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Fly Like A Beagle

January 6, 2011



I don’t know about you lot but my ambition for the New Year is to develop enough ineffable coolness to join Larz Kristerz. Now, you might be thinking…dude, you’ve got to walk before you run…join a less demanding outfit..The Rolling Stones, say… and I understand your scepticism. But I like to dream big.

How about you? What are your hopes, dreams and resolutions for 2011? In verse, obviously. Now, you’ll have to excuse me…I have some wig-shopping to do…

  1. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 2:47 PM

    …and another New Years resolution is to smoke more:

  2. reine permalink
    January 6, 2011 2:53 PM

    The audit for 2010
    is less than satisfying
    The ledger shows bare progress
    In the columns underlying

    Turning 40 was achieved
    But then that was automatic
    The manner of my handling it
    A little more dramatic

    I didn’t write the book
    Adopt a pet or baby
    Lose weight, give up my vices
    Or hold on… there’s that one maybe

    I didn’t change myself
    into a Stepford wife
    Accepting I can’t change the one
    With whom I share my life

    I didn’t change my job
    To one I would find fulfilling
    Or lose the toxic friend
    And her endless, vapid trilling

    I did achieve some credit though
    In an area unforeseen
    When I stumbled upon you lot
    Lighting up the screen

    For that I’m truly grateful
    And so I start again anew
    Draw up the list once more
    Delete some headings, add a few

    In short I want to change my job
    Be a better person
    Play the tambourine on stage
    Cut back on the cursin’

    Laugh more than cry
    Be more grateful
    Visit the Scilly Isles
    Grow the fringe out
    Drink more green tea
    Walk twice a week for miles

    Detox my mind and body
    Refuel my heart with love
    Hang around with you guys
    …And find my bloody glove

  3. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 3:03 PM

    Snap, Reine…I’m sitting at the kitchen table, looking at a large box of fair-trade green tea that I bought yesterday and thinking “Well? Are you going to start this bloody fast or not?” (Green tea is a useful adjunct when fasting. I urge you to download Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Fasting For Health HERE— and read it).

    Another year goes on the card,
    The prospect fails to thrill me;
    The year just gone was bloody hard:
    The next one might just kill me

  4. reine permalink
    January 6, 2011 4:28 PM

    Getting into a seaweed bath now with my green tea and a bottle of wine!

    “The young man was I” – hope his medical prowess is better than his syntax.

  5. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 5:41 PM

    Yeah, I know…but he’s a doctor, not a writer (I mean, a real Harvard-trained cardiologist as opposed to ‘Dr’ Gillian ‘”I Don’t Like The Look Of Your Turds” Keith…the book is well worth reading.

  6. reine permalink
    January 6, 2011 5:54 PM

    I have downloaded it. Didn’t mean to be snide, it sort of leapt out at me as I scanned. The mere mention of “Dr. Gillian McKeith” gives me sphincter muscle contractions.

    The seaweed bath was very pleasant. I like to bring a bit of the Atlantic home with me.

  7. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 6:24 PM

    I laughed immoderately when the Graun’s Ben Goldacre applied for and received exactly the same $200 ‘doctoral’ certification for his dead cat that McKeith boasted…

    “my dead cat says your turds don’t look good…”

    Re: fasting, trust me…it really is incredibly effective. I mean, Jesus…women still smile at me…QED.

  8. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 6, 2011 6:30 PM

    Before Meltonia

    This year I won’t try to make more money,
    I’m affluent enough to let that slide,
    and I won’t be so outrageously funny,
    I’ll showcase my serious, thoughtful side.

    I’m imposing a supermodels ban,
    as far as I can I’ll stick with just one,
    to curb the envy of my fellow man
    I’ll have that penis reduction done.

    I really don’t know what else I can do.
    I’m rich, successful, fantastic in bed
    what life-goals to set I simply can’t see.

    Meeting someone to share the years ahead
    would be quite nice, that’s absolutely true,
    but I shall never find another me.

  9. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 6:36 PM

    Your modesty becomes you, MM.

    BTW, I’m passing along a few films that you might enjoy, including the Coen Bros remake of True Grit, which I liked very much. Jeff Bridges was terrific as Rooster…

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 6, 2011 6:41 PM

      Thanks, that’s very good of you. I’ve just bought an internet TV, so I’m hoping to transmit the stuff on the laptop to it (since Mrs M won’t watch it on the small screen).

  10. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 6, 2011 6:37 PM

    Wotcher Reine. I hear those seaweed baths are good for the mussels.

    I found Dr Hugh Jass’s ‘Feasting For Health’ very helpful. Women usually scowl at me anyway, so my enormous gut doesn’t make much difference.

    • reine permalink
      January 6, 2011 8:14 PM

      I would never scowl at you MM. My devotion (and Hic’s) to you will remain unchanged for 2011.

  11. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 6:46 PM

    I’ve got one myself, MM. Basically just a wifi-enabled TV. Works a treat, though.

    BTW, I had to laugh at poor Parisa’s obtuseness…’David Cameron went to Eton…’. If only you’d paid more attention, MM, you’d have known that.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 6, 2011 7:50 PM

      Yes, it’s a pity the music halls have gone. Parisa could have been a good straight-man.

  12. January 6, 2011 7:53 PM

    The future promised me this year
    New swooshing doors drawing
    Back of their own accord, poetry

    Translation from Middle English
    To modern language, published
    In ten months, forty lines a day

    Work, read, lift, miss, hit a home
    Run, convert, score, over a bar,
    Literature for sale in a book, Des

    Modn’s words, the same object
    Exactly, as Salt Publishing, Chris
    H.E’s establishment poetry inc,
    This is it, January the sixth,


    Two thousand and eleven,
    This Is Not America, England
    The Republican democrat, OC

    Everything repealed, tooth & nail
    Every step of the way back to GB I
    & II, no super ymmies patronizing, embaressing English folk; thinking on, and maybe, apologizing for how you treat me, a damaged middle aged failure whose only fault is loving too much, you Dear Readers; me as a theoretical construct whose purpose is not to concentrate on Class, but represent one’s own ex- wc pple, lassoing numbers, pretty much in the bottom 90%, unlike CM, the official organ state of oxo born to it, oh here, you make sure to get in early and stay there late, pole shift, spot dance for a title, the ultimate contendor, competing with the rest of us fraud palavas… oh, sorry, one mentioned our School, boo hoo a remote care, reading about your King and leader of the oppositional I consitently failing to impersonate, the longer one goes on, with no sense of a thrashed-out poetic philosophy, all you devote a life to, er, make it serve us as er, that bloke who is wicked funny live, and is probably not the wanker we know personally, in our mind, the one protrait really a collection and jumble of one’s own failure as a person, projected onto us, because I enjoy a good toing and froing, robust inquiry, tear ups with canditates for crown King Know Arsehole myself, in the sense I, er, love ’em, even tho I know it’s one’s solemn duty to hate everything they represent, that secretly, I want to be; King Kev Blogsville prised from transparently grasping grrls, faking it they’re middle class and generally, more the unfulfilling role as a mutual, hardworking Public Servant towing the official winsome line on the incredibly urgent, serious, exciting & unimportant prose-poem, than what you want to discuss here, ourselves alone.


