Monday, October 30, 2006

Flying rats

A feel-good story to start the week with, as a pelican shows unexpected community spirit by abruptly catching a pigeon and swallowing it whole.

An RSPB spokesman said "It is almost unheard of for a pelican to eat a bird. Their diet should be strictly fish."

So much for the experts. A fish-only diet is all very well for effete Western Pelicans, but this one is an Eastern White, from Siberia. I know from bitter experience that one eats whatever one can get out there…

The world’s dumbest pigeon, yesterday, about to meet his maker. Retarded even by the unexacting standards of his scrofulous confreres…

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Begging the question

Quite frankly, I was unaware that I had any in the first place…

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

This week’s winner is The Rockall Times, your one-stop-shop for all North Atlantic news.

Not as urbane as The Onion, say, but what it lacks in polish it more than makes up for in ethnic stereotyping and swearing. That’s a trade-off I can live with…

The Rockall Times: not just a newspaper – more a public service.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Six Feet Under


No-one does obituaries like the Telegraph nowadays, and this is a classic of the genre. You can feel the tension in the air as they carefully skirt around any mention of the obvious puns, in deference to the sombre occasion and, no doubt, the exasperated requests of the dead man’s family.

And who needs a cheap shot at the name with such a life to eulogise? Leading African troops against the Japanese, tugging Greek beards, demanding the surrender of Cuban irregulars clad only in diving flippers and mud – his story has it all.

I suppose with a name like his one might feel driven to excel, if only to give people something else to talk about. Lt Col John Trenchard Pine-Coffin OBE succeeded in spades, and we salute him for it. Ave atque vale…

The Pine-Coffin arms, yesterday. “In storms we thrive”. One only hopes that Heaven doesn’t bore him.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Where’s my rifle?

Clown conference opens in Mexico reports the BBC, inexplicably filing the story under “Americas” rather than “Terror”. 400 clowns have gathered in Mexico City for four days of intensive workshops and competition on the general theme of giving small children lifelong psychological problems.

Where are Al Qaeda when you need them?

Not content with giving everyone the willies, these pasty-faced freaks are demanding subsidies for their perverted “lifestyle”:

"We would like the government to be aware of our existence," Tomas Morales, known as "Llanton Clown", told the Associated Press news agency.

"Because, in some way, we need a school for clowns."

Mr Morales, doubtless a relative of Bolivia’s narco-terrorist President Evo, intends to gather his legions to perform for free outside the Mexican parliament to raise awareness of their plight. And if they don’t get what they want, they’ll do it again, and again, and again…

"To be a clown is something really serious” says conference organiser Pingo the Clown. That tells you all you need to know about them, really, doesn’t it?

A clown, yesterday. That's not funny.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ivan’s Quote of the Week

“Where is African America anyway?”

- courtesy of the Venture Brothers on Adult Swim.

The Venture Bros, yesterday. Absolutely addictive stuff, I’m ashamed to say…

Friday, October 20, 2006

Special Advertising Supplement

Need piss-poor quality at not-terribly-low prices? Look no further than SCOTCHMAN™ brand convenience stores, serving the surly and disappointed folk of the coastal Carolinas since 1923.

Now featuring:
Passive-aggressive staff
27 different types of menthol cigarette
Extortionate mark-ups on luxuries like milk and baby formula
Authentically Glaswegian pools of piss in the restrooms

Ask us about our ethnic stereotype sensitivity training!

SCOTCHMAN™ – the name you can trust… to be open at 3am, provided it hasn’t been robbed yet…

A Scotchman (sic), yesterday. Satisfaction guaranteed, or no money back…

Thursday, October 19, 2006

There is no such thing as coincidence…

Today on Siteminder:

Domain Name ? (Network)
IP Address 24.53.36.# (Adelphia)
ISP Adelphia
Location Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : California
City : Ventura
Lat/Long : 34.2991, -119.2339 (Map)

Time of Visit Oct 19 2006 11:56:46 am
Last Page View Oct 19 2006 11:57:39 am
Visit Length 53 seconds
Page Views 2
Referring URL
Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page
Out Click 8 comments
Time Zone UTC-8:00
Visitor's Time Oct 19 2006 8:56:46 am
Visit Number 30,000

A hat tip to Sam, our very own PCB, for breaking the 30k barrier for us. It’s somehow especially appropriate, given tomorrow’s post…

A typical Scotsman, yesterday. The shape of things to come?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Off the hook

“Vibrant, dynamic, gravitas, ambitious, hungry and 17 other words or phrases have been banned by one of Britain's top recruitment agencies for fear of falling foul of new anti-ageism laws” reports the Telegraph. Energetic, youthful, vibrant, quick-learner and self-starter are among the others to be blacklisted.

