April 29, 2005

Horse 336 - Don't Panic

The Hitchhikers Guide has this to say about movies:

A movie or a motion picture is a series of still pictures flashed onto a screen in rapid sucession designed to fool to observer into seeing motion via the phenomenon of persistance of vision.

This effect for the species known as human beings occurs at the unlikely rate of 16 frames a second, though this figure can be lowered under certain conditions like the consumption of alcohol but this may lead to still objects appear to be moving as well.

Please note that this effect of persistance of vision is species specific. Whereas 16 frames a second works for humans, 22 is the figure for the domesticated cat and 4,866,924,339,777,202,548,963,102,536,787 is the figure for the sludge monsters of Splattican VII - also note that their entire life span is only about a second and entire religions have sprung up whilst a single picture was flashed on a screen.

In general it is difficult to make a movie which is better than the book it attempts to portray, this is mainly due to the fact that text contains so much more vivid imagery and is generally examined for longer periods. Such can be said for the movie of the novel of The Hitchhikers Guide but given the surreal nature of the book, an accurate depiction may be nigh on impossible.

There is one notable exception to this however and this is The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. This one example where the film is better than the book is because the book sucked worse than a class five black hole whereas the film only sucked as bad as a class two black hole - it still labours the point that both sucked immensely.

iFive - 29 Apr

My keyboard decided that it didn't want to play fair this week (at least in part because I stood on it), as such there have been minimal Horses and Promptoria entries.
At number two this week is an interesting track that came from Z-100FM from New York City on free download. It's a mix of Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Wonderwall, Writing To Reach You and Sing For The Moment. It's even better cut than that track by Nickleback which has been floating about.

1. Lyla - Oasis
2. Boulevard of Broken Songs (mix) - Green Day, Oasis, Travis, Eminem
3. (I Got) The Fever - Oasis
4. Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
5. One Step Beyond - Madness

April 28, 2005

Horse 335 - Fiddled With The Roof

I generally don't have a lot of time for manufactured music, especially since most of it is generally people having a whinge or worse, bragging to the world about how much bling they have (whatever bling is).

Imagine my disgust when I heard Gwen Stefani's (formerly of No Doubt) song "Rich Girl". Now apart from the obvious rip of Tevye's lament in Fiddler on the Roof, it's just poor lyrically.
Personally find it distasteful that a millionaire harps on about wishing to be rich as she abuses the English Language once more. For goodness sake the woman already has millions and she sings about wanting more. This song is so awful, that every time I hear it i want to drive nails into my head.

Tevye on the other hand was singing more as a wish. "Oh dear Lord, you must really love poor people - you've made so many of them". Tevye's wish is a what could be if he had an easier life, rather than a mousey half-assed sugar coated sentiment about some love interest.

Tevye's song is a rollicking number that deserves its place as the most famous song in the Broadway musical whereas I doubt that Gwen's little 3 minutes will be heard much beyond May 11 when the record company pulls it from stock.

April 22, 2005

iFive - 22 Apr

My iPod is like it's own little radio station with 2094 songs on regular play (most of the time it's filled with stuff on PodCast). Every Friday I'm going to rip into the statistics to come up with the 5 most played songs for the week. This then are the last 7 days.

1. Chun King Chow Mein Advert - Advert
2. Maori Demands - Billy Connolly
3. Video Killed The Radio Star - The Buggles
4. La La La Lemon - Barenaked Ladies
5. He Wasn't - Avril Lavigne

Horse 334 - St George's Language

Tommorrow is April 23 this is notable for two things. Firstly it's St George's Day (see Horse 99) which celebrates the triumph of a knight over a dragon but also curious is it the birthday of probably the most famous writer in history, William Shakespeare. There are loads of resources on the man and even study guides on his plays and poetry but precious little on his most important contribution to English - the fact that he wrote in it.

This is going to surprise most of you who have difficulties with the language of Shakespeare but the language he used is actually quite modern. You'll note that most of the rules of grammar he uses are pretty well much the same as our own. Also of note is the number of words he used - critical, leapfrog and dwindle are actually all his invention.You probably think I'm quite daft for holding such a view but bear in mind that quite a lot of the cliches you use were first coined by Shakespeare as well. One foul swoop, vanish into thin air and flesh and blood are all Shakespeare's.

