|Christmas and a very shaky uncertain.org have been conspiring
against this blog, lately (congratulations if you're actually reading this).
Normal muttering and nonsense to be resumed
as and when. Don't hold too much breath, and enjoy, I trust, what remains
of the twentieth century.
|Sounding suspiciously like something out of Theme Hospital,
doctors diagnose Glam Rock Shoulder.
"It hits people who punch the air soccer-style as they leap around the
dance floor to classic seasonal songs." Well, something should, frankly.
[via Blue Ruin]
somehow manages to be the most amusing mailing list message I've read
in ages, a fine retort to and evasion of one of
more pedantic rules.
|An interesting Nomic Chess variant,
based around multi-player chess.
Must give it a try; I suspect playing an informal two player version (propose a
rule change after each move, implement it if your opponent agrees) would be quite
entertaining. Particularly if you start making up pieces beyond the standard.
(The pseudo-chess game in Hard-Boiled Wonderland might be a fine inspiration...)
||New science; a rather implausible-sounding
that makes envelopes transparent, allowing police to have a
look inside suspect packages without opening them. A company spokesman
gives the rather simplified example of reading a business card through
a brown envelope, leaving us to speculate on the readability of
normal paper inside an envelope, let alone a couple of sheets of folded.
Or a bomb in a teddybear or plastic bag, of course.
|More disturbing dreams; Channel Four and the Guardian working together
on a project demonstrating the sheer availability of private and public
information about a given individual, illustrating what a typical police
or terrorist organisation can find out and act upon. Interesting enough, but
not when you're the target of it all, and the only person not to be in on
it. A day-in-the-life dream, opening with a slew of strange envelopes which
were quietly stolen from my house before I got around to opening them, a glimpse of
my name in a newspaper, a thuggish military-type carting away what were known to
be my most prized possessions, a panicked 999 call failing when my
mobile phone had been disabled after being "reported stolen", and eventual,
surrendering unconsciousness as doors were kicked in by black-clad figures.|
Cut to the next day, and people are recognising me on the street as being the
target of "that Guardian/Channel Four thing", and reading something in a paper
about me having ticked a box of vague consent on the Guardian Web site the year
Hmm. I wonder how successful a TV reality show in the style of The Game
The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown)
|Somebody remind me of the point of pre-printed greetings cards. Aside
from often invalidating an otherwise perfect generic card (I lose track of
the number of good-picture ones I've sent people for random occasions, with
"Happy Birthday" furiously crossed out), the synonym-heavy Christmas ones
seem frustratingly good at destroying any snappy greeting you might have
penned otherwise, polarising it to a blank sign-off or a meandering
rambling. Oh well.
and Hove gets city status. "Exactly 200 years ago, you had Brighton on its own with
Hove three miles away and Portslade another couple of miles beyond that. Now it's filled
in to become a generic city." said the Mayor. A generic city. I'm so proud.
Dictator or Sit-Com Character remains patchily magnificent, its brilliance
stemming from the fact that - as the computer attempts to work out who you're
pretending to be - you'll probably get a question that was written by a likeminded person.
Being asked "Have you ever eaten dead insects?" was superb.
Pentecostal Church challenges the accuracy of nativity plays; "The wise men were never
part of the nativity - they turned up much later. It is likely they visited
Jesus two years after his birth. [...] It is probable that when the wise men did
visit Jesus, there were many more than three because at that time travel was
dangerous and it was normal to journey in a camel train - around 50 or more - for
Argh. These are children's nativity plays, for goodness' sake, simplified
and rewritten for reasons of dramatic style and infant comprehension - it seems absurdly
self-defeating to try and make them comform to historical logic and the precise
word of a given religious text. What's the point of having fifty kids
standing on stage in dressing gowns and tinfoil crowns? Does it really matter if we
use the Donkey Hypothesis in absence of any specific detail from the Bible? Are the
cast allowed to speak English?
|Why do postage stamps taste so awful these days? Are the post
office abusing their monopoly status and using cheaper, more unpleasant
glue? Is it time for independently-produced stamps that cost a penny
more and have a decent-tasting adhesive?
|The Government resists
calls for boxing to be banned; I still find the whole
idea of moderated organised violence for entertainment to be entirely
surreal. "I want to see every possible measure taken to make sure that boxing
continues as a sport that is as safe as humanly possible," said Health
Secretary Alan Milburn, which would suggest "not hitting each other" or
I don't know, it's fair enough that an outright ban would just drive
things underground and unregulated, and that the people losing brain
cells probably weren't going to use them very much anyway, but all this talk
of boxing being a great way for low-income kiddies to gain respect and
an escape from drug culture just seems horribly naïve and poisonous.