    Anonymous Community Moderator

  13. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 8:37 PM

    In 50 years, Americans will be burning witches, applying leeches to cure cancer and throwing virgins into volcanoes…remember, you heard it here first:

    David Silverman, president of the American Atheist Group, went on Tuesday’s “O’Reilly Factor” to defend the billboard ads his group has put up around the country calling religion a scam.

    O’Reilly began by telling Silverman that his organization is insulting religious people, an accusation Silverman denied, insisting that his message was simply the truth so how could it be offensive. The conversation then took a strange turn as the host played what he believed to be his trump card of the why God exists debate.

    O’REILLY: I’ll tell you why [religion’s] not a scam, in my opinion: tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.

    SILVERMAN: Tide goes in, tide goes out?

    O’REILLY: See, the water, the tide comes in and it goes out, Mr. Silverman. It always comes in, and always goes out. You can’t explain that.

    …yeah, Bill: it’s a fucking mystery alright…and baby Jesus makes the sun revolve around the earth…and what about birds? How do they stay up in the air? God does that (when he’s not busy appearing on a taco in Guadalajara).

    I can’t bear one more year of this;
    I swear that God just takes the piss
    and feeds you hope, that wonder drug,
    before some bugger yanks the rug.

    The tide comes in, the tide goes out:
    just what the fuck is that about?
    Why can’t the water just sit still?
    Can’t God just tell the oceans: “Chill”?

    In twenty-twelve, this old world ends,
    (according to some Mayan geek);
    although, to judge by current trends,
    it might as well be next damn week.

  14. reine permalink
    January 6, 2011 11:15 PM

    Oh, I have a new friend for 2011…got this in my gmail earlier.

    “Dear Friend
    Please Read Carefully And Get Back to Me PLease,
    my urgent need for a foreign partner that made me to contact you for this transaction. i got your contact from yahoo tourist search while i was searching for a foreign partner. as this message might meet you in utmost surprise. However, it all justsured of your capability. and reliability to champion this business opportunity when I prayed to good Lord about you.

    I am a banker by profession in Burkina Faso ,And currently holding the post of assistant foreign remittance director in our bank. i have the opportunity of transferring the left over funds ($5.5 million dollars) of one of my bank clients who died along with his entire family in a plane crash.

    Hence, I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 60/40% if you agree to my business proposal. Further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as i receive your return mail immediately you receive this letter. Please indicate your willingness by sending thebelow information for more clarification and easy communication.
    (1) Your full name………..

    (2) Your contact address…………..

    (3) Your phone and fax number……….

    (4) Your age………………

    (5) Your country name………..

    (6)Your Occupation………..

    (7) Your brassiere size

    Hoping to hear from you immediately
    Yours faithfully
    Mr Salifou Usman”

  15. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 11:32 PM

    Your brassiere size? I’m not overly familiar with banking practices in Burkina Faso but is that really germane? Ah, well…different strokes for different folks. Sounds like a good deal to me…I mean, what possible drawbacks could there be?

  16. hic8ubique permalink
    January 6, 2011 11:34 PM

    So far the year is moving too fast and I’m already feeling rushed. I try to arrange things so that I’m not rushed, so this is a concerning start. Some verse began to occur this morning, but events pressed in upon me and I may never recall… Tasks and obligations… sigh.

    How long do you fast for, Mishari? I’d need to shut down the whole farrago for the duration and be unavailable to anyone.
    Hmm~ there’s a good incentive right there. Spring is a more likely time for me to fast. Did you ever read that Ian Belcher piece? I thought it hilarious.

    I prefer white tea to green, Reine~~ the Scillies, what a good thought. Someone was talking the other day about a remarkable zoo… on Guernsey, I think? You went to Jersey last yr or so, I remember. Have you seen When the Whales came? I haven’t found it on disc. It was Dame Helen and Paul Scofield.
    Also lots of chat about The King’s Speech.

    Hm, the next task has landed, I’ll look in later…
    Not your bra size. Not really? You added that for effect!

    • reine permalink
      January 6, 2011 11:58 PM

      Ok, ok, I added No. 7 to see if ye were paying attention. It’s bigger than my bank balance at the moment.

    • reine permalink
      January 7, 2011 12:06 AM

      There is a renowned zoo on Jersey Hic but I just flew past it on the bus which was bringing us to tea with the Women’s Institute somewhere or other. Never did get to see it. Nor have I seen When the Whales Came. Looking forward to seeing the CF in The King’s Speech… out here this weekend I think.

    • reine permalink
      January 7, 2011 12:10 AM

      The CF? Pardon me.

  17. mishari permalink*
    January 6, 2011 11:46 PM

    The longest I’ve fasted for is 30 days but I usually stick to 20. As I’m in reasonable shape to begin with, 20 days is more than enough to purge the toxins, loosen any arterial plaque, burn any excess fat and generally restore the body to proper working order. I encourage you to download and read Fuhrman’s book. It’s a real eye-opener.

    Of course, the medical profession in general, big pharma, the insurance industry and the food and beverage industries try to ignore or discredit the idea for one glaringly obvious reason: they can’t make any money out of fasting. Reason enough to try it, I think. All I know is that it works and leaves me feeling 30 years younger.

  18. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 7, 2011 12:08 AM

    20 days! Blimey! I have a Mormon relative who fasts once a week, which I think is something to do with their barmy religion. If you see an angelic-type figure who gives you some gold specs start eating.

  19. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 7, 2011 12:11 AM

    I mean he fasts for a 24 hour period once a week – a Saturday, I think.

  20. mishari permalink*
    January 7, 2011 12:16 AM

    In fact, MM, many people fast for 40 to 50 days–it doesn’t do any harm. The obese can fast for 90 to 100 days without ill-effects. But even a 10 day fast will do you a world of good. Read Fuhrman’s book.

  21. reine permalink
    January 7, 2011 12:18 AM

    By fasting, do you mean no solid food at all? I will read the book, just curious.

  22. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 7, 2011 12:23 AM

    I’ll have a look, but I don’t eat much anyway, apart from chocolate. I’ve only got half a gut, so it disappears pretty quickly.

    All right, I’ve got to ask – how long does it take before you stop using the facilities?

  23. mishari permalink*
    January 7, 2011 12:33 AM

    A proper fast means nothing but water (I add an occasional green tea, which is calorifically null). Some people do a ‘fruit juice/vegetable juice’ fast but that isn’t really effective because you’re still taking in calories and the body doesn’t go into ‘protein sparing’ (fat-burning) mode.

    You void the contents of your bowels in the first couple of days. Thereafter, what happens is a gentler version of colonic irrigation: all the impacted matter in your colon (and some of it has been there for a very long time) loosens up and is voided. The body also consumes any tumours (small, potentially malignant ones and fibrous benign ones), moles, calcium deposits etc etc and uses them for energy. [That’s quite enough grisly detail, thank you-Ed.]

