| Great truths
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
1. The first drink is always the best.
2. Shit always happens sooner or later.
3. Birds don't sit round worrying - they just get on with it.
4. The music you enjoyed in your youth holds a unique place in your heart.
5. Life is a process.
6. People who drive recklessly don't know the meaning of death.
7. Plants are insect food - thus gardeners help insects to live - gardeners get upset when insects eat plants.
8. Humans are no more important than trees.
9. Everyone farts.
10. Most British people live in boxes made of baked rock and dead plants - we obsess about these boxes a lot.
Thought for the evening
Worried about looking old?
You'll never again look as good as you do now.
[ Botox and major surgery excepted ]
If you've come here looking for 'Tosser Henman' links then - at the risk of repeating myself - this may interest you.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 6:35 PM
Monday, June 28, 2004
Hot news from Mogadonmart:
Just back from a brief excursion to stock up on salted cashews. [ I think I'm deficient in something present in cashews as I have an inexplicable craving for them and I'm not pregnant ] Alec was in front of me at Checkout 0 - he was obviously stocking up on a few essentials himself; Extra Strength Belgian Bottled Lager - [ Chest hair insurance optional ], Three packets of Jaffa Cake Bars - [ they're on special ], various chocolate bars, a nylon hairbrush and a copy of FHM. Looks like he's in for an exciting evening. I don't want to speculate what the hairbrush is for as he's recently shaved his head. Like the rest of him though [ well, I speak only about the publicly visible bits ] there is 3 days growth. Alec is not the best groomed of the Mogadonmart executive.
Personing - [ Note politically correct terminology - I learned this one from a Lesbian Deputy
I approach clutching my foil wrapped medication. The clapped out barcode scanner is not cooperating. Lizzy resorts to manual input of the handy fifty digit code. She gets it wrong and up pops, 'HUGGIES® Pull-Ups Extra Large' on the VDU.
I have a mental picture of Gerbils implementing the barcode classification system at Mogadonmart HQ as Lizzy interrupts with, 'Sorry m'love - I'll just call Alec to sort this out'. I'm getting twitchy - I NEED CASHEWS - a cold sweat breaks out on my forehead - I toy with running for it but Calvin the horizontally chilled out security guard is blocking my path by leaning against the wall of discount Huanyu fridges near the entrance/exit way. Stimulated by Lizzy's frantic intercom action, Alec emerges from The Mirrored Box, brushing Jaffa Cake Bar crumbs from his polyester ensemble. Lizzy is apologetic, 'Sorry Alec m'love - this scanner is knackered'. Alec voids my Huggies and scans my nuts. I pay and leave, ripping open the packet in the carpark to devour their crunchy salty goodness. I can hear Lizzy in the background, her butch voice carrying over the Great Wall of Huanyu, 'Sorry to keep you waiting m'love - me scanner's knackered, have you got a Mogadoncard m'love? Do you want cashback?'
Cash ? - who needs it?
I float off in a cloud of cashewphoria.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 8:55 PM
Sunday, June 27, 2004
Bloody Will Young.
Bloody Sue Barker.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 2:21 PM
Saturday, June 26, 2004
In Tibet, buying animals from the butcher, thereby saving their lives,and setting them free was a common practice. via Anna
Brown Y fronts are big downunder courtesy of Simon
Real men don't wear vests. But Shrublet does.
Real men don't resign . . . we'll see
Prince Charles feels the pain of school teachers - yeah right.
Pigeons can find renaissance frescos
You drive a cream car? Watch out I may crash into you.
Chest hair insurance may be available should you need it.
Not content with your wallet and mind Microsoft now wants your body too. Soul XP anyone?
London has a new landmark
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 8:04 PM
Friday, June 25, 2004
It's architecture week [ but not for much longer you'll be glad to hear if the comment famine is anything to go by ]. On Wednesday I wrote about a pioneering modernist building. Most of us experience architecture of a far more mundane variety every day. In fact you could argue that it is not architecture at all. Britain's housing stock is generally, in my view, appallingly designed.
