drD Dancing
Big n juicy - modern musings mediated - est 2003




drD's essential guide to modern knowledge

Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Image of Iraqi children from msnbc.com
"your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions"
- Joel (2:28)
There's nowt new under the sun is there?
This Old Testament prophecy distils the wisdom of an ancient people.
It looks forward to a day at the end of the world when momentous things will happen.
When you read on through the passage it's hard not to be reminded of recent events, "upon the earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke".
The juxtaposition of prophesy, dreams and visions with the apocalypse is a bit disturbing to say the least but the language of the book of Joel is pretty colourful. Joel must have been an interesting person to be possessed of such a vision and it's hard to think yourself into his mind. The society in which he lived was outwardly very different to our own so his intended meaning may now be obscured. What's really interesting for me, though, is the resonance of the language - like poetry which brings feelings to many different souls. Joel's evocation of the differences between youth and age are interesting too. Psychology tells us that each individual experiences reality differently; Philosophy that truth is relative. Joel's observation that older people see the world differently from the young holds good. We all see it differently from each other.

Young people are a universal symbol of hope. Few can be unmoved when looking into the eyes of a child. We see in our youth the hope of a better tomorrow. When we hear of abused, injured or murdered children it touches something within each of us - truly adult minds understand the tragedy of this. We know what it is to be a child, full of hope and we appreciate how awful it is when hope is destroyed. I'm interested in Joel's distinction between young men and old men. I would have put it the other way round but maybe the translator in distinguishing 'visions' and 'dreams' chose the best english words available. As someone who is somewhere between these two states I wonder if I am more dreamy or visionary? Until fairly recently I was growing more and more pessimistic - I think they call it a midlife crisis.

Yesterday I expanded on my view that we are an adversarial society and that we should try to move beyond this. Thanks to birdman this lead to an interesting discussion and I've thought a lot about the points he made. Maybe being a chaffinch he is pretty focussed on life's essentials but he does seem to escape from survival mode from time to time and indulge in the odd bit of hedonism. It was interesting that my notion of a less confrontation driven world seemed a 'miracle too far' and I agree that the world is unlikely to change at a defined point - it always seems to be a lead-up, crisis and resolution sequence. 'Wham, bam, thank you George'. Most days I find myself at odds with other people in some, often small, way and I have a choice about how I respond. I have found, to my cost, that confrontation, whilst often effective at securing quick reaction causes tension and ultimately resentment. It perpetuates the aggression/action cycle. As a man brought up to 'be a man' it is almost second nature to me to confront. It's very hard for me not to do it in all sorts of ways. As a young man my vision was to change the world in some way. As I get older maybe my dream is that I will realise that I have and can continue to do that by reducing the confrontation and cycle of aggression. With any luck there will be some fun along the way too.
I'm going to keep on hoping and dreaming.

Meanwhile I have to decide on who to vote for tomorrow...
...talking of which - this just in:
"A bus load of politicians were driving down a country road, when the bus ran off the road and crashed into a tree in an old farmer's field. The old farmer, after seeing what happened, went over to investigate. A few days later, the police went to look for the missing politicians, saw the crashed bus, and asked the farmer where they had all gone. "I buried them all out back." said the farmer, "Were they ALL dead?" asked the police. The farmer replied, "Well, some of them said they weren't, but you know how politicians lie."

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 11:23 AM  

Lets get together on this
Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Yesterday I talked a bit about how I thought adversarialism permeates British life. This morning I received a phone call from someone that I'd done a job for. The work was not to his satisfaction and he began to interrogate me on the phone about the way in which I'd done the job, the reasons for his original problem which had necessitated the job and why he now had to take further action following the job being done. Rather than approach me as someone who had, genuinely, tried to help him out of a difficult situation [ possibly, I suspect, of his own making ]. He obviously felt it would be more effective to cross examine me in an attempt to uncover some 'wrong doing' on my part. The inherent mistrust in this exchange has not enhanced my view of this person and it took me a while to calm down his morning. However this incident does serve nicely to illustrate the points I was making in 'exhibits B & C' on Sunday. Our society is geared up for snap judgements of situations and people. If it can't be summed up in a sound bite it isn't worth taking time over. 'If it's a complicated explanation then they are probably trying to hide something'. The '5 minute' culture phenomenon has been much commented on and linked with the growth of information media. The more information that is pumped out the more the information has to be packaged in bite size nuggets so that people can deal with it. This might seem the only way that the world [ as we are constructing it ] can continue to progress.
I disagree.