    This Is The Year

    This is the year when the wind of change
    blows unabated and fills out our sails
    but if the wind fails, then we’ll arrange
    for paddlers.

    This is the year when the slough of despond
    gets drained, ploughed and planted
    but if the plough’s blunted or the mule won’t respond,
    well, fuck it.

    This is the year when we hit the jackpot
    and give all the money to that fellow Bono,
    because, well, you know, he’s a charity hotshot;
    just kidding.

    This is the year, this is the year, this is the year.

  24. January 7, 2011 11:00 AM

    I’m not a squeamish man but reading “impacted matter in your colon ( and some of it has been here for a very long time)” made me realise that in fact I am a squeamish man. A new discovery for 2011!

    Loose faecal matter – A poem written in the newly squeamish mode.

    **** *** paper ** your ****,
    *********** will **** ** pass.
    ***** *** ***** down *** ***
    Best ***** ** ** **** dirty ***.

  25. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 7, 2011 12:03 PM

    Impacted in the princely colon
    those faecal remnants are a toxic curse,
    but then he fasts, and before too long
    the ancient ordure is expelled as verse.

  26. January 7, 2011 12:45 PM

    Mishari after a few days do you start seeing the rest of your family as food? Do you have to be tied down to prevent you eating Pongo the cat who, in your feverish, starved vision has turned into a lamb shank?

    I’m asking these questions in the spirit of furthering scientific knowledge you do understand.

  27. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 7, 2011 1:24 PM

    As a walking hunk of meat named after a rich, sweet foodstuff Honey the dog must be in double jeopardy. One hopes there isn’t a Basil Al-Adwani in the family.

  28. January 7, 2011 1:39 PM

    Just read one of the best pieces of journalism in a long time at the Guardian

    How the US let al-Qaida get its hands on an Iraqi weapons factory

    A small, nondescript town of a few thousand souls 25km south-west of Baghdad, Yusifiyah is known for its rich soil, which enables the production of potatoes famous throughout Iraq for their size and flavour. There’s little of interest: farms criss-crossed by irrigation ditches, a great deal of sand, and not much else. The sparsely populated crescent-shaped region surrounding the town, was teeming with facilities engaged in the manufacture of free-fall aircraft bombs, small arms, ammunition, scud-missiles, as well as nuclear centrifuge development and bio-warfare experiments: all huge, clandestine weapons sites with their own research staff and agendas.

    In 1991, following the Iraqi rout in Kuwait, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gained access to Qa’qaa. Weapons inspectors who visited the facility were dumbstruck by the scale of the place. “Huge,” comments one senior figure familiar with the site. “The biggest chemical plant I’ve ever seen.” Covering an area of 36 square km, containing 1,100 buildings and employing more than 14,000 staff, the site was essentially a secret, self-sufficient city, 10 times the size of New York’s Central Park – in the middle of the desert. It even had its own power station.

    From the outside there was little to indicate what was going on in Qa’qaa. Surrounded by tall earthen walls, all that was visible was a series of chimney stacks producing huge plumes of acrid brown smoke. Employees in the facility were not allowed to speak about it; nobody else was allowed in. To Yusifiyans, however, it was obvious the plant made military equipment of some sort: repeated explosions emanated from within the walls when things went wrong, and from the facility’s test ranges when things went right.

    They found 145 tonnes of pure RDX and PETN. On a whim, one enterprising inspector asked technicians whether they had imported any other explosives of note. Qa’qaa staff exchanged glances and shuffled their feet, before leading him to a series of bunkers containing hundreds of drums of an off-white, crystalline powder. About as highly explosive as high explosive gets, High Melt Explosive (HMX) is used to detonate nuclear warheads. Qa’qaa had nearly 200 tonnes of it. The IAEA moved all the explosives to secure bunkers on the south-west corner of the facility, then closed the doors with tamper-proof seals. And there the 341 tonnes sat for more than a decade.”


    It’s now the companion piece to the ex WMD inspector who called out Bush’s war as false before it began, and was kicked of the team, the fully vindicated Scott Ritters September 2009 piece exposing the same tactic being deployed by Brown and Obama during the G20 conference, when he took a break from chairing the Security Council, to announce a ‘secret’ nuclear site in an Iran mountain at the holy city of Qom, that America had known about for six months or so, that Iran, following its obligations, had told the world about and America spun it wholly disingeneously because it was actually them playing head games in the first place.

  29. January 7, 2011 1:45 PM

    …oops. should say it isn’t a piece of journalsim but “an exclusive extract from Dominic Streatfeild’s new book, A History of the World since 9/11, in which explains how despite expert warnings, the US let al-Qaida buy an arsenal of deadly weapons – then tried to cover it up.”

    • January 7, 2011 2:19 PM

      It’s called a “limited hangout”, Des… the pretense of the revelation of damaging info (some actually authentic, to lend credibility) while supporting the desired false narrative. The Guardian is not the proper source for material you’re not supposed to know (they are part of the Wikidumps soap opera, after all)… but this site been a pretty good source in the past:

  30. mishari permalink*
    January 7, 2011 3:16 PM

    I’m on my fifth family already. The last four families (my son Stew and my daughter Cakeberta are especially missed) disappeared in mysterious circumstances that coincided (funnily enough) with an increase in my toothpick consumption.

    I read that story this morning Des–it’s just evidence of something we know perfectly well: that the US government and its armed forces couldn’t organise a blow job in a brothel.

    I take your point, Steven, but I can’t really see how this is going to damage anyone at this late date. I mean, what’s the false narrative? That the US forces were inept cowboys? That Bush and his gang were as dishonest as they were incompetent? I think they were both, with overtones of Machiavellian cleverness. At the risk of sounding hopelessly naive, I think sometimes a story is no more or less than it appears.

    Thanks for the corbettreport link, BTW…a new one to me..

  31. January 7, 2011 4:05 PM

    Is Pizza Quatro Staggione Al-Adwani still with us?

    tbh I thought it was common knowledge that the US armed Al Qaida up to the hilt as part of Reagan’s ” our enemy’s enemies are our friends ” foreign policy err…. initiative during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1980. Given that the administration has changed a few times over the ensuing years whilst US foreign policy hasn’t really changed it’s no wonder the outlying diplomats and “keepers of the peace” in that part of the world didn’t know who was in and who was out.

  32. January 7, 2011 4:28 PM

    It’s the Al-Qaida meme they have to keep fresh (and I meant to put scare-quotes around “damaging”) … the trillion-dollar boogie man they can’t afford to let the edge go off (well, Al-Qaida and its dead spokesmodel, OBL… just ask Benazir Bhutto… oops, we can’t)

  33. January 7, 2011 4:50 PM

    “the US government and its armed forces couldn’t organise a blow job in a brothel.”

