Saturday, September 30, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

This week’s winner is Modern Drunkard Magazine - an invaluable repository of all things lush-related.

About three articles in you realize that this is not some trendy tongue-in-cheek lifestyle deal after all – all of the subjects are genuine crash-and-burn alcoholics, as are most of the contributors. In fact, that realization will be unavoidable halfway through your first article if you start with Drunkard of the Month:

If I’m on the street I’ll buy a fifth of Early Times and a 16oz Coca Cola and get to it. Or I buy three cases of American Beer if I think it’s gonna be a long night. The other option is a bottle of good ol’ Irish Rose. It’s like Mad Dog 20/20. You could get mashed on that for five dollars…

The humour is a little forced sometimes, a bit like the 4am stragglers at a dying party who know it’s over but carry on regardless in the hope of recapturing the mood. But it’s almost worth it for the disquisition into alcohol in Star Trek, where the Vulcans are dismissed as “the designated drivers of the Universe”. At last a Trekkie who gives Scottie his due.

James Doohan, yesterday, idol of nerdy alcoholics everywhere. Also remembered for the classic line: “Laddie, if I had Alzheimers, I think I’d remember!” Slainte Mhath…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Laughing Noam

Noam Chomsky’s already ample retirement fund gets an unexpected boost as Hugo Chavez’s impromptu recommendation of his latest work sends it shooting up the Amazon hit list.

In other reviews, a Herr Hitler of Salzburg warmly recommends The Merry Widow, by Franz Lehár.

It’s not hard to see the appeal that “Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance” might have for our Hugo…

“America is just as much a terrorist state as any other government or rogue organization”
“the repression of other nations' citizenry is, in fact, the very reason Americans support certain foreign leaders”
“current U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Iraq are … the continuation of a consistent half-century of … "imperial grand strategy" in which the United States has attempted to maintain its hegemony through the threat or use of military force"

I’m sure that the elegant Mr Chomsky would be the first to point out the shortcomings of Chavism, and the dangers of religious extremism, or even the fundamentally corrupt nature of the UN. But alas he has not yet found the time to comment on these matters in print, while of course anything trashing the US flies off the shelves at $28 a pop.

Still, doubtless he is suitably shame-faced.

As for the readership, in case they’re still insufficiently outraged by the abyssal evil of American foreign policy, Amazon is on the case:

People who bought this book also purchased…
“Why I idolise all peoples and cultures except my own”
“Flag-burning for Dummies”
“The Little Rich College Girl’s Guide to Making Daddy Angry” - now comes with free software for selecting the most alarming ethnic boyfriend!
“101 Ways to Avoid Work for Yet Another Damned Year”
“Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Abu Ghraib”

One commentator likened Chavez’s foray into literary criticism to Oprah’s Book Club. Oprah? That woman’s a monster

The Boyfriend Select-O-Matic, yesterday. This miracle of modern science caters to all combinations of colour, creed, and elite social status to identify exactly the right type of boyfriend to guarantee Daddy’s first embolism…

Monday, September 25, 2006

Manbird of Alcatraz

I make my daily visit to the company gym.

Another of the regulars there, apropos of nothing, vouchsafes to me that she is ordering a special backpack for her African Grey parrot, so that she can take it out with her on hiking trips, presumably to torment it with panoramic views of freedom while it remains trapped in its hi-tech mobile cage. Pounding the treadmill next to me, the proud owner is happily oblivious to the irony of the entire concept.

And hiking is not the only extra-mural activity she shares with her bird. According to her, it also enjoys drive-in movies, with a marked prediliction for Hitchcock retrospectives. That’s not to say that the poor creature is some sort of sad, unidimensional character. “Sleepless In Seattle”, starring Meg Ryan, is another favourite. We are dealing with a complex and well-rounded personality here. The parrot, that is, not Meg Ryan, who tends to attack her own reflection in the dressing room mirror whenever left unattended.

While I sympathise – who could ever get enough of “Rear Window”, after all? - I can’t say I approve. I wouldn’t give a parrot the car keys no matter what, and I doubt that it’s insured.

Experts advise that the African Grey is one of the largest and most high-maintenance parrot breeds, and provide a handy three-step guide to recognizing one in the wild:
1) is it large?
2) is it grey?
3) does it have (a) feathers or (b) a trunk?

If the answer to 3 is (b), what you’ve got hold of there is an elephant. Superficial resemblances to the contrary, these are not actually parrots at all, and respond very badly to being placed in small cages and expected to roost on a twig. Let it go and try again.

Some African Greys, yesterday, in their natural habitat. Polly wants some trail mix…

Saturday, September 23, 2006

In your Sunday Irae Magazine this week

Chernobyl, twenty years on – and the Sunday Irae asks the question that’s on everybody’s lips…

“Where are all the mutant superheroes, then?”