The recent war and the lead up to it has reinforced the view that I've been forming for a while. A key thing which makes us human is the ability to deal with abstract thoughts and ideas. The ability not to give in to instinct. The ability to transcend our animalistic impulses to rush to judgement. The ability to get inside the mind of others and see things from their perspective. From this comes the unique ability we have to work collaboratively for the mutual benefit of one another in the furtherance of our desires to improve things. I wonder if it's true that most positive human achievements come when we work together and most negative ones come when we work alone. Why are women so good at working collaboratively and men so bad at it?
Interesting that my last two questions are instinctively oppositional ;)

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 2:25 PM  

Out of order?
Monday, April 28, 2003

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the election of the first female Speaker of the House of Commons. After 700 years a woman was given the job of keeping order in what can, at times, be a volatile debating chamber. Two banks of seats facing each other are occupied by ranks of 'honourable members'. Between them, elevated and somewhat enclosed by her canopied Speakers chair sat Ms Boothroyd. Since the televising of the British Parliament in 1989 international audiences have been able to sample the delights of the way we do politics here (at least the more theatrical aspects anyway). Through her TV appearances Betty Boothroyd became a familiar on-screen presence to millions and she is still missed for the verve she brought to the role. What I always found amusing was that her acerbity fitted well with the rumbustious nature of the setting. Betty was very effective at putting members in their place. Her famous reposte to the MP who enquired as as to how she would like to be addressed, "Call me Madam", typified the style. Interesting too would be the expressions on the faces of MPs who had been Betty'd - like little boys with smacked botties. My point is that Betty, as a pioneering female figure in British politics occupied a role not unlike a matriarch in a large family. A wise word here, a stern rebuke there; all the while set on a course with an eye for the propriety of proceedings and the dignity of the office. Essentially though the role of Speaker did not change. Time travelling MPs from the nineteenth century would not be unduly shocked were they to beam in and see the present speaker, (a man), in action. The traditions and proceedings of the Commons are largely derived from a bygone age and none more so than it's adversarial nature. Betty Boothroyd's election was no revolution. The role of women in British politics is still a reactive one defined by centuries of male modes of operation. Adversarialism permeates British life and over the next few days I want to think a bit more about this.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:17 PM  

"Call me madam"
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Exhibit A

Exhibit B
"The Tories are committed to 20 per cent cuts in public services across the board. No amount of shoddy calculation by the Tories can hide this fact"

Exhibit C

bored already?
another way?
more tomorrow...

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:23 PM  

True or False?
Saturday, April 26, 2003
Thought I would have a little fun.
The following ten statements are either true or false.
You decide.

1. I have a dog.
2. I am currently outside the UK.
3. I have no hair on my head.
4. I own 10 telephones.
5. I used to live in Dublin.
6. I am Australian by birth.
7. I occasionally appear on television.
8. One of my middle names is Finbarr.
9. I can speak three languages.
10. I play the trumpet.

"Hey I don't think you should make fun of them just because their wedding is different. Maybe he's a pimp or something, plus it's highly original which contrasts with 99% of all other "cookie cutter" weddings" indeed

One for the ladeeez - give yo man the shockofhislife baaad

I won't be coming into work today..."I have a TV, a vibrator, and a pizza delivery. Why should I leave home."
Master Of The House

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:13 PM  

Have I got a load of old bollocks for you
Friday, April 25, 2003
Apologies for the title but I wanted to pull no punches.
I'm not donating my gonads to the blogosphere; rather taking a moment to reflect on the state of our satire.
So the new series started tonight. The first since Angus was finally forced to 'retire'.
Same old set with the vertical blinds...and some new stuck-on old newspaper clips.
Host this week was Martin Clunes - looking flabby, waxy and old - is he unwell I wonder?
Guests were Ruby - [ yay! ] and Glenda Jackson. Paul Merton, sans beard, wearing his usual sartoriallly challenged ensemble. Is this the same 'Mr Respectable' we saw recently interviewed by Parkinson? Then he appeared grumpy, and a little ill-at-ease. Amazing what a shave does for your temperament. The show tonight held no surprises. Tired re-run of the Millionaire scandal - Merton milked it as much as he could in his usual stream-of-consciousness style. Given his strangely self conscious persona on Parkinson it was difficult not to now think this was very well rehearsed.
Strangest fact revealed: 300 tons of kebabs are eaten nationally each year. [ and yes they did crack the throwing up gag ]
A picture of Saddam eating an al fresco kebab with a blond woman brought a nice crack about Argos garden furniture and inevitably lead to a mention of Captain Colon - the latest weapon in the war against colorectal cancer.
The obligatory Catherine Zeta Jones & Michael Douglas age-gap jibe - bitched to within an inch of it's life by Graham Norton - passed by and got the obligatory cheap laugh.
Tariq Aziz is a Roman Catholic and used to be called Michael - now this was news, at least to me. The demise of the Innovations catalogue was poorly done. No clear door coolers no nasal hair trimmers - nothing. Mr Clunes was given a shot at sexist type reversion when commenting on the recently published parallel parking formula - written by an unwitting female. All then rounded off with a piss poor caption bit at the end. Nobody had thought to brief the guests about what they had to do. Merton and Hislop muddled through. Clunes just grinned inanely and guffawed. Audience dutifully erupted as the producer switched on the in-seat electrodes.
Roll titles.
[ Heads for the bog ]

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:59 PM  

Things That Are Difficult to Say When You're Drunk:
Indubitably; Innovative; Preliminary; Proliferation; Cinnamon.
Things That Are VERY Difficult to Say When You're Drunk:
Specificity; Cogito ergo sum; British; Constitution;
Passive-aggressive disorder; Loquacious; Transubstantiate.
Things That Are Downright IMPOSSIBLE to Say When You're Drunk:
Thanks, but I don't want to have sex; Nope, no more booze for me; Sorry, but you're not really my type; Good evening, officer, isn't it lovely out tonight? Oh, I just couldn't - no one wants to hear me sing...
credit: Jezza