    Bits of it, yeah, no question, but I also think we should beware the incredibly effective “incompetency” alibi (Reagan and Bush2 were dopes and yet it’s their world we currently inhabit)… this guy lays it out very, very well (go right to 16:00 and 27:00 if you’re short on time):

  34. January 7, 2011 5:05 PM

    “tbh I thought it was common knowledge that the US armed Al Qaida up to the hilt as part of Reagan’s ” our enemy’s enemies are our friends ” foreign policy err”…

    Wasn’t that the *other* brand? Taliban Inc?

    • January 7, 2011 5:28 PM

      There are photos at the time of Rumsfeld and OBL together. I can’t remember whether Al Qaida were a subsidiary of the Taliban at the time, whether they were working on a super-group style joint album or whether they split the band claiming musical differences.

    • January 7, 2011 5:30 PM

      Weren’t they fronting Queen, briefly…?

    • January 7, 2011 5:39 PM

      Status Quo I believe.

  35. January 7, 2011 5:06 PM

    Larz Kristertz actually holds the Benelux NarcoGroupie trophy for Slechtste Moedervrijerer (that’s bad motherfucker to you).

    Happy New Year, all. My ambition this year is to re-read the five novels that have most inspired me (I almost never re-read, which is like never returning to a loved piece of music). Also, to write another novel.

    Mishari, you didn’t by any chance post me a book called Mirrors of the Unseen by Jason Elliot, did you? It arrived without a note and if it wasn’t you then I’m at a loss.

    Now for a look at these collaborative novels….

  36. hic8ubique permalink
    January 7, 2011 5:10 PM

    MM, you remind me of a gent I’ve known rather well these 20 yrs. He’s had/has colon cancer, open-thoracic multiple bypass surgery, aortic aneurysms, hernia repairs, stroke, parkinson’s, and prostatitis. He’s still doing his volunteer teaching, but gave up delivering meals to the housebound last winter. Turns 80 today, and is starting to be a bit slower and frail.

    As a migraineuse, I won’t be assaying the Mishari/Fuhrman fast. It’s a fascinating idea, but success is dependent I’m sure upon one’s constitution. I’m conditioned to play everything toward the middle: eating not too much nor too little, sleeping not too much nor too little, exercise…&c. It sounds boring, but my lesson of the migraine is to soft pedal the attraction of extremes. I very rarely have a persistent one anymore.
    I sometimes do a month-long regimen that eliminates from the diet everything refined, fermented, or acidifying. June is a good time for it.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 7, 2011 10:59 PM

      I haven’t had any of the problems you mention. Yet.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 8, 2011 1:26 AM

      I’m delighted to hear it. (though impertinently wondering how you happen to have only half a gut.) It’s not that you have those particular conditions, just that you too seem to have an impressive array, a scowl inspiring survivor. Though we never scowl at you, as Reine averred.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 8, 2011 11:18 AM

      I thought I’d mentioned it before, though it might have been on cynicalsteve’s blog. Anyway, my early 20s, Crohn’s disease, gung-ho surgeon. Traumatic at the time, but I shouldn’t complain since I haven’t had that many problems since.

  37. mishari permalink*
    January 7, 2011 7:57 PM

    Glad you got the book, XB. I think you’ll like it as it treads a lot of the ground that Road To Oxiana did but with a different (and obviously contemporary) slant. Elliot wrote a superb book about Afghanistan called An Unexpected Light, that I’ll pass along if you enjoy Mirrors.

    New Year Telegram Villanelle

    New year…well?
    Don’t know yet;
    This may be hell.

    Burning smell?
    That’s vain regret;
    New year…well?

    Dreams all fell?
    Oh, you bet;
    This may be hell.

    What to sell?
    What to bet?
    New year…well?

    Course’s set?
    Who can tell?
    This may be hell.

    Risk a yell?
    Avoid the net?
    New year…well?
    This may be hell.

  38. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 7, 2011 11:13 PM

    Taut villanelle. I’m dry.

    So far the PH modernist novel strikes me as being near-Victorian in structure, if not in content.

  39. obooki permalink
    January 7, 2011 11:35 PM

    I’d liked Rick Gekoski’s joke about Adam Thirlwell’s question in The Guardian’s pointless literary quiz:

    Q: Was Karenin, the dog in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, male or female?

    A: Yes.

    I like anything that takes the piss out of Adam Thirlwell.

  40. mishari permalink*
    January 7, 2011 11:44 PM

    Thirlwell’s just a name to me. No good, is he?

    Yes, MM… I must tend to that…get my Beckett-era Olivetti out and get stuck into some big-time futility…

    …inspired by my sons recent tastes in reading matter, I’ve also started a fantasy novel (post-apocalypse, 1000 years in the future, swords and recovered old-technology HERE), but I’m leaving comments off until I’ve developed it a bit more to see where it’s going.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 8, 2011 12:10 AM

      obooki should be hired as a consultant. No-one knows more about the premodernist modernist novel.

    • obooki permalink
      January 8, 2011 12:33 AM

      The trouble is, I’m a lot more ignorant on the postmodernist modernist novel.

      But surely after Tom McCarthy’s C, it’s the very thing for a Modernist novel to be near-Victorian in structure, if not in content.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 8, 2011 11:21 AM

      I think the idea is to replicate a pre-postmodernist modernist novel, though I may be wrong on that.

      Posted my Duffy parody on that simpering CIF thread on the shipping forecast. Probably a mistake.

  41. January 8, 2011 11:45 AM

    there are a few bloggers on Jonathan Jones’s GU Visual arts blogs who hate modern art ( often with justification and often not ) and who wish to return to a pre-modernist state of mind.

    Trouble is that post-modernism for all its many faults is so entrenched that they sound more post-modern than the people who like post-modernism.

  42. mishari permalink*
    January 8, 2011 12:49 PM

    Well, the author of the piece liked it, MM:

    @MeltonMowbray: brilliant. Your last stanza had me laughing out loud.

  43. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 8, 2011 11:01 PM

    How kind of her (thanks to HLM, too). Can I change that ‘simpering CIF thread’ to ‘brilliant CIF thread’? My fingers must have accidentally hit the wrong keys.

  44. mishari permalink*
    January 9, 2011 12:13 AM

    No.’Simpering’ sounds about right.

    BBC Radio 3 has been doing this marathon–12 days of Moe Zart’s music. I gotta admit: I never heard of the guy; but apparently, he was big in Krautrock–y’know, Can, Amon Düül, Kraftwerk, like that.

    Moe Zart was in The Steppenwolf Gang until they changed their name to just Steppenwolf (at least, I think that’s what they said).

    Anyhoo, they’ve been playing a lotta the guy’s solo stuff, piano, fiddle, hoppsycorn (whatever that is). He’s pretty good, for a kraut. But what really impressed me were the ‘concept’ albums like ‘The Mirage of Frodo’, which was one of those 60s druggy/Tolkein things. It’s kinda awesome–I mean, it sounds like a whole orchestra and Moe does all these different voices: it’s trippy, man.

