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Christmas and a very shaky 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] This somehow manages to be the most amusing mailing list message I've read in ages, a fine retort to and evasion of one of DocNomic's more pedantic rules.
I acted so tragic the house rose like magic,
The audience yelled 'You're sublime.'
They made me a present of Mornington Crescent,
They threw it a brick at a time.

'The Night I Appeared as Macbeth', W.F. Hargreaves (1922)

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...) [via NBB] New science; a rather implausible-sounding spray 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 before.

Hmm. I wonder how successful a TV reality show in the style of The Game (or, indeed, The Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown) would be?

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. Brighton 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.
Guess the 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.
A Welsh 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 protection."

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 something.

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.

More or less everything by Kevan Davis.
As Above is part of the Uncertain Organisation.