Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dual-purpose Dick

Apparently today's the third aniversary of Dick Cheney being fitted with a "dual-purpose pacemaker". Dual-purpose how? High-speed setting for sex or the need to flee from an angry mob? Super-low-speed setting so you can hibernate through those depressing winter months? Is there a little switch somewhere, or is it smarter than that? Or does it have two completely different functions? Great marketing ploy. "Not only will it keep you alive, Dick, it's also an MP3 player. And you won't believe the bass you get. Uhuh, straight through the ribcage. Awesome. But don't give the remote control to people who don't like you."

Thursday, June 24, 2004

GCSE Similes - from actual essays

(I thought we could all use some guidance in adding colour and originality to our writing. And thanks to Sooz for sending me this.)

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

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

McMurphy fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a paper bag filled with vegetable soup.

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

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 6:36 p.m. travelling at 55 mph, the other from Peterborough at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

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, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

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

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 chest heaving like a student on 99p-a-pint night.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land
mine or something.

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.

It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Glenda Jackson MP in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Robin Cook MP, Leader of the House of Commons, in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the suspension of Keith Vaz MP.

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 cashpoint.

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

It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.

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

She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.

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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I've been feeling a little weird lately Posted by Hello


I'm going to take a leaf out of Libertybob's book and apologise for both the quality and quantity of the stuff on here recently. I'm busy right now, both doing my day job and trying to get married, which seems very complicated these days. When I was young all you had to do was give your bride's dad a couple of Irish Elk steaks, beat up her brothers, then carry her off and shag in a cave.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

See Ya Later, Alley-gater

I turned on the radio in the car this morning in time to hear a politician using the word "alligator", which is not a word you hear all that often the U.K., and hardly ever in the House of Commons. If you do hear it there's normally a zoo-keeper talking about a small child and something going Tragically Wrong.

Much to my disappointment, she went on to talk about the policy of cutting down on mugging and burglary in poor urban areas by fitting locked gates to the alleys that run behind and between the houses. Apparently ruffians commit crimes and then scamper off between the back yards to make good their escape. The "alley-gates" (and here you see my understandable mistake, particularly with my hearing being a bit dodgy following years of standing too close to over-enthusiastic drummers, it's those fucking ride cymbals I blame) hamper the rapscallions and make capture more likely.

It would of course be more effective and, dare I say it, infinitely more satisfying if there were indeed real alligators in the back yards, ready to bite off and eat the legs of fleeing hooligans, but I'm sure there would be the usual pathetic "concerns over safety". Rubbish. If we have to sacrifice the occasional toddler to ensure that muggers are eaten, or at least well and truly shortened, it's a price worth paying, I’d say.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


At lunchtime today I got into a discussion about doorstepping Christians, I said:

A while back, just before Christmas every year I used to be visited by the same two Jehovah's Witnesses. The conversation always went like this:

Them: "We don't celebrate Christmas. Do you know why?"

Me: "It's because it's actually a pagan festival."

Them: "No! It's because it's actually a pagan festival. Oh. Anyway, that's why we don't celebrate Christmas. Because it's actually a pagan festival."

Me: "I do celebrate Christmas because it's actually a pagan festival. I'm a big fan of giving people presents, eating and drinking far too much, watching crap T.V. and snogging. I'd hate to spoil it with all that Baby Jesus bollocks. Merry Christmas."

Then I used to smile sweetly and close the door. Gently.

That'll do, Ron. Ron.

I've been surprised by the amount of praise Ronald Reagan's received over the last couple of days. Even when he was still in power it was clear that he didn't know what day it was, which perhaps explains why he seemed to get on so well with Thatcher, who moved seamlessly from malevolence to baying at the moon during her period in office. Nobody seemed to mind that the man with control of The Button had to be told "first your socks, then your shoes". I suppose they figured that if he got a little playful the hardware would just whoosh off and land on Communists and brown people.