    And ‘Crazy Fang Tootie’ (which is about a coke-fiend with dental issues…I think) is a pretty good album, too.

    I dunno what happened to Moe Zart but I’m guessing he went into Green politics, like all the other German hippies.

    Meanwhile, in Texas, even the fraudsters think really big:

    A man has been accused of attempting to pass a $360 billion check, which he claims was given to him by his girlfriend’s mother to start a record business, Fort Worth police said.

    Charles Ray Fuller, 21, of Crowley, was arrested on April 22 on an accusation of forgery, police said.

    Police responded to a report of a man attempting to pass the check about 4 p.m. that day at the Chase bank in the 8600 block of South Hulen Street, Fort Worth police Lt. Paul Henderson said.

    The personal check was not made out to Mr. Fuller and when the bank contacted the check owner, the woman said she did not write a check for $360 billion.

    Mr. Fuller was also accused of unlawful carrying of a weapon and possession of marijuana, Lt. Henderson said. He may also face a theft charge in Crowley.

    Lt. Henderson said he did not know if Mr. Fuller and his girlfriend were still together.–from

  45. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 9, 2011 12:58 AM

    Optimistic chap. Worth a try, I suppose. You never know what these oldsters have stashed away.

    Can and Kraftwerk are familiar, but I can’t remember what Amon Duul sounded like.

    I’ll check tomorrow. Morpheus calls.

  46. hic8ubique permalink
    January 9, 2011 5:04 AM

    This evening I’ve heard about the special attraction of ‘Bass Nectar’, an example of ‘Dubstep’, from my son who’s 21 today. He assured me I wouldn’t like it.
    ( I didn’t sing him the Music Hall song my grandmother sang to me.)
    On a more mellifluous note for your morning:

  47. reine permalink
    January 9, 2011 10:41 AM

    Gorgeous Hic. We’re not a bad Mozart trio, you, me and Mishari. Ha. If I’m not mistaken, that is William Schimell to whom I have previously pointed out a slight Mishari resemblance.

    Happy birthday to L-E. Special day, is there a birthday cake on the cooling rack or being iced at this very moment? Enjoy the celebrations.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 9, 2011 3:02 PM

      It’s Nicolas Rivenq, Re, but I do see some resemblance there, and the vocal range fits.

      I offered cake, and that will certainly be part of next Friday’s family party, but I was informed (in too much detail) of why cake would not go with the menu (Beer) for last nights festivities.
      We only had 2 hour’s vis-a-vis over dinner before the real party began.

      ” 7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree…”

      You’ve reminded me of his 8th birthday, which I’ll always remember because he took his first bite of cake and announced: “This… is a delicacy.”

    • reine permalink
      January 9, 2011 8:14 PM

      Ah, I was mistaken. That’ll teach me to wake up properly before posting a comment.

      Young people’s birthdays follow the same pattern the world over it seems.

      I went to see The King’s Speech this afternoon. My non-monarchist allegiances aside, I really enjoyed it. Then again Colin Firth stammering his way through the alphabet would do it for me. Geoffrey Rush is super although I always find he has a disconcerting air of the dirty old man about him.

  48. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    January 9, 2011 12:14 PM

    Found in the ether: Analogies and Metaphors

    These came from the annual “Dark and Stormy Night” competition. Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays:

    1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

    2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

    3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

    4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

    5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

    6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

    7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

    8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

    9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

    10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

    11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

    12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

    13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

    14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

    15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

    16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

    17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

    18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

    19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

    20.. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

    21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

    22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

    23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

    24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

    25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

    26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

    27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs

  49. mishari permalink*
    January 9, 2011 12:45 PM

    They’re fantastic, Hank…but things like:

    He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.


    He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

    …are just too good to be true.

    I think these come from the Bulwer-Lytton Competition, where submissions are invited for the ‘worst opening lines’ for a non-existent novel.

    The actual line comes from a novel by B-L (too lazy to google it) and was made famous by Snoopy, who was often pictured atop his doghouse, working on his ‘novel’, the only lines of which we ever got were: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

    Very funny, nonetheless…

    Meanwhile, in news from The Land of Crazy People…the irony of the shooting of US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (one that nobody seems to be remarking on) is that Giffords is a staunch and vocal supporter of gun owners rights.

    So while all the reformers and anti gun activists are using this shooting to reinforce their point, they might want to have a word with Gifford herself when she recovers.

    Gifford, after all, applauded when the Supreme Court struck down Washington DC’s progressive change in gun laws. And her response to threats to her office last year? Giffords said she would uphold Arizona’s tradition of self-protection.

    “I have a Glock 9-millimeter, and I’m a pretty good shot,” she said. —The NY Times, March 25, 2010

    Uh-huh…so tell me, Ms. Giffords: how’s that Glock 9 working out for you? What’s that? Oh…you can’t talk because someone shot you in the head with a Glock 9?

    • January 10, 2011 1:00 AM

      Amazingly, you seem to have scooped most of MSM on this ironic Glock meme

    • mishari permalink*
      January 10, 2011 9:21 AM

      I remembered Giffords’ NYT quote because it struck me as an exceptionally bone-headed thing to say, so I did a little more digging and discovered she’d been against the DC gun law.

      I guess it’s not being mentioned because Giffords is now a ‘tragic victim’ and an ‘aura’ of near-sanctity surrounds ‘tragic victims’. Her ‘inconvenient’ position on gun-control is forgotten.

      I’ll be interested to see if she still has as much faith in her Glock 9 when she recovers.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 10, 2011 10:55 AM

      It was mentioned on the BBC TV news, to be fair. Not the quote, but the fact that she is strongly opposed to gun control. It was left to the viewer to join the dots.

  50. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 9, 2011 4:27 PM

    I don’t think I liked Amon Duul much. Can had a sparer sound which was more to my taste.

  51. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    January 9, 2011 5:31 PM

    Amon Düül II were a tighter heavy-metal unit than Can. They made Embryo sound like beginners and Kraftwerk look cheesy.

  52. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 9, 2011 5:52 PM

    Let’s take this outside.

  53. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    January 9, 2011 6:24 PM

    That’s what my German penpal’s mother used to suggest. Oh, Christ, don’t get me started on that…

  54. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 9, 2011 7:25 PM

    It must have been that Platignum of yours. Quink, quink.

  55. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 10, 2011 12:50 AM

    Heinrich, why don’t we go outside,
    the moon is very bright,
    that pen of yours is still untried,
    I’d like to see it write.

    How smooth and hard and long it is!
    it’s really rather grand,
    what a lovely thing a pen is,
    may I hold it in my hand?

    Am I gripping it too tightly?
    You’re trembling quite a lot,
    ach, mein Gott, I squeezed it slightly
    and now it’s made a blot.

    • reine permalink
      January 10, 2011 8:31 AM

      Masterful MM, “what a lovely thing a pen is”, indeed. Thank you for the morning chuckle.