In fact I hold the man in such high regard that I'd consider him and one other historical document the sole cause of why Britain became top empire. Shakespeare wrote primarily between 1590 and about 1615. Also written smack-dab in the middle of that was the Bible as Authorised by King James I. For the first time was a version of the Bible that could be read by common folk. This ensured that printing presses became common and between Shakespeare and The Bible, the rise of literacy particularly in Britain rose sharply, caused in part because there was finally a need for people to read and because someone was finally writing in common language.

Shakespeare's English and the used in The Bible are both in all honesty probably quite vulgar in comparison to the language used by the gentry. The Globe theatre actually charged people to watch their stage plays and people would go primarily to be entertained. Also of note was that the reformation of the church was in full swing and one of the things that it had to do in repsonse to that was actually talk to people in their own language - English.

In fact the ability of English to adapt is evident. It stole words from everywhere it went and left behind the romantic typeface behind, one needs only to look around today to see that English has infected just about every corner of the globe. Is it little wonder that rising literacy rates meant that England, which is in reality a rather small island, could record and learn information?

St George's Day may be the triumph of a knight over a mythical dragon, but also it should be a day to celebrate the triumph of the language over the world.

April 20, 2005

Horse 333 - Eurovision 2005

In just under a month we again will see on our television screens the terrible horrors of who's friends with who in Europe masquerading as the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest over the years has produced such talents as Abba and Bucks Fizz and also some downright shockers who have never ever been heard from again.

One of the notable things about Eurovision isn't the songs themselves but the bit at the end where they tally up the votes. Points are awarded on a country by country basis 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 to every country except their own. Controversy ensues every year when as if almost by magic and irrespective of song quality, nations give their friends "douze point" - without fail we'll see Island give Danmark 12 and Allemagne do the same for Pologne. What's even worse isn't so much the countries with the televote (where people ring in or SMS their votes) but those still with the almost iron curtain panel.

I hope that SBS gives us the BBC feed, for more famous than the songs themselves is probably the BBC's finest advocate of European affairs (cough cough) Terry Wogan. We all remember in 2002 when Marija Naumova had the song "I wanna" and we heard Terry singing in the voiceover in the final performance but adding "drink" to the end. Wogan's quips about how rigged the competition is are famous and it's worth just watching the show just to hear his yearly whinge.

For those who want to hear the contest live, it starts at 8pm BST (5am in Sydney) and can be heard via the web on Radio 2 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2 Let's just hope that the UK doesn't suffer the embarassment of 2003 and get "nil point".

Long may Europe be divided and united by music. In my book (and the results of my own televote) the competition gets douze point

April 19, 2005

Horse 332 - Position Vacant

Corporate Executive Vagrant
CBD - Outside Large Financial Institute
$0.001k for a cup of coffee plus super + bonus

Corporate Executive Vagrant is needed for this challenging and fast paced role.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Meet, greet and repulse corporate clients and VIP's
  • Muttering obscenities at low pitch
  • Providing non-existant customer service
  • Smelling of stale urine (training provided)
  • Rendering a space of four metres around you unbearable

Ideal applicants will possess:

  • Previous experience (within Banking and Finance highly advantageous)
  • Eight plastic bags in which to hold all worldly posessions
  • A duffle coat and a woolly hat
  • Spotted handkerchief
  • Inhospitability experience highly regarded
  • Ability to troubleshoot (preferably with handguns)
  • Be able to handle all situations without discretion

This position includes flexible hours and requires someone who has a lack of personal and professional presentation at all times.

If you meet the above criteria and are looking for the next challenge in your vagrancy career, e-mail your resume to neville-no-friends@drinkmetho.com.au today

April 18, 2005

Horse 331 - Curmudgeony¹

Before we start this Horse, let's take a quick quiz.