No matter what era of building you choose - it's the same; poky dark spaces, knicker chillingly draughty / damp or hermetically sealed and dessicating. Weird shaped rooms, poor construction, strange windows, crap insulation - the list goes on. With the exception of the Georgians who knew that light within buildings was actually not to be feared, you might think that we lived in a country awash with bright unrelenting sunlight. Judging by the average size of most domestic windows an alien might think that our country is inhabited by photosensitive midgets. I can understand why windows were small when the window tax prevailed but that was one hundred and fifty years ago - time to move on. Glass is cheap - holes in walls are easy to make - lets get real.
Drive around any British town and you are likely to see some or all of:
crumbling victorian terraces lovingly patched up
crumbling victorian terraces unlovingly divided up into crumbling shoebox
ex council houses lovingly 'enhanced' with the addition of UPVC/Satellite dish/St Georges flag, gnomes, conifers, all of the above + water feature
barely detached execbunkers with overpriced kitchen appliances and vinyl coated interior doors
twee cottages lovingly preserved in faux pseudoruralistic style
'Purpose built' -[ for what? ] flats with cardboard walls and the obligatory bolted on 'period' features [ choose from: pointy things glued to roof / weird tiles glued to outside / ultra pointy roofs / UPVC applique / tudorstylee beamettes glued to something random
'Modern' houses = two 'Purpose built' flats glued together with extra bolt ons [ see list above ]
This is not architecture - it is a crime against humanity.
You could argue that we get what we deserve. That because people are prepared to pay for this stuff - and pay handsomely at current prices - then the situation will not improve.
There are signs that things are changing. Large scale developers are beginning to realise that they may have to start actually providing something of quality if they want to continue selling to more enlightened housebuyers.
Meanwhile this weekend I'll be repointing my crumbling brickwork. sigh
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:29 PM
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Its Architecture Week - and in celebration I've decided to write about one of my favourite buildings. For some reason this building has come to represent for me something fundamental to my beliefs about design and my enthusiasm for modernist ideas.
Since 1982 I held an ambition to visit The Bauhaus in Dessau. At that time, pre - perestroika - Dessau was in communist East Germany and the prospect of a visit was fairly remote. All I knew about the building at that time was from my studies. It's symbolic construction in 1925. The Bauhaus as the seat of a revolution in design, the ripples of which continue to spread across the world to this day. The dissolution of the Bauhaus under the Nazi regime in the 1930s and the spread of it's ideas to the US underpinning the post war boom in American industrial design and architecture. A huge legacy for one building eh? Only this, I realised, was my personal myth of the Bauhaus. The building was a manifestation of the Idea and therefore came to symbolise it for me. My delight in the work of the Bauhaus masters, Kandinsky in particular, was a delight in the freshness and new thinking that the Bauhaus philosophy allowed in the design and production of objects. The unashamed use of modern materials, an embrace of machine methods, beauty in pure forms, a modern reinterpretation of classicism - a reconnection of the spiritual element in man with the mass produced objects that surround us.
In 1999 I finally walked through the doors of The Dessau Bauhaus and up those wide stairs iconically rendered in Schlemmers 1932 painting. It was one of the most thrilling days of my life. For so long anticipated and now finally to be here. It was also disappointing because I realised only then that what had drawn me to this place was a desire to more fully understand the ripples from here that had affected my own perceptions and ideas.
Gropius's building which now looks not unlike every other modern office building was the first - there was nothing else quite like it at the time. It pioneered the use of glass curtain walling, prefabrication, steel framing. The aesthetic was revolutionary: steel framed furniture, colour blocked walls, machine made fittings - everywhere clean unadorned rationality and space.
Tons of space and light - everything for which we now strive in our modern buildings.