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

This week, why not sample the manifold pleasures of Crap Towns by The Idler?

The possibilities are endless. Look up your own, or learn about others. Plan your next holiday via a process of elimination. After all, if your destination is on this list, chances are you’re not going to want to go there. Or at least you won’t want to after you’ve looked it up. Think of all the money you’ll save.

Thanks to this site, I now know that I was born in a low level concrete disaster, full of anorak-clad deformed pensioners… one of the few places I know of that you can still buy a lime green shell suit, and grew up in a town full of grubby drunks, Poundsaver shops, middle-aged Goths, and… seething towers of adidas trash. Explains a lot, really…

What’s your nomination for crappest town?

Crap Towns, yesterday – also available in book form for the truly discriminating nihilist.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

From Brussels with love

Another small milestone is passed, as visit 25000 is clocked up on Sitemeter. I wouldn’t have bothered to mention it, only the address of our mystery guest caught my eye…

Domain Name ? (Unknown)
IP Address 158.169.131.# (Commission Europeenne)
ISP Commission Europeenne
Continent : Europe
Country : Belgium (Facts)
State/Region : Brabant
City : Linkebeek
Lat/Long : 50.7667, 4.3333 (Map)

Time of Visit Sep 18 2006 11:07:04 am
Last Page View Sep 18 2006 11:09:05 am
Visit Length 2 minutes 1 second
Page Views 3
Referring URL
Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page
Out Click
Time Zone UTC+1:00
Visitor's Time Sep 18 2006 5:07:04 pm
Visit Number 25,000

Two full minutes, they spent – which translates into nearly EUR 300 based on the pay scale of the average EU flunky. That might seem a lot to you or I, but of course in the European Commission that’ll barely buy you a quickie with the office catamite, with nothing left over for having any awkward investigative journalists arrested. Happily for our hard-pressed public servants, that’s a service the Belgian Police are content to supply for free.

Sharp-eyed and/or overly retentive readers will spot something of a pattern emerging here, seeing as #20,000 was someone in the Australian Ministry of Defence. Could it be that all my readers are tax-fattened hyenas leaching off the public tit and surfing my feeble offerings in their ample free time? I’d hate to live in a world where that could be true. I’d go and check a sample of other visits to find out, but that’s too much like hard work, which would wreck my chances of ever landing an equivalent job someday.

Of course, this could just be Aunty M swinging by to see if I’ve produced anything fit for human consumption lately. Even from here, I can almost hear her heartfelt sigh of disappointment. Sorry, Aunty…

Aunty M, yesterday. To paraphrase my good friend Bender, whenever I say “Destroy all Eurocrats”, I always whisper “…except one”.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The hardest word

That Papal apology in full…

Not to worry – soon the EU will be able simply to sling him in gaol:

“[Muslims’] readiness to take offense is not yet terrorism--but it is a sign of the deep-down insecurity of the Muslim psyche in the modern world. In the presence of Islam, we all feel, you have to tread carefully, as though humoring a dangerous animal. The Koran must never be questioned; Islam must be described as a religion of peace… and jokes about the prophet are an absolute no-no. If religion comes up in conversation, best to slip quietly away, accompanying your departure with abject apologies for the Crusades. And in Europe this pussyfooting is now being transcribed into law, with "Islamophobia" already a crime in Belgium and movements across the continent to censor everything at which a Muslim might take offence, including articles like this one.”

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, yesterday.

Best. Pope. Ever.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Monstrous regiment

Proving once again that there’s nothing new under the Sun, the wives and girlfriends of Colombian gangsters have called a sex strike in an effort to get their men to - ahem - quit waving their pistols around.

The “Crossed Knees” strike, by women in the city of Pereira, is now in its second week. No word yet on whether local kleenex manufacturers have come out in sympathy.

Alert readers will spot the resemblance to the Ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, where the women of Athens organise a similar strike with their counterparts in Sparta, to end a twenty-year-old war. Eventually successful in their aim, they relent, resulting in an eye-opening final scene when you consider that for such comedies the male characters sported three-foot-long leather cocks, and that the female characters were also played by men.

Let’s hope that the brave and self-disciplined women of Pereira can bring their own campaign to the same happy, if flushed and sticky, end. And that the men remember - in their haste to make up for lost time - to check for trannies…

The women of Athens take the oath, yesterday. Not that crossed knees would’ve done them much good, knowing the predilictions of Greek men…

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Glass half full

Joy tempered by a vague cloud of suspicion, as three Mexican shark fishermen are found alive after nine months adrift at sea, surviving on raw fish and rain water.