One of the things Reagan is credited with is that he somehow helped to bring about the collapse of Communism and / or the Soviet Union, which apparently is a Good Thing. I'm not entirely sure how he's supposed to have influenced that chain of events, unless there's some secret link between chin-dribble and the economic aspirations of the Eastern Bloc that I'm unaware of, but apparently Ron was instrumental in helping the peoples of Eastern Europe to achieve their desperately awaited social, economic, political and spiritual destiny. Which was being able to own a colour T.V. and buy cars that weren't made out of waterproofed cardboard. On the downside, of course, they now also have rising unemployment, street violence, street beggars, organised crime, and all the other things we've always had in The West but we somehow neglected to tell them about. They wanted to be like us, and they are. They're like very very poor Americans.

That's their downside in all this, but how does it affect us? Well, we have a large market into which we can sell all the dodgy old crap that we can't get rid of anywhere else except Africa, and we can lend them money at exciting rates of interest. Our downside is that, should our interests ever diverge to the extent that somebody might get killed, instead of one state run by experienced politicians, we'll have to contend with about two dozen little states run by lunatics. And still with nukes.

So on balance I'm not sure about Ron's legacy. And I've never seen it, but I'm told the film with the monkey is really quite bad.

Friday, June 04, 2004

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

No, not Sgt. Pepper, McCartney, you undoubtedly talented but irritatingly smug doe-eyed twat. (Incidentally I've often wondered how such a good bass player could bear to work with Ringo. As the old but splendid gag goes "Let's face it, Ringo wasn't the best drummer in the world. He wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles." Ringo and Charlie Watts. The luckiest men on the planet.)

Anyway, twenty years ago today, "Born in the USA" was released. I use to be a big Springsteen fan, something I now look back on with a sort of dismayed, embarrassed disbelief, the same set of emotions that I have to apply to flares, striped tank-tops, mullets and Mateus Rose. Oh, and silver crushed velvet T-shirts with bell sleeves. I was working in Boston in Lincolnshire at the time, and had a seventy-mile drive (each way) so I got to listen to a lot of tapes. Boston is the home to St. Botoph's church, better known as Boston Stump, which always looks to me as if it really needs bats and lightning to truly set it off. But I digress. I used to hurtle past the tulip fields of Spalding in my Fiat Regatta to the sound of "Blinded By the Light". And we had a goldfish called Bruce.

I don't quite remember how it all fizzled out, but I stopped listening to The Boss. (I have nothing of his on CD.) Last year I watched a documentary on the making of "The Wind", the album Warren Zevon just managed to finish before cancer finished him. There are some celebrity guests on the album (Ry Cooder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty) because everyone knew it would be the last thing Zevon did and they wanted to pay their respects. There's a sequence where everyone's sitting around in the control room. The door opens slowly, and in walks Brucie.

It's difficult to do justice to the expression on Springsteen's face, but it was along the lines of :"I know, I know! You can hardly believe your eyes. Don't worry, you're not crazy. I know you didn't really believe someone of my stature would guest on your album, but here I am! Touch me if you want. Suck my dick. Go on, you know you want to." Something like that.

Brucie then proceeded to prance about with his Telecaster while dubbing onto "Disorder In The House" one of the worst guitar solos I've ever heard.

And I thought "I don't like this man any more. He's a wanker."

So, one more example of the Grim Reaper's wacky sense of humour (the best example being the fact that Keith Richards is still drawing breath):

Why Hendrix and not Clapton?
Why Lennon and not McCartney?

Why Zevon and not Springsteen?

Ah-ooh! Werewolves of London.

Thursday, June 03, 2004


...that have made me strangely uneasy recently.

1. Wondering what to buy Sooz for her birthday. (It's tomorrow.)

2. People with the letter "v" in the middle of their name. (Kevin, Gavin, Mervyn, Trevor and so on.) But not "David", that's okay.

3. Approaching green traffic lights at fairly high speed.

4. The big wind-powered electricity generator thing at the side of the M25.

5. Driving under planes taking off from / landing at Heathrow.

6. Standing in a queue between two very tall people.

7. Choosing the shortest queue only to realise that the person at the front is an imbecile who's never bought stuff on his own before.

8. Carrying a roll of gift-wrap paper in one of those big plastic bags with the handle sort of at the side.

9. Going into McDonalds

10. Chipmunks. They sell them in the pet-shop across the road. It's hard to explain. They're sort of fast and squirmy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


I promised to post another true hamster story. Here it is, and it's really sad.