The building today although still in use as a Design Institute, is no longer home to what made it famous. My romance with the Bauhaus is a romance with the possibilities it opened up. Beautiful, well designed objects and environments of our time - embracing technology, not fearing it. Celebrating human creativity in our own era - pioneering new approaches. Making the world anew. For me this is what architecture and design is.
Still time to scoop some points on the Architecture Week Quiz - 4 questions left - answer as many as you like!
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:02 AM
Monday, June 21, 2004
Its architecture week and I thought I would share with you the 10 buildings that have had the most impact on my understanding of architecture over the years. They are all buildings that delighted me and confounded my expectations when I visited them. All of them 'broke the mould' in some way, all of them have exquisite detailing and most of them, for me, have some spiritual dimension. In compiling this list I articulated for the first time something I'd only previously had an instinct for. I realised that to have integrity a building has to embody something of what is great about humanity. It has to extend our view of what we can be. That's what I think anyway - how about you?Architecture Week
Sydney Opera House
Glasgow School of Art
Institut du monde arabe
World Trade Center
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:53 PM
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Its architecture week - so time for an architecture quiz.
Max two answers each please - until Wednesday when you can come back and scoop remainders. Points will be awarded. Good luck.
At last, at last - the Points have been updated - [ drD calling ew for chariddee nomination please - I have no email address for u!
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 1:59 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2004
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:20 PM
Thursday, June 17, 2004
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:13 PM
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
I was recently talking to a hospital consultant who in the course of our conversation said, "of course we all start to degenerate from our late twenties". Cheerful news this when you've just started to come to terms with the notion of being 'middle aged' [ how I hate that term - I've always used it in a derogatory so my reward is now to have it applied to me - thanks God ]. This consultant was one of the deadpan breed - I could imagine him using the same facial expression to tell you there's a hideous growth in your nether regions as he would to tell you that despite being middle aged you actually have the body of a twenty year old [ how the twenty year old would feel about this is another branch of medicine entirely ]. Deadpan works fine for me when the news is trivial - I can't be doing with 'care mode' when, even to tell you the results of your eyelashoscopy, they take you into a pink padded room, gaze at you meaningfully and get out the kleenex. However if it's serious then I'd like mega care mode. Maybe a weekend in a country hotel, fine wines, good food - a raucous night in the bar surrounded by friends followed by the friendliest of chats to break the bad news + full psychological back up services to be provided in the days following and complimentary sexual services if required. [ Ok I can dream ]
Anyway, the reality is that mortality begins to make it's presence felt in a stealthy way for most people. With me it was a really minor change in my skin one day that made me think, 'ooh - that wasn't like that the last time I looked' - [ I'd discovered hair growing on the palm of my hand but I'm alright nooowwwwwww ]. Gradually as I've got older more and more things have changed subtly, gradually. You begin to realise that there is this new group of people called young people and you kind of don't belong to them anymore. You think you look like them - because you have this internal concept of how you look which is programmed as 'normal'. Normal = young - because when you start, young is all you know. However your internal concept is increasingly confounded as bits of you start to drop off and change colour.
You also know stuff they don't [ It's called wisdom ] and somehow they look up to you as if you know what you're talking about [ at least they look up to you if you are taller than them and within earshot - otherwise they call you a silly old fart and do things their own way which usually is far more exciting and risky than your
Yesterday I was reading an article about Cancer [ why don't I cheer us all up eh? ]. A startling revelation is that men are almost twice as likely as women to develop one of the 10 most common cancers that affect both sexes. This lead me on to have a look at the Mens Health Forum website which I'd never even heard of before and yet it contains excellent material for men of all ages. One of the reasons I'd perhaps never heard of it before is that I'm not in the habit of dwelling on my health. This I learnt from my Dad and the philosophy is, 'Ignore it and it'll go away - if it doesn't go away then worry about it until you can't handle the worry anymore'. Only then are you able to consider going near a doctor. It seems I'm not the only man to have learnt this - there are a lot of us about and that's why we don't live as long as women. This excellent article explains it better than I can. A major part of the problem is that we are not good at using medical services that are available - another major part is that the medical services that are available are not as man friendly as they are woman and child friendly. Another major part is that, in my experience, doctors - especially male doctors - reinforce the stereotype by their reactions - they willingly conspire with your embarrassment at 'troubling them' because it gets you out of the surgery quicker. [ Thats a lot of major parts I know but this is a medical rant and you are reading BIG and juicy remember ]. Interestingly it's suggested that the decision to seek help is also based upon how the man sees himself against other men and what he thinks other men and women will think of him by taking this action. "It is also dependent on how well the man understands his own body and the accessibility of male-friendly services."