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 7:45 AM  

Stroik a loit myte
Thursday, April 24, 2003

I give in.
If I'm very good do you promise me that I don't have to do that again for a very long time?
It's true - I used to enjoy it - in a slightly perverse way - even look forward to it. The times when it was good were very very good. It always felt so liberating - especially after a long day at work and it always used to be quick and that's how I like it best. Granted, there was the time the Police caught us and that was pretty scary at 1am in the middle of nowhere - but it's all part of the adventure eh? Today I thought it would be like old times - how wrong I was.
So hot, so sweaty and it just went on and on - I never thought it would end. And now I'm back I'm fit for nowt - completely knackered.
So please - don't ask me to drive through London again for at least another 5 years.

FAQs from the Australian Tourist Board

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: Actually, we import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 90 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: Anywhere where significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilisation of vegan hunter gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them, although you personally should be safe enough. If you are still worried you can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Tecwen watch - Results 1 - 10 of about 1,430. Search took 0.20 seconds

The sequel: Cor blimey guvnor - I'm orf to jolly old London

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:59 AM  

Could changing your name change your life?
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
"how human individuality is created through the relationship of mathematics, date of birth, language, name, and mind."

This is interesting. Personality and life characteristics on the basis of your name. Having checked out myself and a few people I know well there seems to be quite a good 'hit rate' in that the traits described appear to match the names concerned - even when two or more people share the same name. The 'health' bits don't seem very accurate at all though and there is a worrying similarity between certain names which tends to suggest a clever database at work here.

Purely in the interests of research, you understand, I decided to submit a few unusual names for consideration:

"The first name of Plank creates an intense personal nature. Your feelings and emotional desires are strong and consequently you are an individual, determined, strong-willed person." [ not at all wooden then ]

"Your name of Todger gives you the desire to understand and help others with their problems...you prefer to avoid strenuous work of a manual nature...where you are engaged in mental rather than physical activity..." surprsingly, given this, it's claimed, "The health weaknesses created by this name affect the fluid functions."

"Flobalob - Sorry, but your name is not yet part of our database. Would you like to Add Your Name?" [ surely Weeeeed would have summat to say about this...?]

"Your first name of Weed creates individuality, independence, self-confidence...Your circle of friends is restricted to those of like nature" [er - that'd be flowerpot type people then? ]

"Dill...Because of your sensitive nervous system, over-stress and extreme tiredness could cause nervous disorders, seizures or dizziness" [uncanny]

In honour of my top five from yesterday I undertook the following searches on your behalf dear friends....

"The name of Zed brings opportunities for success...With this name, success to you is a foregone conclusion... as you have self-sufficiency, supreme confidence, boundless energy, and enthusiasm"

" The name of Cleophas has given you an appreciation for many beautiful and refined aspects of life--music and art, literature, drama...you are very inspired, desiring to be with people and to entertain others as the "life of the party,"

"The name of Witch makes you very idealistic, sensitive, and inspirational. You are generous and people are drawn to you because of your friendly and sympathetic nature"

Sadly 'Tealeaf' has not yet made it into the system but...
"Your name of Blue has made you practical, systematic, and thorough...You are mathematically adept and have great patience with work of a detailed nature such as bookkeeping, accounting, or technical research."
good news then for Simon and a bonus for Witchy too!

"As Geezer, you have a natural interest in the welfare of your fellow man...You enjoy making others happy and you never let your own problems "get you down"

All which goes to show what thoroughly nice folks I regularly read.

Of the four 'four letter' words I tried one actually has a listing - suggesting that either the Kabalarians have a limited knowledge of Anglo Saxon or some 'fortunate' individual in the world actually has a first name the same as the subject of monologue 14 in this, now famous, production. This persons name, it's claimed, "has given you a desire for self-expression and for positions that allow contact with people" [ right ]. I won't go into detail about he dietary information - no, really I won't.

Jezza's Joke of the day
A man walked into a pet shop and said to the owner: "I'd like to buy a wasp please".
The pet shop owner looked at him quizzically and said: "We don't sell wasps".
The man replied: "Well you've got one in your window."
I thankyew

Tecwen - Results 1 - 10 of about 1,210. Search took 0.18 seconds

the out of print author with Unknown Binding
the pussy
the mentalist
the church
the Manager of Quality
the tractor

Cor blimey guvnor - I'm orf to jolly old London
NOT - a slight change of plan forced me to remain at home trapped in my sunny garden relaxing. sob

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:16 AM  

Monday, April 21, 2003
Lurk ye no longer
I know you're out there. One Thousand hits since February tell me you are.
So dear reader I attempt now to speak in your own language:

'Greetings' if you have arrived here from the United States.
'Yatasay' tho if you are Apache.
'Hello' if you are Canadian or maybe that should be 'Bonjour' and 'Oki' if you are Albertan blackfoot. 'TŠnisi' if you are Cree.
'G'day' to my Aussie mates and 'Wai palya' if you are a native Australian.
'Hallo' to you South Africans.
'Konnichi wa' if you join me from Japan.
'God dśg' should you be of the Anglo Saxon persuasion.
'Ahlan' to my Arabic speaking guests.
'Hola' to my Spanish amigos and
'Kaixo' should you be from the Basque region
'Aadaab' to the Bengali speakers.
'Ho yat' if you speak Cantonese.
'Zdravstvuite' if you clicked in from Russia
'Salaam' if you are a Farsi speaker.
'Durdathawhy' if you are Cornish. [ I love your ice cream! ]
'Hej' to those of a Danish persuasion.
'Goedendag' if you are from the Netherlands.
'Liti' should you happen to be an ancient Egyptian.
'Tervist' to all you Estonians.
'Guten Tag' to my German speaking friends.
'Aloha mai' if you surfed on in from Hawaii.
'Shalom' to the Hebraic community.
'Tuaj los' to the Hmong Laotian and 'Sabaai-dii' to the Lao.
'Komiū Ģiū sśl' to all you Icelanders.
'Dia dhuit' and 'Mine's a Guinness'.
'Rozhbash' should you be a Kurd.
'Sveiki gyvi' to the Lithuanian.
'Tena koe' if you are Maori.
'Sain baina uu'' to my Mongolian readers.
'God dag' to the Swedish chefs and Finnish friends out there.
'Malo e lelei' to the Tongan.
and 'Abusheni' to the Tsongan.
'Merhaba' to any Turks.
'Adaab' if you speak Urdu.
'BondjoŻ' to the Waloon speakers or 'Hallo' if you prefer Flemish.
'Sanibonani' to my Zulu friends.

If you've Googled your way here welcome, stay awhile - enjoy.
If you're a regular - welcome back I'm very glad you find summat to your liking.

My top five referrers
1 - Zed over at My Boyfriend is a Twat
2 - Cleophas at Freshnjuicy
3 - the Bluest of Witches
4 - the Bluest of Tealeaves
5 - the Geezer

I thankyew all muchly

Now for gawds sake write some bleedin comments will ya? ;)

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 11:01 PM  

And it came to pass

And lo he did goeth around to Mogadonmart in times past and he did seeketh bread.
For bread be needed for the nourishment of the soul but also of the body.
And he fancieth also a nice sandwich made with that tasty extra mature cheddar
And he did speaketh to she who is timid of heart but dextrous of hand with the dough, known as 'Nancy'
"I have come to seek the stuff of life - have you got one of those nice Baguettes?"
And the woman, Nancy, her heart full and her spirit emboldened by the doubletime, summoned her strength and spake in full voice from the top of aisle 2 , "No they sold out two hours ago - it's a Bbbbank Hhhholiday".
And his spirit was saddened and went from that place...and the words of the LORD were in his heart,
"For man does not live by bread alone" - and especially not on a Bank Holiday...
to aisle 1 and eyed the pre-packed granary baps with lust and longing in his heart.

Sunset strip baby
"Arise Sir Diamond of Geezer"

Salty update - it's official - he's legal:
"We have decided to issue you with a fishing permit for the season. This will allow you to fish in Loch Lomond and the River Leven. It will also allow you to fish in the River Fruin and the River Endrick."

She's back!
Spotted on one o'clock news reporting from Southern Iraq.
What can this mean?

"not a sound - you coulda heard a rat pissin on cotton" - Baadasssss Cinema

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:23 AM  

Go Salty go boy!
Sunday, April 20, 2003

"At his age, most seals are preoccupied with food and sex.
'He is getting plenty of the first but not enough of the other'..."

Wot no parent?
Out for a walk earlier by the river.
I spot a group of little kids no more than 6 years old each of em.
They are climbing on and running along a flood wall which is 6 feet above the pavement on one side and 40 feet above the river on the other side.
I look around for a parent or other adult to reassure myself that there is someone around responsible for them.
There is not. What did I do next? What would you do next?

Heard a lot lately
and you've been so busy lately
that you haven't found the time
to open up your mind
and watch the world spinning
gently out of time


freshly squeezed for you by drD at 5:25 PM  

New beginnings
Saturday, April 19, 2003

The timing of Easter, like Christmas was a canny choice by the first Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. From the same guys that brought us the Nicene Creed we get a date that coincides nicely with the start of spring. [ The northern hemisphere bias of course gives away the fact that they didn't do backpacking in those days ] The symbolism of new life, rebirth resurrection etc is obvious. My recent household decrapping has uncovered lots of stuff I've been holding onto for years. Carefully preserving it, moving it from place to place as I've swapped one home for another over the years. Today I finally got to dealing with some boxes of old letters that dated back to my time as a student. Re-reading some of them brought back all kinds of memories, happy, sad and downright bizarre. Aside from the realisation that I haven't written a proper personal in-deptho letter to anyone for about 5 years - [ thank email and phones for that ] - I was struck by the sheer energy and thought that was going on at that time. Very much a formative period for me. A lot of stuff locked up in those letters and I realised I've been avoiding dealing with them. What struck me more than anything though was that I am now a very different person from what I was then. Tomorrow I'm going to burn the letters and there's more than a little symbolism in that.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 11:31 PM  

The longest week
Friday, April 18, 2003
What a great week this has been. You know you get those weeks where you are a day behind on yourself. You think it's Wednesday but is in fact Tuesday. Well this has been one of those weeks for me. Today is Friday but it feels like Saturday. So tomorrow I get another Saturday - cool.