  56. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 10, 2011 11:08 AM

    You’re too kind, Reine. I hope my poor verses won’t trigger PTSD in HLM. That would be VSI (though I’d like to get him started on the story… It was a dark and stormy night. I was playing ‘Risiko’ with my German penpal Angela when her mother Frau Merkel called me outside…)

  57. Reine permalink
    January 10, 2011 11:20 AM

    Maybe he could “cathartise” by writing it as a contribution to the PH novel.

    “Why Frau Merkel, your Montblancs are truly outstanding.” said Faber…. sort of thing…

  58. mishari permalink*
    January 10, 2011 11:30 AM

    Just out of curiosity, MM (or anyone else), have you watched the TV dramatisations of Michael Dibdin’s Aurelio Zen novels? I enjoyed the books (years ago) but I rarely watch anything on TV. I have, however, downloaded the first 2 episodes.

  59. mishari permalink*
    January 10, 2011 11:35 AM

    PS, Reine, you do know that Faber are an old and well-known maker of pencils? MM could work in all sorts of undercurrents of tension between ‘Faber’ (the pencil: temporary, instinctive, impulsive, disposable…in short, modern) and Mont Blanc (the pen: rigid, unbending, indelible, oppressive…in short, the old order).

  60. Reine permalink
    January 10, 2011 11:45 AM

    Indeed I am aware of that, many’s the Faber has passed through my hands and occasionally been nibbled on.

    In my naivete in hard-pressed bygone student days, I answered an ad seeking unusual fountain pens and found myself in a very dark office with a very strange man with a sizeable collection of Montblancs; he was not interested in my pen but … suffice to say I exited hastily.

  61. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 10, 2011 12:37 PM

    Which unusual fountain pen did you own? I had a Conway Stewart, which was useless, several Platignums and an Osmiroid which lasted till the end of my school career. I can’t remember seeing a Faber pencil. I’ll never forget the expression on my childrens’ faces, on a Lake District holiday, when they were told that we were on our way to Keswick to visit a pencil museum. It was worth having them just for that moment.

    I found the Zen novels a bit slow for my taste. We’ve watched both the TV Zens and enjoyed them, though the wrap-ups are a bit contrived. There’s been a bit of controversy over the use of English regional accents by the er, more rural characters, but it seems a sensible idea to me. Mrs M has a violent aversion to the love interest, which does take up an inordinate amount of time (and is a bit soppy). I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

  62. Reine permalink
    January 10, 2011 12:53 PM

    It was a Waterman I think … not unusual enough for the unusual collector. Montblancs were definitely his primary interest.

  63. January 10, 2011 1:04 PM

    I only remember the Quink ink. The pens were just weapons to be loaded up in the great ink-flicking battles that ensued. Stripes of ink across the face, shirts and walls were a frequent sight just after the teacher’s back was turned. We were so adept at it that he never caught us in the act. Running dry of ink in the crossfire was the ultimate humiliation.

    Before you rush to judgement remember this was Frome, Somerset where the ability to flick ink was looked upon as high literacy.

  64. hic8ubique permalink
    January 10, 2011 3:13 PM

    Here in the sun of a sky-light
    lie, triangular and speckled,
    the offspring of Faber and Miss Castell,
    who was evidently freckled.

    I like a Pilot Varsity these days; lightweight and nearly foolproof.

  65. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 11, 2011 11:54 AM

    Got my TV, but I didn’t realise you have to buy a Sony dongle rather than use your own. Those crafty Orientals. Another £70, which should nicely cancel out my pre-VAT saving. You can’t win.

    Unless you’re a bank exec, of course. To think that I gave Vince Cable even a moment’s consideration as an exception to the usual run of politicians. What a fool I was.

    Seen Zen yet? Suddenly TV is awash with new stuff – fresh Taggart, always watchable for the murrrrrrrdahs and CSI, sadly Grissomless.

  66. January 11, 2011 12:23 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the actor brought in to replace the original Taggart has also died.

    I don’t think I’ve ever watched it – is the name just to keep the franchise running or does the original Mr. T appear in ghost form to help solve the murrrrrdurrrrs.

  67. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2011 12:52 PM

    I watched the first 2 episodes of Zen and quite enjoyed them…they were certainly pleasing to the eye (beautifully chosen and shot locations) and Sewell wasn’t bad at all, resisting all temptations to go the caricature gesticulating-shouting-gesturing Italian route and playing it very cool. I’ll watch again. Like Madam M., I could have done without the lurve interest, but it wasn’t badly done.

    I know what you mean when you say you found the Dibdin books a bit slow: they were. But I think Dibdin was trying to do more than just write ‘crime’ thrillers–he was trying to create a complex portrait of a country he clearly loves (and sometimes, understandably, despairs of). I was OK with that. I think the series is taking its cues from that template–a portrait of the whole man and the society he lives in–his love life, his mother and ex-wife, his friends and his political masters included.

    In an amusing aside, Dibdin wrote a scathing review of the first ‘Sam Bourne’ thriller for the Graun. ‘Bourne’ is actually Grauniad hot-shot scribbler and ‘policy editor’ (whatever the fuck that is) Jonathan Freedland, who promptly flipped his wig, had a screaming fit of outraged writerly ability and demanded that the Graun and the Obs never again commission or publish another review by Dibdin ( a much-respected reviewer of crime fiction).

    Here’s the Grauniad’s reader’s editor Ian Mayes’ disingenuous version:

    A couple of months ago the Guardian’s literary section commissioned the crime writer Michael Dibdin to review a book called The Righteous Men, by Sam Bourne. Sam Bourne is a pseudonym for one of the Guardian’s senior columnists, Jonathan Freedland.

    The review when it arrived was what is commonly called a stinker, so much so, in fact, that the reviewer thought it necessary to attach a note which read, in part:

    “It’s pretty harsh, I’m afraid. If this is a problem for you or anyone else at the paper I’ll settle for a modest kill fee, but it really is the most awful tosh.”

    The literary editor was sufficiently exercised by this health warning to take the fairly unusual step of discussing it with the editor of the Guardian. She pointed out to him the option that the reviewer had thoughtfully suggested, of accepting a kill fee. A kill fee is a sum, usually less than the full fee agreed for a published article, payable in certain circumstances to the writer of a commissioned piece that is written but rejected.

    The editor of the paper discussed the issue with several senior members of his staff, including Jonathan Freedland. He decided, after these discussions, that the literary editor should pay the reviewer the kill fee.-The Grauniad, April 10, 2006

    Of course, Dibdin was absolutely right: Freedland’s shamelessly cynical attempt to cash-in on the Dan Brown phenomenon was pitiably transparent rubbish. I mean, ‘Sam Bourne’? Really?

    So, some clueless mope, not used to reading, much less buying books, is told that ‘he or she must read this new book by…’ dammit…he can’t remember the name…was it Don Braun? Stan Towne? Check the shelf…oh, look…right before Dan Brown, there’s Sam Bourne…bingo…that must be it..