Thank God the pressure’s off! It’s been a decade since I could credibly apply any of those words to myself, and I’m still over twenty years from retirement. At least now I don’t have to lie so shamelessly on my job applications. That kind of sustained creativity is too much like hard work for my taste.

It’s also high time we saw the older generation doing something useful for a change, instead of sitting around whining and wearing beige. What have they done for us lately, after all? Time to stop living off that whole “Greatest Generation” thing and get back in the game.

They’re forever moaning about poverty and crime, but they bring it all upon themselves. When I see them tottering out of the Post Office on pension day fumbling with fistfuls of fivers even my fingers start to twitch. If they want a retirement free from fear, we should stop giving them so much money. And no-one can accuse Wal-Mart or B&Q of that, at least…

In the first wave to hit Omaha Beach? Then a little clean-up on aisle five will hold no terrors for you.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is holding an event on the Virtucon™ campus today. They’re selling donuts.

I’m not sure whether they’re fundraising or recruiting…

Saturday, October 14, 2006

In your Sunday Irae Magazine this week


…why is there no equivalent word for the Welsh?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

This week’s winner is Cheating Spouse Private Investigators - featuring an inexhaustible supply of tawdry and depressing stories of human frailty and weakness.

The signs and portents are particularly good value. A few minutes review of the top giveaways was sufficient to establish beyond any doubt that I am not having an affair with anyone. That’s a load off my mind, frankly, as otherwise it would’ve nagged at me all day. That kind of uncertainty can destroy a marriage.

On the other hand, their top tips don’t help much with the wife, who’s at home all day with the pool boy. I suppose I should be more trusting but it’s hard not to wonder a little, given that we don’t actually have a pool.

A hat tip is due to Randall for bringing this one to our attention. But don’t be alarmed on his account, gentle readers – being a lawyer, his interest is purely professional…

My God – they’re wearing sunglasses and looking around furtively! Does their low cunning know no bounds?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

“We are all individuals!”

For reasons too varied and involved to go into, three women have recently confessed to me that they have tattoos. Not only that, but they show remarkable consistency in their placement – two are of the spiky, neo-Maori abstract variety on the small of the back, and the last a butterfly on a hip.

I’ve never really understood our generation’s infatuation with tattoos. Did I miss a memo? My brother and sister, who have not spoken to each other for ten years, have independently acquired almost identical celtic crosses on their upper right arms. Whoever tells them, it’s not going to be me.

Whatever. Tired of swimming against the tide, I have finally succumbed and gotten myself what was meant to be a bucking bronco, but inevitably more closely resembles My Little Pony. I even had a scroll added with “Ride ‘Em Cowboy” on it to distinguish it more clearly, but that has only made matters worse, given where it’s located.

According to the terms of their injunction, I am now required to point out that I am not affiliated with Mattel in any way. Damn them and their legalistic quibbles.

So, what tattoos do you have?

This was not what I had in mind, dammit!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Phone sex

The Catholic Church presses the panic button again, this time claiming that Indian call centres are sinks of iniquity, leading innocent young girls into sin. Tho’ as they’re mostly heathen Hindus to start with, it’s hard to fathom why the Papists should care.

Turns out that a potent cocktail of a relaxed co-ed working environment and salaries far above the norm for single twenty-somethings have unleashed the inner party-animals of 1.3 million call centre staff across India.