1. Things were a lot better:
a. 20 years ago
b. 40 years ago
c. Things have never been very good

2. A grande mocha caffe latte is:
a. Delicious
b. Expensive
c. What the hell is a grande mocha caffe latte?

3. The government is:
a. Too big
b. Too slow
c. Out to get me

4. Some children are playing football in the street. As you watch from the window, the ball rolls into your yard. Your best course of action is to:
a. Ignore it
b. Delight in the sweet innocence of children
c. Keep the ball

5. Music today is:
a. Edgy
b. Loud
c. You call that music?

6. Read the following statement: "When I was a kid, you could get a full steak dinner, a slice of pie with ice cream and a cup of coffee for 20 cents. Twenty damn cents. And this was good coffee too; not that crap they serve now." This is:
a. True
b. Odd
c. The smartest thing I've ever read in this lousy website

7. The problem with kids today is:
a. Why are you asking me all these questions?
b. I've had enough of this nonsense
c. Leave me alone

Results below:












If you refused to take this quiz because it's a damn fool waste of time and then wrote a lengthy, self-righteous reply explaining precisely why it was a damn fool waste of time, congratulations: You are officially a curmudgeon!

I think that the world needs more cranks, cynics and curmudgeons. Curmudgeons keep the rest of the cockeyed optimists honest. We call curmudgeons irascible, grouchy, old farty pants, grumpy; even mean. But the world needs curmudgeons. They refuse to see life through the filter of wishful thinking and are outspoken in their devotion to the harsh realities of life. They protect the rest of society who are stumbling about blindly behind rose-colored glasses, from society (who by the way is to blame).

Horse 331 - Curmudgeony²

(Follows from above)

When author Ray Bradbury was 13, he saw W. C. Fields standing on a Hollywood street corner. Excitedly, the boy approached Fields with a sheet of paper for an autograph. Fields signed his name, handed back the paper, and said, "There you are, you little son of a bitch." Fields was something of a twisted patron saint of curmudgeonry. He didn't like children, and he made no pretense otherwise. Like all good curmudgeons, Fields attacked false sentiment because it devalues the real thing.

Curmudgeons are classic outsiders; they instinctively distrust conventional wisdom and challenge authority. They are proudly and aggressively out of touch with pop culture. Curmudgeons don't read "relationship" books, they don't carry mobiles, and they don't use SMS. They don't do pilates, feng shui, or aromatherapy. Curmudgeons never watch "Must See TV" and they know the very term is a contradiction.

Let's fact it. Popular culture has always been moronic. It has to be, by mathematics. I mean, one-half of the population is by definition below average intelligence. The good Lord lets us grow old for a reason: to gain the wisdom to find fault with everything he's made. When I was younger I thought it was me, but now I know it's the world that needs fixing. Dammit, I'm not an angry young man, I'm a curmudgeon and jolly well annoyed by it.

Horse 330 - What's Legal Isn't Just

I am now more firmly convinced than ever that the Islamic system of law is about the most evil and vile thing ever conceived on the face of this planet. Now I don't know if Schapelle Corby has a useful nor legal defence as it seems that she cannot prove who put the 4kg of cannabis in her bag, but the legal system it seems doesn't even wish to consider evidence.

The sentencing commission when it delivers its judgement has stated that the only thing that it is going to take into account will be the facts that if was her bag and that the tags prove that the bags belong to her. I note that no evidence has been taken to prove who handled the luggage from the point it entered Brisbane Airport nor at Denpasar.

The judge has even accused Corby of feigning illness when she collapsed twice. I'm sorry but if you're facing a possible death penalty then you prove to me how much more stress you can possibly place someone under. Adequate medical assistance has also been denied as she was placed into prison because there were too many reporters hanging about.

Justice in this case can not be hoped to be served, not under this system. I also wonder just how much grace is in a system when a person whom it was proved murdered 80+ people in a nightclub got given a 2 years sentence when someone accused of handling drugs (without proof of ownership) can be given death.

Indonesia, as a country I may feel sorry for the your loss due to natural disaster but your legal system is malevolence embodied. There is only one word left to describe it, and that is


April 14, 2005

Horse 329 - C was for Cookie

Something must be wrong in the land of Muppets. First PBS announced that "Sesame Street" would kick off its 35th season this week with a multiyear story arc about healthy habits. No problem there; childhood obesity rates are soaring. Then I learned of changes that turned my "Sesame Street" world upside-down.

My beloved blue, furry monster who sang "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me" is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song "A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food," where Cookie Monster learns there are "anytime" foods and "sometimes" foods.

Has the world gone totally and utterly mad? Here I was thinking that common-sense may have had a hand somewhere but it looks like Political-Correctness has made a knock-out punch in the 9th. My generation grew up with the Cookie Monster and a whole host of other "bad" role models, but I'm not a sugar dependant oompa loompa. We also grew up with Popeye, but he didn't help me like spinach. What about the Coyote, well maybe a bad example because I do happen to hold a deep seated fear about falling off the side of a cliff 60 stories and going splat.