    And it really is putrid stuff. I scanned the first dozen pages and flung it away in disgust. Anyway, Ian Mayes only published that ‘explanation’ after Private Eye had revealed the whole sordid saga and Dibdin’s review had appeared in The Times (it can be read HERE).

    The Grauniad–Valiant For Truth (unless it’s inconvenient or embarrassing).

  68. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 11, 2011 1:19 PM

    I hadn’t seen that before. Quite funny.

    Yes, I meant to say the look of Zen was very good. Could have done without his mamma as well.

    Taggart’s no.2 took over after his demise, but was murdered a few years ago. Alex Burke, who plays the top man now, does a great turn as a moody boss, frequently pop-eyed with anger. Worthy of a better show, really. The Scotch accents are always a pleasure to listen to.

  69. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 11, 2011 1:22 PM

    I mean ‘..murrrrrrrrdddurrrrrrred a few years ago… ‘ Your rendering is better than mine, ET.

  70. January 11, 2011 2:11 PM

    A Scottish uncle of mine used to tell stories of “Reprehensible reprobates you’d rather forget and forgo relocated further than the firth near Forfar” with exaggerated Scots accent If you can get all the r’s rolling on that at speed you’ll have entered the kingdom of Taggart.

  71. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 11, 2011 3:17 PM

    I don’t think a Welsh Taggylth (I’m tempted by Taffart, but I don’t want to offend Captain Ned) would work as well. Murder is an unremarkable crime in Wales anyway, accustomed as they are to murdering the English language. O’Taggart – I can’t think of an Irish detective offhand, though there must be some. Jim Al-Taggarti, slapping the villains around in downtown Kuwait City? Probably not.

    Jim Taggurt, head of Frome CID, has possibilities.

    • January 11, 2011 5:15 PM

      Taggurt – Homicider.

    • Reine permalink
      January 11, 2011 5:55 PM

      Séamas* Ó Tagairt did the rounds here for a while but no one could pronounce his name so he had to change it to Jimmy the Dick.

      *Irish translation of James.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 12, 2011 12:12 AM

      That one escaped me, like the Arabic for Jim. There must be Irish detective series. All I can find is something called ‘Mattie’.

  72. hic8ubique permalink
    January 11, 2011 3:57 PM

    ‘Taffart’ alone is worth the price of admission today.

    Sorry to mention bowels again everyone, but thanks for explaining, MM. Never encountered that treatment before.
    I had to look up ‘dongle’, an appealing word that ought to mean something better, especially at that gouging rate.

    Tagjäger sieht die dunkel dongle Regenbogen an und schreit Mein Gott!

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 11, 2011 10:48 PM

      I’ve been told since the treatment was too radical. Still, I never gain any weight no matter what I eat. Not that much of an advantage to me, but I suppose it’s why society ladies of the 20s had it done.

      I had to buy a dongle for my laptop last year. I felt rather self-conscious asking for one, so I chose a male assistant. Saying ‘Have you got a dongle?’ to a man is not less embarrassing.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 12, 2011 4:16 AM

      I’m glad to know it’s worked for you,MM, since unlike changing medicines you can’t decide to have it put back. I can’t imagine that was a safe thing to do in the 20s. Birdbrains.

      MM: “What have you got for dongles?”
      h: “We’re right out, but here’s a lovely soft herringbone, or try pinkroom; that’s his area.”

      MM:”I’m in need of a dongle.”
      h: “Spanish fellow? he’ll turn up eventually on Poem of the Week.”

  73. January 11, 2011 7:10 PM

    Many thanks for the book, Mishari. A wonderful New Year surprise – if it’s half as good as Byron it’ll be fantastic. I have left a copy of Bravo Two Zero on the steps of Christchurch for you to collect when convenient.

    Amon Dull II are from Munich and recorded some highly regarded and very loose folk-tinged-but-no-less-heavy rock n roll. Their double, Yeti, is mighty. Especially Archangel Thunderbird.

    @HLM – one of those quotes (the bowling ball one) comes from, I think, Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams or someone like that. A lot of them look like students being smartarses. A friend of mine answered the question ‘how did Martin Luther King die?’ on his social science exam with ‘he fell down a hole’. And he knew what he was doing.

    And on the subject of Amon Duul II, here’s Archangel Thunderbird:

  74. January 11, 2011 7:17 PM

    I remember watching this on video many times, nearly 20 years ago, and falling in love with Brosnan, thinking it was the best film ever made, a bit like when I fell in love with Ruper Everett in Dance With a Stranger, when I worked as a Baskin Robbins busboy in a Picadilly Circus cinema. 15 years later, living back home and a regular at my mate’s house, we would both choose vidz and try and speak thru the ones each other had chosen, picking holes in them, with about one in four of ’em, both of us managing to shut up and watch.

    I remember bigging Taffin up, after not seeing it for 15 years, and then, as we watched it and my mate slated it, trying to recapture what it was that originally made me so into it; until realizing that it was Brosnan’s brooding presence; some latent homosexual attraction, that I think we all have, if we just get in touch with that side of ourselves, and maybe, after joining a gay dating site and been on a few nsa dates, knowing if it’s right for us, lads.

  75. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2011 7:26 PM

    It’s not as good as The Road To Oxiana, XB (what is?) but it’s easily half as good or better. I think you’ll enjoy it. He’s more earnest than Byron (though not without humour) but it’s a useful companion volume. Thanks for the Bravo Two Zero coordinates–I’ll have my demolition boys get right on it.

    Clearly, MM has never seen Taggartzscwyi in which Cracow policeman Jerzy Taggartzscwyi tracks down murderers with unpronounceable names or Ten-Hut, in which Chinese military policemen Jim-Mi Ten-Hut pursues inscrutable celestials.

  76. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2011 7:43 PM

    Jesus, Des…whoever wrote the script for that voice-over needs shooting. Mind you, I’ve always liked Brosnan, even though he’s been in some right old shite. He was excellent, however, in the film of Le Carre’s The Tailor of Panama with Geoffrey Rush as the eponymous tailor.

  77. obooki permalink
    January 11, 2011 7:56 PM

    one of those quotes (the bowling ball one) comes from, I think, Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams or someone like that

    It was Douglas Adams: – I spent my entire childhood listening to the radio series over and over again, so that I now have large chunks of it encoded into my brain. This piece is part of a description of the Vogon constructor fleet, which has come to demolish the Earth:

    huge as office blocks, silent as birds, they hung in the air in exactly the same way that bricks don’t

  78. January 11, 2011 8:06 PM

    Thanks, Mishari. I can see the headline now: World-famous Hawksmoor church demolished in McNab-related literary criticism. World approves.

    @obooki, I fear you.

    Actually, I re-read the whole quintilogy or whatever last year in an Omnibus someone lent me in Amsterdam. They get very strange towards the end. Also noted a Dirk Gently adaptation on the BBC a few weeks back. Likeable enough, and answered the all-important question: whatever happened to Helen Baxendale.

