Monthly Archives: February 2006

Cerberus: compare and contrast

1. Cerberus (Watercolor by William Blake)

2. The Vision of Hell, Part 3 (Dante Alighieri)

Cerberus, cruel monster, fierce and strange,
Through his wide threefold throat barks as a dog
Over the multitude immers’d beneath.
His eyes glare crimson, black his unctuous beard,
His belly large, and claw’d the hands, with which
He tears the spirits, flays them, and their limbs
Piecemeal disparts.

3. Cerberus and Harry Potter Impersonator (artist unknown)


Mouse phoneSony has announced the ultimate gizmo for 2006: a mouse with a phone built into it. I’m even more excited than I was when the boffins announced that mouse with an ear built into it a few years ago. Similar idea, of course, except Sony’s comes in three different colours.

It got me thinking about other hybrid devices we might all benefit from.

The Coffeeboard
A keyboard that also makes coffee, tea and other hot drinks. Simply type “L-A-T-T-E”, “E-A-R-L-G-R-E-Y” or “N-I-C-E-C-U-P-O-F-H-O-R-L-I-C-K-S” and the drink of your choice comes dribbling out the side and forms in a puddle on the desk. Logitech will produce one with special “One Sugar” and “Two Sugar” buttons for dummies. Real men will use F2 and Ctrl+F5 respectively.

The RomTom (or TomCom)
An in-car navigation system that will guide you to the nearest cinema showing a romantic comedy starring Meg Ryan. There’ll be big bucks in tie-in deals with the major studios, you mark my words. Hit titles will include When Harry Successfully Navigated His Way To Sally and Sleepless in 47°36’0″ N, 122°19’0″ W.

The Cameracopier
Put simply, it’s a photocopier with a camera built in. The ultimate accessory in non-portable photography, the Cameracopier will enable people to take pictures of small grey rooms with hitherto unimagined ease. It won’t be long until the Finns break ahead of the pack with a copier bearing two cameras, or even three. The sky’s the limit. In a perverse echo of the Wilkinson Sword/Gillette Blade Race of the 1990s, progress won’t be halted until we have a copier that’s completely encrusted with tiny cameras, like some giant fly’s eye. Flickr will spin off a whole separate site for pictures of grey rooms. It’s the future.

The Jetboots
It’s, like, boots, but with jets. I’m surprised nobody’s thought of this stuff before. I’m on a roll.

The FacePod
An infinitesimally cute white MP3 player that can perform an emergency face transplant. The competitors, with their silly obsessions with this many hours of video, or that many gigabytes of “songs”, will stand back and gasp as the FacePod leaps into action after a savage dog attack, repairing delicate nerve endings and popping your eyes back in. Your friends will be slack-jawed with amazement. You’ll just be slack-jawed.

Trevor Bayliss, eat your heart out.

I’m the guy who pulled the trigger

The time has come for me to make a statement regarding something I’ve never discussed before in public.

AmmoSome time around 1982, I was on a afternoon trip with my family to Formby pine woods. I was armed at the time with a pistol-grip, narrow-calibre spud gun and a potato which I believe to have been a Maris Piper. Coming round a bend in the path, I spotted ahead of me what I believed at the time to be a quail, although it has later been suggested to me that it was in fact a red squirrel. I raised my weapon, took aim and fired. Tragically, at this very moment, my brother Simon appeared in my sights and took the full force of the blast. By a huge coincidence the round lodged right in his ear, from where it later had to be removed by my father in a delicate procedure involving a fish hook. To this day, Simon still suffers from potato-related hearing difficulties on the left side. For instance, if you were to say to him from the passenger seat of his car, “Watch out, there’s a speed camera down here somewhere,” he might reply, “£1.30 a kilo those, darling, lovely for roasting.”

You can talk about all the other conditions that existed at the time, but that’s the bottom line. I’m the guy who pulled the trigger. Simon, however, is the guy who went flapping his ears about in my line of fire, the daft pillock. It is all his fault.

I have nothing more to say on the matter.

Bigger than parliament

The BBC has outdone itself again with another piss-poor effort to accompany today’s smoking ban vote in parliament. I particularly like the “Your Choice” brand and confidently predict that by this time next week “the kids” will be smoking them in private members’ clubs up and down the land.