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Lois, who happens to be almost my step-daughter. Lois had a hamster called Nibbles. Nibbles died. Nibbles was found with her little paws locked in a rodenty little death-grip round the bars of her cage. Rigor mortis had set in, and the only way Lois's mummy could get Nibbles out of the cage was to break Nibbles's little fingers.

At the funeral, Lois suddenly realised that she'd never been photographed with Nibbles. In the days when decapitation was considered to be the punishment of choice, heads were sometimes sewn back onto bodies so that a last portrait could be painted. In a similar manner Lois, face trembling with a brave little smile, was photographed holding a stiff liitle hamster with broken knuckles.

Hey - "Knuckles" is a good name for a hamster.


I phoned Hertford County Court to see why my Decree Absolute hadn't come through. They told me it had been approved on May 14th but they'd forgotten to send me the paperwork, or in fact tell me about it at all. So I've been single for over two weeks!

Anyway, I'm not getting married until August, so if anyone's at all interested in entertaining but ultimately empty and meaningless sex during the next couple of months, just let me know.

Oh, hi Sooz. Ow. Ow.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Terrible Thing That Happened

I bet you were just thinking "I wish someone would tell me a true story involving a little girl and her hamster". I'm going to do better than that, I'm going to tell you two.

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Caitlin, who happened to be my daughter. And still is. And will continue to be as long as she goes along with the arranged marriage I have planned for her. Caitlin had two pets: Barley the cat and Amber the hamster. (And Jem the snail, but she wasn't a real pet. She just sat in a matchbox for a couple of days and went all sort of crispy.)

Amber lived in a cage on top of Caitlin's wardrobe. It was a kid's wardrobe, so Amber's cage was about four feet off the ground. Amber was as happy as not-very-bright animals who have a vague feeling that the long corridor they run down all day might really be some kind of wheel thing can get. Sometimes when Barley the cat was locked in the kitchen Amber would be taken out of her cage and cuddled, which she didn't mind.

One night, Caitlin ran, sobbing, into her Mummy and Daddy's room. "Something Terrible has happened." she cried. Her Daddy went into her room. Amber's cage was not on top of the wardrobe, but lying upside down in Caitlin's toybox, sawdust and hamster-poo was scattered all over the floor. The cage door, thankfully, was still shut.

Now Barley the cat was nowhere to be seen, but circumstantial evidence suggests that he leapt at the cage and hung onto the wire, pulling it off the wardrobe and into the toybox. Barley, frightened by the racket, made a run for it and was probably out through the cat-flap and half-way across the garden before Caitlin even woke-up.

Amber seemed to be okay after the Terrible Thing, but after a day or two she started to develop personality problems. She started to try to bite Caitlin when she was allowed out of the cage, and it eventually got to the stage where it was like trying to cuddle a chainsaw (albeit a very small, fluffy and relatively quiet one.) In the end if anyone approached the cage, Amber would fling herself at the bars and try to bite through them, her eyes red with bloodlust. And Caitlin didn't want to play with Amber any more.

Tomorrow I will tell you about Lois and her hamster "Nibbles".

Road Rage

Friday, seven p.m. Travelling along the A1(M) towards London, just about to go into Hatfield Tunnel. I'm doing about eighty, (fairly sedate for the A1(M)) in the middle lane, overtaking a car in the inside lane. A car comes up on the outside to overtake me. He's probably doing around eighty-five. Fair enough. I watch him pull ahead.

When he's about twenty-five yards ahead of me, a three-series BMW comes past me so fast I don't even notice him in the mirror before he's gone. He comes up behind the bloke who's just overtaken me, hurtles up to within a half a car-length of his back bumper, and has to brake so hard that there's a puff of smoke from the tyres before the ABS kicks in. He swerves into the middle lane ahead of me, floors the throttle, and he's gone. It's the most arrogant, aggressive and plain stupid piece of driving I've seen in thirty years on the road. Luckily the poor bastard who's just missed being tailgated at a hundred and thirty doesn't do anything dopey (in fact, he doesn't really have time.)

Even though I'm alone in the car, I go "Whoooh!" and do that shaky-head "I don't know..." thing. I look in the mirror just in case there's a police car in pursuit, but BMW-man's not being chased, he's just having fun. I drive on at a steady eighty, half-hoping to see the wrecked BMW in flames on the hard shoulder, but, sadly, no.