Did you know that this week is Men's Health Week? I didn't - and that says it all really doesn't it?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 5:56 PM
Monday, June 14, 2004
As promised: some swanning.
I was going to update the points, I was going to write a thought provoking post.
The slideshow took me for ever. Come back tomorrow won't ya and I'll bring you more.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 11:15 PM
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Beautiful walk this evening. It was strangely quiet - was there something else going on perchance? Not far from where I live is a large lake and tonight it was swan central. There must have been about 50 of them feeding flapping and swanning around like they do. Extra special moment: I walk down to the waters edge just as the sun was setting. The water was a beautiful powder blue and three swans come swimming in and proceed to perform their preening routine just 1 metre from me. The pure white plumage was reflected perfectly - a shimmering vision of heavenly beauty. Who needs lager and a smoky pub? I've got pictures to post tomorrow.
Enuff with the transits
Fantastic response with 101 comments left = major points all round. Thanks to all participants.
Answers here in case you think you missed any.
I'l update the points tomorrow. Get ready with your charidee nominations prize winners!
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:24 PM
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Does anyone know what to do with about 6 million supermarket carrier bags that are living under my stairs? They've obviously been shagging as I only put 2 under there originally.
Recovery from the feng shui freakiness is ongoing. I decided to relocate Sophia today as she was once again tempestuously refusing to froth. Her new location affords maximum publicity in-kitchen: she now twinkles seductively from beside the cooker and seems far happier. I am already receiving cheques in the post as a result of my new found +karma.
Death to the shrub
Mozza's not talking about gardening. Dare he go back to LA after this?
'twas on the good ship venus
How many transits
can you spot? Points are still available.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:22 PM
Friday, June 11, 2004
Fascinating, fascinating to watch the departure of dear dear Ronnie [ reaches for large onion and sniffs deeply ]. Fascinating to watch the spectacle - I confess to staying up late to see the procession to the Capitol live - like they piled every last symbol of reverence into it. Major over-egging. An overwhelmingly military spectacle, controlled, managed to the nth degree. Grief controlled, managed - ordered up like a pageant for the consumption of the masses. It all felt strangely vacuous from this distance. Different, I'm sure, for the flocking faithful and the millions watching across the US. Couldn't help drawing comparisons with Queeniemummy and the breathy tones of the commentator soothing us into rapture over the death of an overprivileged rich old woman. Couldn't help but draw comparisons with the mass hysteria when Lady Di died. Do we need this now? Do we crave the opportunity to project our deepest longings for goodness, for hope onto the dead body of a fragile person we never knew? A body like ours wrapped up, packaged for greatness in a beautiful flag draped wooden box. Collective grief, shiny polished processions of the wealthy - the projection of ultimate power. This is how we treat our dead. This is how much power we have. We can define what makes you sad - we can define what this person's life was. We can bring to bear every symbol at our disposal to construct a fitting place in history for this image. Because image, folks, is what it's all about. Even in death - the clinging on, the need to project the difference between the Special Ones and the rest of us.
How much it all matters?
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:52 PM
Thursday, June 10, 2004
And it came to pass that all the rabbits got well out of control and did rampage throughout the town - so much so that drD had a right gutfull of em.