Ratcheting down the Cookie Monster's cravings is like taking away Count Von Count's numbers, like making Oscar be nice or even making Grover get a normal job in a stable working environment. Pepe Le Peu should be up on sexual harassment charges, the Snuffleupagus is obviously a manic depressive and should be given prozac, Bob The Builder rides on the outside of moving machinery and would lose his builder's certificate and Bugs Bunny was cross dresser.

Children aren't stupid. I think they understand that living in a rubbish bin is a bad idea, I also think that without character flaws you can't create comedic counter point. The Cookie Monster has on occasions eaten snow, a taxi, several letters of the alphabet, one one occasion Kermit. When will the madness end?

This post has been brought to you by the letters P & C and by the number 666.

April 12, 2005

Horse 328 - Parking Inspectors

I'd like to personally thank parking inspectors for their ruthless effiency. It's
good to see that council workers are doing more than just sipping cups of tea from tents erected near four month holes in the ground but my quesiton is this:

What can't you lot do something useful? Wouldn't it be good if they chased real criminals? What if they went after drug traffickers, heroin addicts, how about finding a cure for cancer?

I say give all parking inspectors, blue bombers and grey ghosts guns and let them loose on the yoof gangs that we hear so much about. Whatever happens, I bet we'd all win.

Most parking inspectors, bouncers at nightclubs etc are failed police people. This I find really ironic as let's face facts here, you can't be too stupid to be in today's police force.

April 11, 2005

Horse 327 - Happy New Year / April Fools Day...

... look it really is too difficult arguing this any more. I think that the Christian church was right in hijacking all of the Roman and Greek festivals. The following I hope shows why - dates and days are just completely and uttlerly haywire.

What prompted this was this from the Divulge website. Particularly B's comment "5. Where did April Fools Day come from?I have no idea - prawn and his extensive discourse made me laugh though :) - that is why asked the question. And rollos is cool too." Well in true fashion I did some research on the matter and the results are not only stranger than I imagined but almost than I could imagine.

The story Gregorian Calendar is surely one of the most political things in the history of history. April Fool's Day or All Fools Day is yet another one on these historical appendicies.
The commonly accepted origin of April Fool's Day involves changes in the calendar. At one time, the New Year celebration began on March 25 and ended on April 1. However, in 1582, King Charles IX adopted the Gregorian calendar and accepted the beginning of the new year as January 1. Those who refused to acknowledge the new date or simply forgot received foolish gifts and invitations to nonexistent parties. The butt of such a prank was known as a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish."

Pope Gregory suppressed 10 days in the year 1582 and ordained that thereafter the years ending in hundreds should not be leap years unless they were divisible by 400. The year 1600 was a leap year under both systems, but 1700, 1800, and 1900 were leap years only in the unreformed calendar. The reform was accepted, immediately in most Roman Catholic countries, more gradually in Protestant countries, and in the Eastern Church the Julian calendar was retained into the 20th century.

The reform was not accepted in England and the British colonies in America until 1752. By that date the English calendar was 11 days different from that of continental Europe. Quite bizzare that September 3 should be followed by September 14, 1752, to compound this several workers demanded that they be paid 11 days of lost income.

At the time of the October Revolution, Russia was still using the Julian calendar. This was different from the modern calendar in its application of leap years, resulting in it falling behind the seasons by about 1 day every 100 years. Most Western European nations (including the British Empire) had shifted to the modern calendar system by 1760 (predating the American Revolution).

As a result of this difference in calendars, since the dates were set forward to correct for the existing error when the various countries changed systems, it was October 25th in Russia but the same day was November 6th (I think, give or take a day) in London and Paris. The Soviet Union shifted to the modern calendar system during the 1920's.

The last thing that perhaps should be mentioned in all of this is the strange case of Ethiopia. Their calendar whilst still being roughly Gregorian in operation claims that they calculate the year from the actual date of creation. They argue that creation took place in the autumn, which starts in September and ends in December. They also say that when God flooded the earth at the time of Noah, the flood started in the month of May (Ginbot, or the ninth month for Ethiopians) and subsided in September (Meskerem). The earth dried up, heralding new life on earth. Hence two reasons for New Year being in September, right after the Ethiopian rainy season. So in Ethiopia the date is taken to be 7 years and 11 days behind our own. Or today is April 1, 1998.