But what does it all mean? Blogrot asked some prominent experts to comment on the significance of the BBC’s illustrative masterpiece:

Gumboldt von Freud, psychoanalyst
It means zat ze cigarettes, zey are beegger zan parliament itself, no?

Kenneth Clarke, tobacconist
Bar workers? Bah, think of the profits. Double scotch please.

Tarquin Funtt, advertising executive
Brilliant use of parallax. See how the packet of cigarettes (each one of them a representation of the DICK) draws the attention towards the Big Ben tower, standing erect like one huge great DICK. Fact: dicks sell. Christ, I want a cigarette.

Dr John Reid, Defense Secretary
Smoking is one of the few pleasures left to the work… Hold on, let me see that again. That’s just across the river. Taxi!

Cynthia Barrington, Daily Mail reader
This is so confusing. I thought asylum seekers killed bar workers?

January’s search ratings

Top 10 search phrases that dumped the poor unwitting sods onto bitrot in January:

1. quis custodiet ipsos custodes
2. wank
3. bubbles de vere
4. daily mail
5. jackie stallone
6. panto cow
7. elastigirl
8. gay superhero
9. pop3 webmail
10. ike

I wonder how many of the last one were looking for Mr Turner instead of the ropey Tom Selleck drama?

No idea where “gay superhero” came from, unless it matches Liberal Democrats these days. Sadly, “it’s only a whale” only made it to 15 last month. Let’s see if you can do better in February.

The Blue Pill

A nutter writes...I just happened to spot a completely surreal advert at the back of this Saturday’s Guardian. For our foreign readers, the Guardian isn’t like the National Enquirer: it’s a real newspaper, with sections and obituaries and adjectives and everything. It has a regular Bad Science column for debunking quackery. (Then again, it also has a weekly quackery section.) Anyway, suffice to say I was surprised to see this weird little item tucked away in a corner. I mean, if we wanted cheap pills surely we’d already be buying them off spammers? And then there’s the fact that it doesn’t actually tell you anything about the pills except that they’re blue. I draw a number of possible conclusions:

a) It’s a viagra thing, and I’m just not up on my euphemisms.
b) It’s like, whoa, the Matrix, man. The One will read it, and he will know.
c) It’s one of those special coded messages put in newspapers by cops trying to reel in a serial killer, or by the serial killer trying to reel in victims, or by another serial killer who’s pretending to help the cops but in fact he’s cleverer than them and he’s actually sending a double-coded warning to the other serial killer.

I know there are a couple of pharmacists who pop by occasionally. (Not sure about cops or serial killers or The One, though.) Anyway, perhaps one of you can help me out.

So, you want me to axe the feme tune, replace the feme tune…

I was up early this morning, so I switched on the Radio 4 UK Theme to see what all the fuss was about. I did feel a slight stirring during Men of Harlech, but overall I can’t say it did much for me. I’m a Peter André man mostly.

If you’ve never heard it, I wouldn’t recommend the 5:30am route. You’ll be able to pick it up on iTunes soon enough.

Controversial cartoons

Whichever side of this whole cartoons debate you stand on, you have to agree on one thing: it’s really put Denmark on the map. Ask someone this time last week where Denmark was, and they’d probably have told you it’s the part of France where bacon comes from. This morning I put the same question to a passing youngster, and he replied confidently that it’s the part of the Jutland peninsula where provocative, arguably Islamophobic caricatures and bacon come from.

Well heck, I thought, any idiot can draw a few cartoons. And blogrot has never shied away from confronting difficult issues in the search for the odd extra reader. So, here goes nothing.

Cartoon 1
Cartoon 1: A bandy-legged, moon-faced boy makes a startling pronouncement on the nation’s favourite cakebiscuit. In his hand is a copy of David Icke’s Children of the Matrix. The boy may also be wearing a built-up shoe, or it could just be that I can’t draw properly. You decide.

Cartoon 2
Cartoon 2: A bewhiskered old lady happy-slaps a boy with a tomato for a head. In his cry for help, the boy plunges us headlong into the festering tomato controversy. Discuss.

Cartoon 3
Cartoon 3: The Rt Rev Sir Dr Ian Paisley, with the tiny body of a ballerina, wades into the Souness aftermath where his beak-like nose is clearly not welcome. Stick to what you’re good at, Ian! (i.e. bellowing and eating Catholics.) You can intimidate me, sir, but you’ll never take away my freedom of speech.

More may follow. Reprint if you dare!