Friday, November 30, 2007

Punk's Not Dead: Just Middle-Aged

And a lot of them are skinheads these days, though not by choice.

The Monkey Speaks His Mind

"I always believed right from when I was on the dole that there was a god. And now, that belief is deeper because I've got so many blessings in this life that I can't count them."

"I've had so many, I'm scared that if I get reincarnated I'll end up pulling a plough in Chile for 14 hours a day or something, just to pay my dues."

" . . . as a family man, he's also really looking forward to Christmas.

What's he planning? "My wish list is just to have a happy day with the kids. I'm getting in all the batteries that I need."

"James Brown died last year and it really took the shine right off my Christmas dinner."

"I'm just hoping Mohammed Ali hangs in there this year 'cos I don't want my Christmas dinner ruined again."

At least he's looking well. Must be all that fruit.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cooking the Books

From The Alty website

IC Cheshire reports that "Cash-strapped Northwich Vics were left reeling after their head chef scarpered with £8,000 in takings from a fundraising dinner. Paul Johnstone vanished on Saturday night after one of the club’s biggest fundraising events of the year. The theft was discovered the following morning. Chairman Mike Connett is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to the crooked cook’s prosecution. Mr Connett said:'It’s a substantial amount, but it’s not about the money – I don’t like a thief. A lot of people have trusted him and this is for them'. Police believe Johnstone, who also goes by the name Paul Kempthorn, lied about his identity from the day he was taken on in March. After the investigation was launched officers discovered Johnstone had never lived at the address he had given when he took the job. He claimed to be 27, but also gave a date of birth in 1973. Det Sgt Simon Newell, of Northwich Specialist Investigation Unit, said: 'We think he’s given false details from the outset. He’s gained the trust of the staff there and he had the keys to the safe. We are satisfied an offence has taken place and that this person is responsible. But we need to identify who he is'". Police are reportedly searching for a man wearing a tall white hat and an apron.


In a rare moment of ecumenical concord, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and Little Mohammed meet to condemn the anthropomorphizing and giving of silly names to any and all fantasy creatures.

Last Night's Footie

The best result of the lot.

And to Prove I'm Not a Flasher, I'm Going to Show You All My Knob

Thanks to Will for this one:

A man convicted of being a serial flasher told a court he could not be guilty as his genitals were too small.

Michael Carney, 41, claimed he was too embarrassed about the size of his manhood to expose himself to women and showed the court photographs as proof.

Genius. It reminds me of the case of the guy in Germany who was arrested for mooning Helmut Kohl and who asked the judge to arrange an identification parade to see if Kohl could positively identify his arse.

Why pass up a perfectly good opportunity?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Surely Not THAT Jim Reid

From the Letters page of the November issue of The American Spectator:

To represent your magazine as advocating conservatism is an insult to conservatives. You regularly feature Ben Stein, who is more socialist than capitalist. Watch the O'Reilly Show for confirmation.

I subscribed to your magazine almost from the beginning, when it was in large format. I contributed to your education fund. This has become an embarrassment for me.

When conservatism needs leadership all you can do is feature a character of a human being whose claim to fame was that he appeared in some crappy movie about Ferris Bueller. You might as well hire Krugman to comment on your economic beliefs.

I feel much better now that I have gotten this off my chest.

San Diego, California

Crazy, So-Ultraleft-It's-Right, Heavily-Dependent-on-Publishing-Arm, Faux-Marxist Organization Goes Into Freefall

Nope, it's neither the SWP or the RCP, but the movement led by Lyndon LaRouche, who once famously identified Queen Elizabeth II as the head of an international drug smuggling cartel. Read all about it in this article by Avi Klein in the latest issue of Washington Monthly.

The Thinking Man's Kylie

Or should that be "Kiley"

At least Jenny Lewis writes her own songs and plays the guitar and keyboards.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How Embarrassing

We've waited all this time before bringing you the glory that is the Trashcan Sinatras.

(Indie) Memory Lane

A poster named provokatie has uploaded videos to all the tracks on the Gimme Shelter compilation here.

Includes Weddoes, That Petrol Emotion, The Membranes, Pigbros, JMC, and the wonderful Television Personalities.

Fill yer boots.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Wedding Present - I'm From Further North Than You

Playing Dublin tonight. Get there if you can.