So drD did turn his attention to the engine of oogle and did typeth into iteth the wordeth 'hamster'. And he did see thereupon a multitude of hamsters. There was darkness in his heart and he clicketh on the darkest of those creatures - and the evil hamsters were unleash-ed before him, wreaking all kinds of havoc. In the torment of his soul he typeth once more, 'gerbil', whereupon deliverance was found in a sacred place. The most blessed Church of the Gerbil.
"Go forth upon this Earth and spread the holy words of the Sacred Gerbil on Earth.
Go forth and prosper!"
Grab those points while you still can - only 3 days left! Clicky, clicky and find those pesky transits. [ Venus is looking a bit peeky standing around in that shell no? ]
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:36 PM
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
I'm thinking of doing less of something - I don't have enough hours in the day. How do I achieve that effortless celebrity lifestyle I was promised while still managing to clean the toilet and achieve the body I deserve?
Record numbers of BnJ loyalty points are being accumulated.
It's all down to the BnJ Transit of Venus experience that awaits any lucky punter - all you have to do is click here
[ Click for larger image ]
Astonishing video clip of yesterday's astronomical phenomenomenon on the NASA site. Taken by the Sun-observing TRACE spacecraft - it's a short clip but spectacular. [ 4.2mb quicktime ]
I always had a problem with this - it's so other-worldly.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:36 PM
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
OK OK - I know - 'what happened to the Bignjuicy weekly quiz? What happened to 'points mean prizes'? You can call me slack if you must - my excuse is that I've been working my ass off, I had parasitism of the blog - it's all been a bit much.
Anyway, I managed to retain enough of of my ass to put together my own special commemorative experience. Yes, it's more than a quiz - it's an experience - actually it's not even a quiz - more of, well an experience. Why wait two thousand years to see a black blob on the sun - you'll only frazzle your eyeballs in the process - why do you think all those iron age astronomers went blind? self abuse? no, bleedin transit of venus thats what. So, play it safe - I've got plenty transits - twenty transits in fact. All you have to do is find them. Venus has secreted about her person and immediate environs a number of transits. Your task - (providing you can still see straight after this morning's retina searing session) - is to track down as many transits as you can, click on them and leave a comment. Only one comment per transit - every comment wins a point [ I've been saving up for this OK? ]
Click here to launch forth.
Remember: You should never look directly at Michael Howard or you will turn snot green and dessicate slowly.
PS - full and final transitory revelations will be provided on Sunday.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 9:07 PM
Monday, June 07, 2004
..I am, umbled - to receive my second 'I made
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 7:00 AM
Sunday, June 06, 2004
...in the skies over Bignjuicyville this morning - enroute to do a flypast that you might have seen this afternoon.
Sunset is getting later and later I've noticed - glorious to have bright sunshine well into the evening. Half the hang ups in this country would be solved if we had better weather. Saw this picture earlier and it seemed kind of fitting today.
click to open a larger picture
memories.....from the corner of my mind
To my dial-up customers: forgive all the images today - I'm feeling kinda visual
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 10:14 AM
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Someone has worked out what the square root of 3 is. Only they've done it to one million digits.
Not content with that they went on the work out the square root of 2 to ten million digits. Ho hum.
It's Never too late to be the real you.
Even superheroes fart
Q. What must be 3mm thick in the middle, have a 1-2 cm thick crust and have been cooked at 450 degrees centigrade with a diameter not exceeding 35 cm? Be afraid hut dwellers.
There are gnomes and then there are neo-gnomes (29th May)
Zed's got her job back.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:01 AM
Friday, June 04, 2004
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 5:23 PM
Thursday, June 03, 2004
1. Former Archbishop of Canterbury says it's OK for Prince Brian to marry his equine live in lover. Whilst, conveniently, seeking to dim the memory of the Blessed One by suggesting that she had a 'dark side'. He's not been put up to this by any chance has he? - not by a certain large eared one?