Um lampin, um lampin, um cole cole lampin
I got loowies boy, um not trampin
I just came from Da-crib ya know
Um on da go-throw ya tank into metro

I've been reciting this to myself all day - I need to up the dose

Robin Cook has won the Beard of Spring award. To me he'll always be yon wee Labour pixie. drD's facial fuzz, unfortunately, has developed an unkempt look after only 8 days growth. What began as looking mean n moody has quickly taken on the look of a dissident Soviet goat. Today it'll be the 180 for me. For you meanwhile there's a topical quiz to try.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:26 AM  

Mine's an S type
Thursday, April 17, 2003

No, this is not an automotive bragblog [ I wish ]
Does your brain have it's own bottomless handbag or does it prefer to carry the bare essentials of life evenly distributed in pockets? An interesting item in todays Guardian 'Life' supplement caught my attention.

Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge [and allegedly a cousin of Ali G ] has come up with the 'empathising-systemising (E-S) theory'. In the interests of greater self understanding [ and procrastination ] I took the two tests and ploughed through 120 questions.

My Empathy Quotient score: 38
This apparently means I have an average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately. I know how to treat people with care and sensitivity. Most women score about 47 and most men about 42.

My Systemizing Quotient score: 47
Thus I have an above average ability for analysing and exploring a system. On average women score about 24 and men score about 30. Most people with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism score between 40-50....ooh er

According to the theory, a person has a particular 'brain type'; female brain, male brain or balanced brain.
Where empathising is stronger than systemising = female brain. (E type)
Where systemising is stronger than empathising = male brain. (S type)
Where systemising and empathising are equally strong = balanced brain. (B type)

The balanced brain would fit on the diagonal in the top right of the graph - this is where both EQ and SQ are equally strong. A key feature of the theory is that your sex cannot tell you which type of brain you have. Not all men have the male brain, and not all women have the female brain. The central claim of this new theory is only that on average, more males than females have a brain of type S, and more females than males have a brain of type E.
So there ya go...
changed my life innit

It's the weekend - let's go to the gaybar! - bring your pussy...

Customer service announcement: Please desist from punishing that primate

When you wish upon a star
Last nights sighting of what I thought was the ISS looks likely to have been a satellite. Think this must have been the first time I've actually seen one go over. How do I know it was a satellite? [ or 'statellite' as Del would say ] Well, I checked the realtime ISS location thingy. This shows you where it is to the nearest minute. I realised that Bignjuicyville is nowhere near Mexico at the time I saw my little silver dot go over so it had to be a statellite. or a UFO. So, next to streetmap to calculate my decimal longitude and lattitude. Then to Jpass to generate a map of all visible satellite tracks. So it was one of 4 possible satelllites. Need to get my timings more precise if I want to know exactly which one. I feel a new hobby coming on...

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:08 AM  

Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Well - that BBC trailer 'perfect day' comes to mind. Spent the day having a major clearout - rediscovering things I'd packed away four years ago - reorganising frighteningly large collection of tools and generally decrapping the whole scene. All the while glorious sunshine - necessitating little trips into the garden for cups of tea. Radio 1, freshly squeezed juicy oh yes. And tonight is the most beautiful night - if you read this before morning get out there and see it. Beautiful beautiful starry sky. Think I just saw the space station go over too. Now methinks a little champoo with dinner. Perfick.

No pain - no gain?
The news today will, no doubt, be full of reports about the appearance in court of the two people accused of murdering schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
If recent events are anything to go by preparations are already well advanced for detailed televisual and print exposes following the trial. Harrowing footage, retelling of the story, reconstructions, computer graphics - you name it - they'll use it. Last night Channel 4 showed a documentary about the man convicted of killing Jill Dando. Like several such shows this one followed the trend of using police interview tapes. [ I use the word 'show' pointedly ] Am I alone in feeling disturbed by this? I remember being shocked a few years ago to see a newspaper front page photograph of a man who had drowned being carried from the riverside.
If something as terrible as these events had affected me or my family how much would my pain be intensified by this process of playing out every last detail of the story again and again for years on end? How justified is it for people to 'work' on stuff like this and what purpose does it serve? No doubt the audience is out there - me included. Like the mobs who turned out for public executions in times past isn't it time we grew up and moved on?

Thanks God :)

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:36 AM  

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Surprising fact of the day: An Iraqi street vendor earns as much as an Iraqi doctor.

It's like...a selection of similes allegedly from actual GCSE essays
emailed to me by BBC newsnight:

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of Family Fortunes.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the centre.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6.36pm travelling at 55mph, the other from Peterborough at 4.19pm at a speed of 35mph.

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

The red brick wall was the colour of a brick-red crayon.

Even in his last years, Grandpa had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother Phil. But, unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a student on 31p-a-pint night.

Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cash point.

The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a bin lorry reversing.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 5:04 PM  

Double trouble?
Monday, April 14, 2003

Saw a film a few days back about James Watson - one of the co-discoverers of DNA structure.
Watson, who has been played by Jeff Goldblum [and looks remarkably like him - it's in the eyes] - has apparently always been a controversial figure.
Now in his seventies, he came across as a fairly childlike character - driven by his curiosity. There was footage of him visiting a Monsanto plant and addressing the staff. One of the lines he used in his speech struck me, [I paraphrase] - "People accuse us of playing God - I say if we don't - who else will?"
This interested me - I'm still working it through in my mind - but I think he meant that genetics is about responsibility. That we have to engage with it rather than trying to shut it out and pretend it's not happening. This year is the 50th anniversary of Watson and Cricks discovery of DNA's structure. Yesterday it was announced that the sequencing of the human genome is now virtually complete. Humanity now posseses a detailed map of the stuff which drives the processes of life. It's been a while since I concerned myself with matters biological. I still have traumatic memories of an A' level rat disection that went horribly wrong...
Anyway a little casual research of my own revealed a fascinating little bacteria called Tropheryma whipplei which employs very sophisticated tactics in doing it's pretty nasty stuff. I' m glad people like the Sanger Institute are doing what they do. A couple of years ago genetically modified food was a hot topic in the UK and now it's hard to find any on the supermarket shelves even if you wanted to - such was the public reaction against it's introduction. I confess to having an inherent mistrust of the motives behind the development of GM crops and foods. Like nuclear technology - the long term effects of which are still being understood - GM has many possible far reaching implications. 'Better err on the side of caution' says drD in his best Volvo driver voice. Watson has a point though - we can't pretend it's not happening - it can't be uninvented.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:38 AM  

Sunday, April 13, 2003
"the faulty hard-disc which masquerades as my mind" - birdman

aww - ickle kitty sleepy poos...

Record number of hits here yesterday.
Very strange.

Democratic dilemna looming in Bignjuicyville.
The Borough Council election is due soon.
There are three candidates. L party, C party and LD party.
Only the C party is sharply focussed on local issues. drD is pained to admit they seem to be talking a lot of sense for a change.
drD is a lifelong L party supporter [kept that well hidden eh? ;) ] but unfortunately L stands for lacklustre in Bignjuicyville. Is it time to buy a Volvo and start reading the Daily Mail or is there hope for me yet?
What am I to do? [Crawls away to examine conscience and have agreeable middle class pub lunch]

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:16 PM  

Saturday, April 12, 2003
Found on the MSNBC site - images of Iraq that say more than I ever could about this situation.

What a cheeky chappy - get your bid in now!

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 11:59 AM  

Friday, April 11, 2003

Tonight on Towards Freedom TV
6.00 The Tony & George Show - The boys enjoy a short break in Ireland
7.00 Treasure Hunt - Microwaves & Wardrobes: How to move large household items rapidly through the streets
8.00 Lessons in democracy: Open University programme about the controversial US presidential election of 2000
8.05 Programme alteration: Antiques Roadshow - Eric Knowles shows how to restore Bronze Statues
9.00 Special Coalition broadcast: We will set you free - Tony Blair and George Bush explain why bombing is good for you
10.00 - 12.00 'Saddam you are a God and we will lay down our lives for you' (R) - Another chance to see this classic show from the past (first shown on Monday)
12.01 Air raid

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:46 AM  

Thursday, April 10, 2003
Bog off: Why don't you realise that we all dislike you muchly
Shadow Chancellor
that'd be right
she was right
'something of the night'

Mogadonmart: Customer service policy explained

Weird climatic goings on:
It's raining here - there are raindrops dripping on my windowsill - suds are clearly visible

Weird news headlines:
"As flash as a rat with a gold tooth" - [John Irvine, ITN News - describing Uday Hussein after a visit to his wrecked shagpad]

Pamela Anderson has donned a lettuce leaf bikini to persuade fat Liverpudlians to become vegetarian. [It's enuff to put a man off his tofu]

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:10 PM  

A new world begins
Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Good riddance - you will not be missed

Mogadonmart: The saga begins

9-4-03: Historic breakthrough in Iraq war - nation glued to TV sets.
9-4-03: drDs TV packs up.

14:52: Baghdad - Large statue pulled down.
15:00: Mogadonmart, Bignjuicyville - 'Things can only get better' musak playing on PA system.

16:08: drD finally locates receipt for TV - purchase date is 10-4-02 - TV is still covered by warranty by 1 day.