The Man's No Fool

He's clearly got much better things to be doing.

The Real Talent in This Family

If you go through back issues of Match of the Day magazine, in one of them you'll find a three-page profile of Niall Quinn that includes a photograph of a small sculpture of his first racehorse. It was bought for him as a birthday present by his wife, and it was made by my ridiculously gifted father, who, upon retirement from a life-time in diecasting, decided to put his skills to more creative use and converted his garage into a foundry-cum-studio where he began molding and casting statues/sculptures of horses. This dexterity may or may not have been passed down to Mart and me, but we don't in any case have the necessary knowledge to find out (all our talent seems to be in our feet). However, another of our number has been able to parlay his artistic talents into a job, designing and painting frescoes in schools around the West Midlands. I present for your delectation just a couple of his recent works, guaranteed to excite and scare kids and any 19th-century Parisian cinema-goers.

Beauty Fascism

I'm talking about L'Oreal, of course, "hotbed of former Nazi sympathizers" according to Michael Bar-Zohar in his book, an accusation lent further credibility by Monica Waitzfelder in her book L'Oreal Took My Home, in which she recounts how L'Oreal's German operation bought her family home, which had been looted and stolen by the Nazis, and refuses to pay any compensation.

There are some blemishes even makeup can't hide.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Dangers of Typing with One Hand

I was going to google GOLF but typed in GILF by mistake.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hearth and Sole

I thought Half Man Half Biscuit were taking the piss when they wrote "Joy Division Oven Gloves." Seems not.

Now I read, thanks to Will, that you can get matching trainers too.

Ian Curtis will be gyrating in his grave.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cheshire Life

On Friday I took advantage of a spare ticket to see The Family Mahone play at Northwich Folk Club in a 96-seat theatre hidden away on an estate not far from the town centre. As hilarious as Mark Radcliffe and his band were, nothing could beat the embarrassingly painful poetry of one of the support acts, two typical Guardian-reading folk beardies who went under the amusing-to-them name of Daphne. Whilst one of them played an impressive array of instruments including an Asian squeezebox and Galician bagpipes, the other read out some of the direst and unintentionally funny lyrics I'd ever heard. Their first song was a tribute to the singer's dog, Tess, which you'd give a 12-year-old two weeks' detention for writing, but the highlight was a poem set to music called "Heavy Head" that went something like

"It's 1587, the sun's spring rays bounce off the mayflies' wings as they dart across the open fields and the bees shuffle in their daily toil from flower to fragrant flower. Mary kneels at the axeman's block."

He then goes on to describe Mary's execution in graphic detail and talks about how to weigh your head by displacing water, (obviously bollocks because of the different density) whilst intoning "Heavy Head, Heavy Head" at the end of each verse in a poor impression of Ivor Cutler. Absolutely priceless. Even overshadowed the stray dog that kept walking on stage during The Mahones Set. I bet The Pistols wouldn't have made me laugh as much as I did and I saved myself £35 in the process.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kevin Williamson Says It All

Like one or two other anarchs, pseudo-anarchs, crypto-anarchs, and quasi-anarchs in the vicinity, I've been watching the implosion of Respect: The Unity Coalition for the past few weeks (via Splintered Sunrise, Socialist Unity, et al.) with a mixture of amusement, bemusement, contempt, and a surprising (to me) degree of detachment mixed in with, I admit, a little schadenfreude based on 25 years of proximity to, and low-level encounters with, the authoritarian Left. I haven't commented on events at all simply because they aren't worth it: It hasn't yet sunk in with those dinosaurs of the old left that their arguments add up to nothing of any relevance to anyone but themselves. Happily, however, what thoughts I have had on the subject have been nicely expressed by Kevin Williamson of the Scottish Patient, whom I have unforgivably neglected up to this point (despite links to his blog at Darren and Reidski and J.J.'s sites). That neglect is partly rectified, I hope, by his addition to the blog roll in the gently expanding Scottish department.

It's Friday: Let's Boogie!

Jon Langford's Men of Gwent @ Le Pub, Newport

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What Matters to Men

That's the strapline to Best Life magazine, which gives us some indication of just what does matter to men in its Best Advice section.

Articles discuss, among other topics, choosing a gym bag, waking up without an alarm clock, the lack of increased benefits from the more expensive omega-3 supplements, how to get a teenager to go outdoors rather than play video games, clearing the air after a marital argument, strengthening the lower back, and freezing sperm.