2. Talking of large eared ones - TB TV. Earlier tonight TB took over the BBC 9 O'clock news with an extended grinathon. The overriding message appeared to be: "I'm a still a dynamic, caring PM who can snog Vera Duckworth and talk to old ladies all in the same day. Plus I've got lovely teeth and Gordon Brown is horrible". How much would 15 minutes of prime time TV cost? A. c£100k. How much is the salary of the new BBC chairman? A. £81,320. Hmmm.
Less than £1 a
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 11:11 PM
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Q1: What would happen if all of the rabbits in the country decided it would be a good idea to overcome their instinctual fear of humankind and come forth proudly into the open and Eat Grass?
All over the UK there are millions of rabbits cowering in the undergrowth awaiting the moment when they can hop hopefully to the nearest patch of grass and nibble to their heart's content. Either that or they're shagging each other senseless in the bushes. I once read that when in London you are never more than 10 feet from a rat. I reckon that in certain parts of the country the same may well be true of our flopsy friends.
Q2: What ecological purpose do urban adapted rabbits serve?
All over Bignjuicyville - particularly at dusk and in the early morning - large numbers of rabbits can be seen out and about. Grassy traffic roundabouts and roadside verges are a particular favourite it seems. God bless em - they fear not the massive metal traffic jams that snake past them. They happily frolic and nibble as engines roar and carbon monoxide washes over them. The second, though, that anything remotely human shaped appears on the scene and they are off, scattering to the four winds, dissolving back to bunny base - no doubt to shag - until it's time to re-emerge.
I once walked the Cleveland Way - an abiding memory is the almost total lack of fear displayed by the local animalia as I approached. Rabbits, deer, voles, all sorts of birds and probably the local wildebeest just stood and watched as I walked past. The lesson I took from this is that these chaps had not learnt to fear humans - that's what living on a National Trail does for you. Q3: What does it say about us that urban rabbits, foxes, badgers and all the other terrified beasties scuttle off as soon as we approach?
Out walking earlier this evening, I came across some local bunnies - they are always young; guess life expectancy is short - there were getting on for a hundred in just one small stretch of grass around a local supermarket. That is scary. Beware: one day they will lose their fear, unite and bounce forth cutely to confront us, look us straight in the eyes and eat our lawns - [oh and probably shag too]. You've been warned.
David Hockney features in tonight's Newsnight lamenting the curtailment of his freedom to smoke whenever and wherever he chooses. He lives most of the time in LA along with Morrissey, Billy Connolly, George Michael and other 'British' icons. Grrr. Tell you what Davey - you can come and blow smoke out of your ass all over the joint here if we're allowed free stays at your LA mansion with unlimited flatulence opportunities when in proximity to you.
PS - got any spare paintings you don't need guv?
"But the lives of the people close to me are part of my future.
They are the future that will become the present when I am gone."
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 12:46 PM
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
When you do this day after day you sometimes wonder why. When people come and read it you also wonder why. When people come back time and again you wonder why. When they link to you and thereby advertise you to others you begin to think the end of the alphabet will never come. I'm very grateful that these incoherent ramblings find some resonance out there - we can all do with some validation can't we? Lately I've been reflecting that the better part of education is actually nurturing. Transmission of facts may be the quantifiable bit that OFFPIS gets OFFON but what really motivates and transforms people is the fact that another human being takes an interest. When I think of the people in my life who have made a genuine difference to me - invariably these are people who have made me believe that I have the ability to do something worthwhile. My point is that doing this has been an educational process for me. I got hooked early on through the influence of others and then I was off - [ sometimes in more than one sense I'm sad to say ]. Now it's a habit and I'm not sure where it's all going to end. I'm still learning, I'm still hooked and I'm sustained by you reading this. Thanks for coming here today - you've made me feel worthwhile - and that's important to me.
My thanks to The Author for recent linkage - much appreciated.
freshly squeezed for you by drD at 11:58 PM