8-4-03: drD blogs about art deco stuff and Luton
9-4-03: BBC Home Front repeats prog: 'Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Diarmuid Gavin attempt to restore a 1930s Luton home to it's art deco glory'.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 5:58 PM  

Have you got any two pence pieces mate?
Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Giles Gilbert Scott won the 1924 GPO competition with his classic K6 phone design. Along with the famous London Transport Routemaster buses the boxes are an international icon of Britain. The reality of course is that there aren't many of them left now (boxes and buses alike). Ever since the GPO succumbed to the privatisation fest of the 1980s and transmogrified into British Telecom there has been a steady retreat from high quality civic design. As corporate branding got it's grip the vile blue and yellow British Telecom livery spread, pus-like, thoughout the land. The K6's were replaced by supposedly vandal proof stainless steel shower cubicles or removed entirely. Latterly, sensing the anti-esteem it enjoyed from it's clientele; continually affronted with huge profit anouncements, fat cat management salaries and confusion marketing British Telecom auto-abbreviated to become 'BT'. Two little letters mean so much eh? The smaller your sign the less likely the bullets will hit you...Along with the shrunken name came a new logo, 'the piper' - designed to humanise and soften the image.

Landor, a global branding consultancy defined it thus:
"British Telecomís symbol, created by Wolff Olins in the early Ď90s, was a milestone in the development of the new philosophy of corporate identity....itís clear that the message conveyed by BTís identity was ...focused on the organisationís...human dimensions. BTís piper is a living message carrier or communicator with a very real human purpose. The symbol has ...nobility and a sense of history."
Yeah right. I think the sense of history was lost as soon as profit entered the equation boys.

How strange then that the piper is now ditched in favour of a yet another new logo..."to coincide with the launch internally of a new set of behavioural values". These behavioural values include making every experience "simple and complete". Yeah right. Think of that the next time you sit listening to them valuing your call whilst they pass you from pillar to post and then connect you to Tracy who is completely simple.

Meanwhile I came across a great little site today put together by Rob Grant. Rob has collected together some excellent sound recordings that perfectly evoke the pre BT days when it really was simple. I present a sample for your delectation: [These are .wav files]

"...two records will be played on Sundays. Tonights record will be Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum by Middle of the Road"
Dial a disc was where it was at when I were a lad - this captures perfectly the almost soviet utilitarianism that characterised GPO telecommunications.

"police police police this is a burgle burglar alarm please connect me with the Luton police"
This one has a special resonance for me, a Luton boy by birth [OK OK someone has to be!] I used to live round the corner from the very police station this was calling.

This from the days when non silicon lifeforms inhabited the phonosphere - and jolly well spoken ones at that.

This is now on my mobile. Class.

This for those who think a workout involves treadmills and such. My muscles came from fighting to force 2p's into a spring loaded finger trap while this set my pulse racing. I can almost smell the ammonia now

Finally this may well be what you would hear were to to attempt a call to a certain moustachioed leader at this time.

That's all for now...click here

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 8:24 PM  

A bit of gratuitous typography
Monday, April 07, 2003

Eric Gill

A deeply spiritual man, Eric Gill was a master wood engraver and woodcut printer.
He was a prolific artist working in several media including stone. Gill is perhaps best known for his typeface designs, most famously Gill Sans - upon which the BBC corporate identity is based.

One of my favourites, Gill Sans is a beautiful modernist font. It's purity and balanced design reveals Gill's mastery and understanding of classic letterforms. He was able to render a sans serif face and retain the power and dignity normally associated with Roman letters.

Gill Sans owes much to Edward Johnstons Underground font of 1916 which is still in use today. Gill was taught by Johnston and was drawn into the Arts and Crafts orbit by him. His association with the BBC dates to the early 20th Century - he designed several stone reliefs for Broadcasting House which are still in place. Above the main door of BH [as it's known in the trade] is a statue of Prospero and Ariel. A now legendary story centres around Ariel's assets which Gill is said to have reduced...
The London Underground Headquarters building from 1928 at St Jamesís Park station also carries eight stone reliefs representing main points of the compass. One of these (from the three carved by Gill - who lead the sculptors) - is shown above. [This is a three quarter-size copy made after 1929 by Gill] This work shows a strong Medieval influence. There is a nice piece about the building here including details of retail opportunities!
Like many artists Gill had his own unique view of sexual matters and produced many erotic works which are not as well known as his more mainstream work. The Tate has a good collection - some of which can be seen online. I think of Eric Gill as the quintessentially English creative - all straight laced understatement on the surface with a subversive underbelly that occasionally comes into view. Paul Smith does a lot of this today.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:58 PM  

war sex n drugs
Sunday, April 06, 2003
It's Jingo Bingo!
No. 6 - Tom's Tricks
No. 62 - Turn on the Screw
No. 71 - Bang on the Drum
No. 75 - Strive & Strive

when lego gets nasty - be afraid [ta 2 z]

This I loved:
"George W Bush hasn't touched a drop since 1986...Tony Blair is hardly one of life's born carousers...between them they've concocted a foreign policy that Kennedy, Churchill, Yeltsin, Reagan or Eden...couldn't possibly have contemplated without first lunching on magic mushrooms washed down with methadone, with big crack pies for dessert."
[Review from Guardian - The Guide 5/4/03 Andrew Mueller - 'Altered Statesmen']