No. They're not all by the same bloke.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's About The Bike

" Green!Green!Green!You Imbecile!Green! "

Watching The Go-Between last night I realised that all this time my Thursday night team-mates had in fact been quoting Harold Pinter's marvellous screenplay at me and not passing judgement on my footballing abilities.

Fuhrer for a Day*

In the November issue of Vanity Fair, Rich Cohen describes his experiment of wearing a toothbrush mustache in order to reclaim it from the legacy of Hitler. He explains that

In the years before the First World War, the Toothbrush was taken up by a German folk hero, which is the moment it became a craze. Before that, it had been an elite fashion shared by the dandies and swells of Berlin and Vienna. After that, it was worn by every yokel who dreamed of greatness. I am imagining young Hitler poring over newspapers in search of any mention of Hans Koeppen, a Prussian lieutenant who had become a pop star in the manner of the solo aviator, the illusionist, or the tightrope walker. Here is how he was described in The New York Times: "Lieut. Koeppen is 31 years old and unmarried. Six feet in height, slim and athletic, with a toothbrush mustache characteristic of his class."

His findings are disappointing, however.

I went out. In the street, some people looked at me, but most looked away. A few people said things after I passed. One man gave me a kind of Heil, but it was lackadaisical, and I am fairly certain he was being ironic. (People can be so mean!) Even friends said nothing until I asked, or else acted embarrassed for me. A woman said, "I think you were more handsome without the mustache." I had been worried someone might try to hurt me. I imagined toughs from the Jewish Defense League attacking with throwing stars—Jewish throwing stars! But it turns out, when you shave like Hitler, you follow the same rule you follow with bees: They're more scared of you than you are of them. Because either you really are Hitler, or you're a nut. So people do with little Hitlers what people always do with lunatics in New York, the harmless or dangerous—they ignore, they avert, they move away. If you want to fly coach without being hassled, grow a Toothbrush mustache.

I wore the mustache for about a week.* It preceded me into stores and hung in the air after I exited. It sat on my face as I slept. I was Hitler in my dreams. I went to the Jewish Museum. I went to Zabar's. I went to the Met. I went to the modern wing. I said, "All of this art is decadent." I stood on the corner of 82nd and Fifth. I stared into space. When you stare into space with a Toothbrush mustache, you are glowering. You can't help it. You're looking into crowds. You're looking at the names on the census that end in "-berg" and "-stein" while thinking, How do we get all these Juden onto trains? But in the end, my project, in its broader aims, was a failure. Because no matter how long, or how casually, or how sarcastically I wore the mustache, it still belonged to Hitler. You cannot claim it, or own it, or clean it as a drug lord cleans money. Because it's too dirty. Because it's soaked up too much history. It's his, and, as far as I'm concerned, he can keep it. When you wear the Toothbrush mustache, you are wearing the worst story in the world right under your nose.

* Okay, week. Poetic licence.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is it A Bird ?

Only four stars?

For the man who does this!

Millwall Penalty Fiasco

Did anyone see Match of the Day on Saturday night? I taped it and have watched it several times and am still appalled that the commentators failed to mention that the penalty awarded to Millwall was taken from the Golf Road penalty spot, which I paid 50 quid to sponsor at the start of the season. Do they think I give them my hard-earned cash out of pure philanthropy? What a con!

Anyway, as cup games go, it was no great shakes. Not much atmosphere, though it was respectful of the 300-odd Millwall fans who travelled north to observe 90 minutes silence this remembrance weekend, and not much quality football barring the Alty goal and a few touches from Brkovic. Millwall were never realy under any pressure, but then again, their forwards never looked like scoring against 11 men. Both defences were on top of fairly toothless attacks in an unphysical tie where there was hardly a cynical challenge.

We would have been pleased to get to half-time level because Millwall had failed to capitalise on the strong wind at their backs; if the Lions did have a plan in the first half, it seemed to be "hit low crosses into the near post," but they'd only told the wide men and not the strikers, so it never came to anything.

The debatable sending off was a blow to Alty and, as is usual, we conceded another goal soon after. The 10 men battled hard but like Millwall failed to make the most of the conditions, although it must be said that the stature of our players is not suited to the typical non-league route-one tactic.

