The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas.
The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran.
The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her.
That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti Michigan, at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle
street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying
to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with your friends and family...
unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long-lost friend. In that case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost.

*** Remember... They walk among us!!! ***
[absolutely no surprise that the majority of these retards are/were American!!]

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


There aren't many forms of music these days as passionate and powerful as this.
Check out Paco de Lucia and Camarón de la Isla for starters, and if those sparks don't ignite you then you need a new heart and soul....and who can ignore those wonderful dancers!!


Quotation a man's life, there are two important dates : his birth and his death. Everything we do in between is not very important.
-Jacques Brel

A new angle

Occasionally...just occasionally I think to myself I ought to be a bit more broad in my postings. I've had a few blogs in my time, My "Don't Vote for Bush" one was the last one I spent any real time on...see where that got me???
Ok! so I'm gonna start to add in a few other bits and pieces as and when the urge is there. Not gonna be a constant blogger updating daily but I'll post now and then as and when I see fit or have the energy or am just plain bored. Today I'm the latter.