Should we give them an April Fish? I throw my hands in the air at this point.

April 05, 2005

Horse 326 - State Number Plate Lessons

NSW was once upon a time "The Premier State" - what this really said to the rest of the country was - we know that we are the best state, so there. Nyah nyah nyah.

Victoria was "The Garden State" - which didn't really say much except that Victorians were boring people pottering about with hand trowels.

Queensland was "The Sunshine State" - which offended people from Melbourne who live in perpetual rain.

South Australia was "The Festival State" - which is rather pagan considering that Adelaide is the city of churches.

And that was it... AND THEN...

NSW became "The First State" after the rest of the nation thought it was pompous, then it became "Towards 2000" which really echoed the other two statements. We are the best, we have the Olympics so there. But now post Y2K, cars that have that just look old.

Victoria under the Kennett government suddenly went "On The Move" but given the current Bracks government who've tried to de-Jeff the state, the must have got stuck 'cause now they're "The Place To Be".

Queensland was tired of looking dozey in the sun so they thought real hard and came up with "The Smart State". That just looks like Lister and Cat walking down the road singing "we're smart" as they were "the smart party".

Tasmania became "The Holiday Isle" after they realised that no-one wanted to go there.

NT became "Outback Australia" just so people actually knew where it was.

Tropical North Queensland tried in vain to set up their own country once Pauline "please explain" Hanson did her work in Southern Queensland.

And because WA realised that no-one else could be bothered to drive for 4 days just to get there, they had number plates for any group of more than 50 people.

April 04, 2005

Horse 325 - Yesterday's Tomorrows

A perfect day a perfect night
Tell me all those perfect lies
And lie back on the sofa till it's light
Streets get full up every night
With people buzzing round the lights
And waving at the taxis driving by

Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's todays just fade away
Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's tomorrows never came

The perfect stare of perfect eyes
That kiss you as they tell you lies
And wonder where you're going, where've you been
In towers high with time to fill
Gardens on your window sill
In between the pavement and the sky

Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's todays just fade away
Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's tomorrows never came

The perfect plane across the skies
You never came to say good-bye
But that's OK because you never stay
And when it's time for you to bail
Is that because somehow I've failed
To hold the door and never let you in

Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's todays just fade away
Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's tomorrows never came

Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's todays just fade away
Now tomorrow's here today
And yesterday's todays are still the same

April 03, 2005

Horse 324 - Dueling Geordies At 10 Paces

What did we do when we were bored? Fighting. Get really angry, take it out on the fields of war Queensbury style and have a good old fashioned beat up.

Newcastle pair Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer were sent off in disgrace for fighting during their side's 3-0 home defeat against Aston Villa. Dyer and Bowyer exchanged blows in the middle of the Newcastle half three minutes after Villa had gone 3-0 up.

The pair later appeared alongside manager Graeme Souness to apologise for their conduct, but pointedly did not say sorry to each other. Both will miss the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on 17 April.

During their fracas, the duo were separated by Villa goalscorer Gareth Barry and several of their team-mates, though not before Bowyer's shirt had been ripped. Barry, who scored two penalties to seal Villa's victory, admitted he was stunned to see Bowyer and Dyer brawling on the pitch.

Could someone please tell the Geordies to stop brawling on the pitch and remind them to keep all fights in the terraces where they belong?

April 01, 2005

Horse 323 - Budget of Nostradamus

Today being 1st April is the day that the Federal Government will use as it's last date before the Senate estimates committee for the Budget. If and when it does come I predict one of the following responses from the opposition:

1. It is a budget of missed opportunities.
2. It only serves the big end of town.
3. It doesn't do enough for the poor.
4. They are trying to gut Medicare or Universities or Veteran's Affairs - insert one.
5. It shows they have no vision.
6. It was a lazy bugdet.
7. If a big surplus then :
7a. We must spend money on those who need it. If a small surplus or a deficit then :
7b. Fiscal irresponsibility, need to save for a rainy day

These are my predictions anyway, I shal refer to these at a later date.

The Government will then accuse the Opposition of:

1. Having no policies of their own.
2. Having no vision for the future.
3. Stalling on key issues for cheap political points.
4. Cynically manipulating popular opinion.