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:46 AM  

mmm choccy
Saturday, April 05, 2003

Purely in the interests of research, you understand, I've been sampling a classic choccy bar.
And what better choice? 89 years after it's invention, the Juicy Frys Turkish delight is, these days, made by Cadbury.
Like Wrigley with chewing gum, Kellogg's with cornflakes and Heinz with soup - Cadbury is one of those brands that is synonomous with it's product. [At least in Britain anyway..] Most people in Britain, when they go to buy chocolate, are likely to consider at least one of the many bars that Cadburys now makes. Surprisingly Cadburys produces over 250 seperate product lines and these include several classic brands that over the years have been absorbed into the empire. The chances are if you buy sweets from your local shop they will have been made in a Cadbury factory. Buttons and Bournville may be well known Cadbury classics but who would suspect that Bertie Basset is too? Trebor which has been mucked about with no end [Bassets Refreshers - who ever heard of such a thing!] is anudder. Where they haven't been completely obliterated or subverted into something different entirely these great classic brands are hollow remnants of their original selves. This is sadly the case with Frys. Founded in the mid eighteenth century in Bristol by Dr Joseph Fry and therefore arguably the oldest chocolate firm in the world J.S. Fry & Sons are responsible for the invention of Frys chocolate cream in 1853 - it is the oldest brand in the present Cadbury range. Todays Turkish Delight is a sad affair. Emblazoned with it's tacky 92% fat free banner and sealed inside a nasty plastic wrapper it emerges pathetically, a credit card sized two bite and then it's gone. Where is the crisp foiled paper wrapper, enticing you to open it like a jewelled present? The smell of the perfumed delight you could enjoy even before opening. And then the thick, brittle chocolate cracking satisfyingly as you lunged into the juicy rosy jelly. Dr Fry, I fear, may be revolving slowly down below as he sees what has become of this once great brand. If the Post Office Tower is to be listed then it's time we began to protect these iconic products too. The aussies aren't allowed to call their sparkling wine 'champagne' even though it is better and cheaper than the 'real thing'. Likewise a brand with such a great pedigree as Frys should not be allowed to wither away through neglect and cheapo multinational values. I hereby propose a Commission for Brand Heritage. Future generations shall know what it is to be full of eastern promise even if it is made in Bristol.
And don't even get me started on walnut whips...

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:58 PM  

Friday, April 04, 2003
Hooray the sun is out - it's time for some Big n Juicy photos...
[but it would help if I had a camera now wouldn't it]
Why don't I use that old digicam that's been gathering dust upstairs for two years?
[drat - it's dead - probably lost the will to live in the bleak midwinter]
Better start looking for anudder camera then drD - any excuse for a new toy...
[I know - I'll have a look on the web - order one - I'll have it in a coupla days...]

[ho hum...easy peazy...tap tap...clickety click...]

[umm...right...488000 links...ok...click]
"If you are not sure quite where to start with digital cameras then try our Easy Guide to Understanding Digital Cameras"
[ah yes!....click]
"100/200/300/400/500 Megapixels..Compact Flash Cards..Smart Media Cards..Memory Stick..32MB £50...IBM Microdrive. 340MB £200..SLR £2000+..movie mode...lcd screen...DPOF...resolution modes.."

anyone know anything about digital cameras?......bleat bleat

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:00 AM  

bog off portaloo - we've had enuff of ya
Why don't you just sod off?

So farewell then Dr.
Your bouncing soles
will bounce no more
on Northamptonshire streets
"Made in China"
It says on your soul

"there's a buzz coming from Shania like an electrical charge"
Yes indeedy. I'd call it an ear splitting wine. Like rancid vinegar on an open wound.

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:00 AM  

Thursday, April 03, 2003
Lion Hunt relief, from the palace of Ashurbanipal, Nineveh, 675-640 B.C.
Heard this morning

Regime Change
by Andrew Motion

Advancing down the road from Niniveh
Death paused a while and said 'Now listen here.

You see the names of places roundabout?
They're mine now, and I've turned them inside out.

Take Eden, further south: At dawn today
I ordered up my troops to tear away

Its walls and gates so everyone can see
That gorgeous fruit which dangles from its tree.

You want it, don't you? Go and eat it then,
And lick your lips, and pick the same again.

Take Tigris and Euphrates; once they ran
Through childhood-coloured slats of sand and sun.

Not any more they don't; I've filled them up
With countless different kinds of human crap.

Take Babylon, the palace sprouting flowers
Which sweetened empires in their peaceful hours -

I've found a different way to scent the air:
Already it's a by-word for despair.

Which leaves Baghdad - the star-tipped minarets,
The marble courts and halls, the mirage-heat.

These places, and the ancient things you know,
You won't know soon. I'm working on it now.'

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:19 PM  

It's all getting a bit spooky
Wednesday, April 02, 2003

"The evil Bella Donna turns up in the garden and fairly soon she has most of the Herbs under her scheming spell. She casts a spell turning herself into a harmless little old lady (amazing how you can change your appearance by placing a scarf over your head). Only Parsley and Dill the Dog can save the day provided Dill wakes up from dreaming about bones - Wake up Dill"

She was deadly nightshade a very poisonous herb. She wanted to rule all the herb garden and have the herbs under her control. She often appeared when the sky would go black for a second and she would cast spells.
Gulp...what kind of evil magic can this be?

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:15 PM  

Herby derby doo
Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Which Herb are you? - it's quiztastic!

Click here for something amazing

freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:01 AM  

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