Good luck to Millwall in the next round. I'd like to see them give Barrow a good hiding, although Bournemouth will be favourites to progress, and it's a shame the extra 1,000 Alty fans who turned up to bait the away fans from 100 yards won't been seen anywhere near Moss Lane for the rest of the season.

Everybody now: "You ruined our crowd. You ruined our crowd. Fuck off Tesco. You ruined our crowd!"

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bald Patch at 3 o'Clock!

I'd know those moves anywhere.

For Everyone Who's Been Working All Week

New date announced: The New Roscoe, Leeds, February 14, 2008.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bricking It

Don't forget to tune in to Football Focus on Saturday for the FA Cup 1st round previews. It is almost inevitable that the Alty vs Millwall game will be dominated by the news that Robins midfielder Warren Peyton spent the week building some new turnstiles at Moss Lane.

And if that underwhelms then take a leaf out of Tesco's book and panic unnecessarily.

*Update* It's started already. Last night's Granada Reports had an interview with Warren at work on a building site. The questions included "What's the team spirit level at the moment?" "Is there mortar come?" and, ta-da!, "Are you bricking it?"

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

That's Some Good Shit

Jenkem rumours are doing the rounds again:

Florida cops issue shock 'Butthash' warning

Fermented excrement, aka 'Jenkem', menaces schoolkids

Cops from Florida's Collier County have created a bit of a shitstorm stir by declaring that local high school kids are getting high on fermented "fecal matter and urine," known as "Jenkem," or "Butthash. " The memo itself - issued by Lieutenant Al Ganich - is real enough, and a shocking read it makes too.

It explains: "The fecal matter and urine are placed in a bottle or jar and covered most commonly with a balloon. The container is then placed in a sunny area for several hours or days until fermented."

"The contents of the container will separate and release a gas, which is captured in the balloon. Inhaling the gas is said to have a euphoric high similar to ingesting cocaine but with strong hallucinations of times past. Once ingested the onset of the high takes approximately 10 seconds with the most severe hallucinations happening in approximately 20 minutes. Several articles indicate that the subject immediately passes out after ingesting the gas then regains a magical/hallucinogenic state within seconds of regaining consciousness.

"The high has been described by subjects as a feeling of 'being out of it' and talking to dead people. The feeling of being 'out of it' may last for several hours or days. All subjects who used the Jenkem disliked the taste of sewage in their mouth and the fact that the taste continued for several days."

The jury is still out, as far as Snopes is concerned, but whether it's true or not, what a great rumour to start in the first place: "Let's think of something that will have kids the world over sniffing piles of shit."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Another One for the Christmas Stocking

Joe Queenan in the New York Times Book Review says,
The Toothpick . . . is the work of a maddeningly sober pedant who is anything but a crowd pleaser. “It would appear that in America the use of toothpicks has become largely a matter of class,” he writes in a passage that expertly captures his infatuation with the obvious and the insignificant. “Unlike in the late 19th century, when the urbane crutch-and-toothpick brigade proudly chewed its toothpicks on the steps of fine hotels and restaurants, now it is more the rural and less educated who openly chew theirs in the parking lots, if not at the counter itself, of big-box stores and fast-food establishments.”

Where books like Guns, Germs and Steel or Rats, Lice and History examine overlooked trends or inventions and demonstrate the decisive role they have played, The Toothpick is basically a paean to our irrepressible friend, the toothpick. Petroski assumes that once they have overcome their initially blasé attitude, people will be mesmerized by the tale of how an inexpensive oral-particle-removing device came out of nowhere to take the world by storm. He has forgotten the hoary dictum: Never send a toothpick to do a pencil’s job.

It’s possible that The Toothpick is inspired satire, a deliciously subtle send-up of a genre Petroski helped to popularize. A more plausible explanation is that the author was so emboldened by the public’s giddy response to his earlier work that he decided to go for broke. If this is the case, then we, the reading public, bear
the greatest responsibility for this misfortune.