“an informal, American-style college campus atmosphere, where there is plenty of apr├Ęs-shift drinking and partying”
“You're together all night in this cool, hip atmosphere and you end up getting intimate”
“staff have been caught by hidden cameras having sex in cubicles... on the staircase, in the gym and car parks during breaks”
“drains … found choked with condoms”

If that’s an example of Third World squalor and wage slavery, then sign me up. Seems the only white collar sweatshops left in the world are the ones we poor Western saps go to every day. I’ll be embarrassed to call in for an account balance from now on. Who knows what I might be interrupting?

At the very least they could let us in on the fun. Maybe get our account details, and then describe their underwear, if any. Add stockings and a web-cam, and some extra hold time for the masochists, and it’s pretty much your complete full-service offering.

It’s that kind of value-add that will truly differentiate the Indian service economy from its competition in the 21st century.

An Indian call centre, yesterday. With all those young single girls, it resembles nothing else so much as a well-stocked lake…

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ivan’s Site of the Week

This week’s winner is, an inexhaustible supply of East Asian butchery wreaked upon our defenceless mother tongue. Orthographical errors, poor pronunciation, wholesale translation failures – all are grist to the mill of this site and its snap-happy contributors.

Low comedy? Perhaps. But then again, every example featured is genuine, so it’s not deliberately offensive. If nothing else, you’ll learn that the stereotypical Japanese confusion between “l” and “r” is well grounded in fact.

That said, it’s probably fair to say that we’d make a far worse fist of Mandarin or Japanese if we were ever moved to attempt them. There could be half a dozen equivalent sites in China and Japan having a field day at our expense and we’d never know it, ignorant cow-eyed gwai lo that we are.

But there we are. If they want to insult us in such a way that we care, they’ll just have to learn proper English, won’t they?

Japan’s export-driven economy misses a step…

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What women want

Interesting insights courtesy of Woman & Home magazine as they publish their survey into mature women’s greatest fears

So what keeps women over 40 awake at night?

Children's future 55 %
Health risks 45%
Financial difficulties 43 %
Breast cancer 36 %
Rising crime 27 %
Immigration 19 %
Threat of terrorism 12 %
Menopause 12 %
Splitting with partner 11%
Trapped on capsized cruise ship with B-list movie stars 9%

This top ten list is superficially uncontroversial, until one notes that international terrorism edges out divorce, despite the relative frequency of the latter compared to the former.

It’s a sad reflection on the modern male that, once he’s fathered her chosen number of kids (or at least naively paid for the pool boy’s ‘til they are old enough for her to go back to work), the female has very little reason to keep him around. Only inertia and some fragile residue of sentiment stand between hubby and an abrupt exile to the local roach-motel apartment complex down the street, minus his SUV and his 401k.

Now that my own sweet wifey has the four kids she’s always pined for, I don’t mind telling you, I’m treading a little more carefully myself. The last thing I need is to be forced back on the market at my advanced age. It was bad enough before the grey hair and the furrowed brow. In my experience, what women want is almost invariably someone else…

A broken nail, yesterday (7%). One of the very few things that scare women over 40 less than dumping their husbands, alongside losing their glasses (6%), laddered tights (5%), and running out of milk (3%).

Monday, October 02, 2006

Making a virtue of necessity

An acquaintance at work directs the conversation towards the subject of vices, during one of our occasional smoke breaks.

Sadly, I reflect that I only have the one vice left, and I’m doing it. He looks to see if my hands are in my pockets, but I waggle my cigarette at him, and comprehension dawns.

After further reflection, he says that if that’s the only vice we have, we’re not so bad, but I’m not so sure. After all, I don't have time for any of the other solo vices, and no-one seems interested in the mixed doubles events, so I can hardly claim to be good on those grounds alone. Where there is no temptation, one cannot have resisted it.

Maybe some particularly kind-hearted or otherwise mentally-impaired female will offer to go halves on another vice sometime, and then I can put my mettle to a genuine test. In the meantime, the most I have to struggle with is walking past the break-room snack machine without emptying all my change into it. And as long as they refuse to stock fifths of Bourbon in the damn thing, that is no great sacrifice.

So what’re your vices?

Some vices, yesterday. Curiously, smoking, sexism and fatty foods are omitted in favour of Idolatry, Greed, Lust and Anger. Somebody’s overdue for some sensitivity training…