Gaunt yet grateful, the threesome ascribe their continued existence to the Bible that they had on board with them. Now, that wouldn’t have been the first thing on my list when equipping a fishing expedition, but it’s probably not a bad choice, given a limited budget. We can’t all have GPS and decent radios, after all – otherwise how would we know if we were rich jerks or not?

Naturally, being Mexicans, they are not entirely trusted even by their rescuers. Some suggest that they were running drugs, while others ask whether their two dead colleagues did in fact die of thirst. Subliminal suggestions of cannibalism circle the unhappy trio like sharks around their rudderless boat.

Well, if they did chow down on their companions to survive, it wouldn’t be the first time. That’s the law of the sea – quite literally, as men have on several occasions been cleared of murder when, in the desperate circumstances of a shipwreck, they killed others to take their life jackets.

But maybe karma has already taken steps to restore the balance. After nine months of ripping the throats out of seagulls with their teeth, they end up on the Marshall Islands. The least fate could do was pitch them up on US shores. Santa Barbara, say, or even Seattle.

But if it’s any consolation to the families of the dead, we do know that the others didn’t eat them alive. After all, they weren’t driven ashore in LA, either…

Salvador Ordonez, Jesus Vidana and Lucio Rendon celebrate their arrival on land with one of their rescuers, yesterday, before treating the latter to “a slap-up meal”. Police are now anxious to trace the gentleman in question…

Monday, September 11, 2006

Silver linings

Animal Planet presses the Diana button, launching a 24-hour Crocodile Hunter marathon in honour of Steve Irwin.

The non-stop barrage of crikeys and sunburnt knees become a little wearing after the first six hours or so, but on the upside it does provide a handy context in which to break the news of the great man’s untimely death to the kids. The boys take it surprisingly well, the pain being dulled by the knowledge that thanks to the marathon they now have enough Crocodile Hunter on tape to last them well into their second marriages.

Now that the kids are taken care of, it’s high time we adults got a look in. I hope Clint Eastwood dies next. He’s great

Go ahead, punk – make my day.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

In your Sunday Irae Magazine this week

Young Paris Hilton…

…where did it all go wrong?

(via Mimi and Sal)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

Following on from our recent discovery of treehugger porn in Norway, we find another group that is adding new dimensions to the concept of “single-issue” politics -

As with the environmentalists of fuckforforest, the creators of masturbateforpeace rely on constant self-abuse to purge any aggressive instincts from their audience, so spreading peace, love, and crumpled kleenex in all directions.

While there’s probably some merit to the logic, I can’t help feeling that they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for an angle here. Why not find a like-minded partner to achieve the same flushed and sticky end, like their eco-friendly counterparts at fuckforforest? “Make love not war” is hardly a new idea. But I dare say that, given a target audience of webby nerds, the authors have a shrewd idea of the social limitations of their clientele.

It’s just another sad reflection on the precipitate decline of community spirit in modern human interaction. The internet has a lot to answer for.

A public service announcement from, yesterday. Not sure what a cooter is, but I suppose you’ve got a 50/50 chance of guessing right…

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Libera eas de ore leonis

Tributes pour in for Australian naturalist Steve Irwin, dead at 44 after a freak accident involving a stingray.

I’m not looking forward to explaining that to the kids.

The unfortunate Mr Irwin is just the latest in a long line of wildlife documentarians to meet sticky ends at the vengeful hands of Mother Nature, such as Gerald Durrell (crushed by a python), Johnny Morris (lured out into the garden by a parrot imitating his wife, and then eaten by foxes), David Attenborough (buggered to death by gorillas, tho’ could be they got the wrong Attenborough), and David Bellamy (choked on a badger).

Of that generation of TV nature-lovers, only Bill Oddie survives. He is kept under 24-hour seclusion in a specially fortified safe-house in Birmingham, where no bird outside of fried chicken has been seen for at least twenty years. And frankly, if one has nothing but a life-sentence in Birmingham to look forward to, one might very well envy the dead. Death - unlike a ray – can eventually lose its sting…

Bill Oddie in happier days, yesterday. If you want to know why they call them twitchers, sneak up behind him and go “cheep”.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Earth in the Balance

I drop my bacon sandwich this morning, on the news that the obese now outnumber the starving worldwide by a good 200 million.

Is it just me, or does the solution not pretty much suggest itself?

Eat - eat, my pretty! And win a free ticket to Darfur. Heh heh heh…

Saturday, September 02, 2006

In your Sunday Irae Magazine this week

Divorce settlements…

- are they getting too harsh?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

This week’s winner is kittenwar - as compulsive as it is shamelessly exploitative and deeply pointless.

The winner and loser stats make interesting reading – the latter most of all, perhaps, if only for the curiously scrawny and asiatic quality most of the really unpopular ones have in common. Bad news for Lucy Liu there, I fear.

The cute ones are all a little too saccharine for my taste, and in any case I have them all beat…