464 pages on the toothpick! I bet this guy REALLY loved detention.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Romance Isn't What It Used to Be

In the September 24 issue of Maclean's, Patricia Treble discusses romance publisher Harlequin's increasing willingness to tackle sexual dysfunction:

For [Harlequin Presents executive editor Tessa Shapcott], the breakthrough sexual dysfunction book was Lucy Monroe's Blackmailed into Marriage. Its entire plot revolved around vaginismus, a condition that causes vaginal muscles to involuntarily contract shut. When the typically alpha-male hero discovered his bride's plight, he morphs into the most understanding husband on the planet, reassuring her that intercourse isn't the only way to sexual pleasure. "I am a 30-year-old man who understands the limits you have laid before me. I will not pressure [you] for what you cannot give . . . If I say we can make love in a way that will leave us both satisfied, you need to believe me." The book is laden not only with explicit depictions of a wide variety of sex acts, but also jaw-dropping clinical-yet-romantic descriptions of the couple engaging in the most common treatment for vaginismus: the insertion of a series of dilators. And, of course, Lia and Damian live happily ever after.

Yes, but are there pictures?

When Christians Fight

Here's a quality open letter in the latest issue of Esquire magazine from Mark Warren to Dinesh D'Souza concerning the latter's new book, What's So Great About Christianity?:

Dear Dinesh,

Poor Jesus.

In reading your latest offering, What's So Great About Christianity (Regnery, $28), I can't help but think of the scene from Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, in which Max von Sydow's character says, "if Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, He'd never stop throwing up."

As a Christian raised in a Christian country in a Christian epoch, I can only say that nothing makes me want to run into the waiting arms of Satan faster than your soul-killing pseudo-academic cant, which you allege to have written on behalf of Christ, which really fills me with pity for Him. Among the many other achievements of your book, you manage to blame the Inquisition on the wily Jews we foolishly always thought were its victims ("the idea that the Inquisition targeted Jews is a fantasy"), you harrumph about "why religion is winning," you embarrass yourself further by postulating on the "spiritual basis for limited government," and you take it upon yourself to pronounce, "This is not a time for Christians to turn the other cheek." You don't say. Since you've now blithely amended one of the central tenets of Christianity, I must object on His behalf.

Yes, Dinesh, you've written another vulgar book. You regard your religion as a rabid fan would regard his football team. And you use God for the most tawdry and temporal of purposes: to make a political argument. How pathetic. If He is indeed under assault as you say, from atheists and others, it is because of, not in spite of, people like you, Dinesh. So here's a tip for you: While you may well need Jesus, He really doesn't need you or your little book. If you never existed, He would be just fine. Furthermore, you don't seem to have the foggiest idea what's so great about Christianity.

In spite of this, by page 136 you accomplish what none of the great human minds has ever been able to: You prove the existence of God. It was supereasy, as it turns out. In all His wisdom, He did not fully reveal Himself to Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas. or Mother Teresa, but He came to you, of all people. And coming as you do from the bald-assertion school of philosophy, you come to know Him in writing that is at once an offense against language, reason, and God. A stunning trifecta:

"It seems at this point that we have established the existence of a creator, but nothing can be known about the nature of that creator. I submit that this is not so . . . . As the universe comprises the totality of nature, containing everything that is natural, Its creator must necessarily be outside nature. As the creator used no natural laws or forces to create the universe, the creator is clearly supernatural . . ."

Yes, clearly. No one working today can leech the beauty, power, mystery, and integrity from the Christian message like you can, Dinesh. I've got news for you, though: Your Dartmouth-term-paper research skills notwithstanding, you can't get to God through reasoning. Especially your reasoning. That's what faith is for. And so what you intend as a pep rally for the God of Moses has the resounding opposite effect. This, it seems, is your great talent and your legacy: You have the creative imagination of a clerk, with just enough juice to arouse the ire and clarify the thinking of reasonable people far and wide. But cut it out, Dinesh. Jesus doesn't need favors like this. Please, I implore you: Stop writing.

Oh, and another thing: After your last book, The Enemy at Home, in which you sided with the Islamofascists and blamed the attacks of 9/11 on the American "cultural left," I challenged you in these pages (January 2007) to fight. I am very easy to reach, Dinesh, but somehow haven't heard from you. The offer still stands. Not a time to turn the other cheek, indeed.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Can't Decide What to Get the Kids for Christmas?

If the books recommended below are too secular, why not buy them a dolly?

A piece of advice: Don't get your kids the "Feeding of the 5,000" playset. They'll only feel cheated. By the look of One2Believe's version of the story, Jesus provided enough food for everyone by making 4,999 people disappear.