  79. January 11, 2011 8:25 PM

    “some latent homosexual attraction, that I think we all have, if we just get in touch with that side of ourselves…”

    strictly a card-carrying Lesbian

  80. January 11, 2011 8:29 PM

    “A friend of mine answered the question ‘how did Martin Luther King die?’ on his social science exam with ‘he fell down a hole’. And he knew what he was doing.”

    Fell off the swivel chair and hit my head in mid-rotation laughing

  81. obooki permalink
    January 11, 2011 8:30 PM

    Yes, I remember there was a guy I met at university who was studying an MA in (for whatever reason) Douglas Adams and James Herbert, who became a bit put out I felt by my knowledge on his specialist subject. He was discussing what the nuclear missiles from the Magrathean (sp?) defence system has transformed into and I suddenly spoke up: “No they didn’t: they turned into “a bowl of petunias and a rather innocent-looking sperm whale””. The subject was subsequently dropped. (“Curiously, the only thing to go through the bowl of petunia’s mind was “Oh no, not again!” … Many men have speculated that if we knew why the bowl of petunias had thought these precise words … ” – or something like; – it exists in sort of barely connected fragments).

    I watched Dirk Gently too. It could have been better, I suppose. I was hoping it might have formed part of a series – though, I think it may have been a pilot of some sort.

  82. January 11, 2011 8:44 PM

    It was a pilot, I just looked it up. Funny how much of Adams’s sense of humour has become part of the conversational DNA, especially (seeing the above exam quotes) of schoolboys. Re-reading the books I found a lot of the jokes rather painful but was forced to reflect that they only seemed hokey and old-hat because they were so incredibly influential. I can remember laughing myself stupid when first reading them. Your recall of the text is similar to my relationship with various comedy cassettes I owned in the eighties – Monty Python, Not the Nine O’Clock News and also things I recorded by holding the tape recorder up to the television.

    A strange fact: no matter how many times I read Mostly Harmless or So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, I can never remember what happens in either of them.

  83. obooki permalink
    January 11, 2011 9:08 PM

    A strange fact: no matter how many times I read Mostly Harmless or So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, I can never remember what happens in either of them.

    It’s true, I can’t either. I re-read Mostly Harmless about 8 years ago (which was the most reason of the five) and I cannot remember one thing about it. I remember more about Dirk Gently. I probably last read it about age 13: but isn’t there a scene where a man, in order to amuse a small girl at a rather boring (Islington) dinner-party, travels back in time and conceals something inside a vase while it’s being made?

  84. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2011 9:11 PM

    Nick Clegg has claimed the result of the Oldham East and Saddleworth byelection will be “really close”. On a visit to the constituency, the deputy prime minister said: “We have knocked on 35,000 doorsteps and we believe it is going to be pretty close.–The Graun, today

    You can see where the Cleggmeister went wrong–knocking on doorsteps is pointless: you need to knock on the actual doors to get what we fake pollsters call ‘data’. Otherwise, you end up with what we fake psychologists call ‘wishful fucking thinking’.

  85. obooki permalink
    January 11, 2011 9:23 PM

    Actually, Mishari, knocking on door-steps is a little-known kabbalistic practice which compels the people inside to support whatever policies you incant whilst knocking.

    Either that or they are divining from the sound of their door-steps which way people will vote.

  86. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2011 9:50 PM

    obooki, I’ll certainly bear that in mind when I launch my ‘Mishari For Intergalactic Lizard Emperor’ campaign.

    ‘Good morning, puny earthling; can I count on your vote?’

  87. obooki permalink
    January 11, 2011 10:24 PM

    I’ve always believed the Milibands were foolish strategically in both joining the Labour Party. One of them should have become a Conservative, so that they head both major parties and then people would have to vote for one of them, like Kang and Kodos in The Simpsons:

    Kang: “You’ve got to vote for one of us, it’s a two-party system.”
    Bystander: “I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.”
    Kang: “Go ahead, throw your vote away.”

  88. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2011 10:36 PM

    I believe there’s a 3rd brother: Steve MillerBand. He could have joined the LibDems. We could have an all-Milliband party leadership.

    Fuck me…The Intergalactic Lizard Emperor Party would win in a landslide…

  89. January 11, 2011 10:47 PM

    Wasn’t Steve Millerband the space cowboy ? Very useful in your campaign.

    Interesting to see who they vote for. Being not far down the road we get the local news on this.

    From the vox-pops I heard the good people of Saddleworth don’t like any of the three. The Labour woman has been flown in, the LibDem has no credibility because of broken pledges and Cameron has thrown the towel in gfor the sake of the Lib Dems. Reckon it could go to the Flying Brick, who is the Monster Raving Loony Party candidate.

  90. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    January 12, 2011 7:09 AM

    Glad to see you managed to come full circle…

    “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’

    Into the future…”

  91. January 12, 2011 10:14 AM

    MM just read your splendid verse on the Sarah Coleridge PotW.

    However first it was the dog and now you’re killing your kids off. Isn’t there that much to do on the IoW?

    Looks like a Taggart is needed although as the culprit is likely to be you it will be difficult to build up tension every week. The other drawback is that there won’t be many people left by the time series ( or is that season?) 2 comes around.

  92. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 12, 2011 11:49 AM

    Sacrifices have to be made for Art, ET.

    BTW, I’m planning a mountaineering expedition next week and I wondered if you’d like to come along. Shouldn’t be a long trip.

  93. January 12, 2011 11:58 AM

    Taggart would have picked up on that last “clue” MM. You’ll be arrested and charged before the third ad-break if you carry on like that.

    • Reine permalink
      January 12, 2011 12:06 PM

      Damn, there I was looking for my hiking boots under the stairs.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 12, 2011 5:03 PM

      All right, I’ve been up and down that potw and I can’t find Clara. Who is she?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 12, 2011 5:04 PM

      I recommend Lowa: their low-top trail-shoe with a creamy leather lining that doesn’t shred at the heel.
      Mind you, I’ve spent years refining such jewels of wisdom.

    • Reine permalink
      January 12, 2011 5:38 PM

      The one who threw her twins down the mountain a la SMP’s quoted Graham verse

      … perhaps Heidi’s best friend who was also a Clara?

    • Reine permalink
      January 12, 2011 5:52 PM

      Thank you Hic … I’ll bear it in mind when Bear Grylls gets in touch.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 12, 2011 10:40 PM

      I don’t know how I missed that. Thanks.

  94. mishari permalink*
    January 12, 2011 1:24 PM

    On the BBC News at One:

    Martha Kearney: …and these bonuses are especially toxic in tax-payer supported banks. What’s going to happen? Robert Peston?

    Fuck Robert Preston, the man with the most peculiar (and irritating speech mannerisms in radio: “Well MarTHA, it’s CLear THAT peoPLE…etc)

    Instead, allow me to peer into my crystal balls, Martha (I’ve got 2 for extra power)…I see…it’s vague…’s clearer…it looks like…yes…it’s nothing at all…

    Hope this helps.

  95. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 12, 2011 5:08 PM

    I think it’s what Clive James used to refer to as ‘plonking’ – placing undue emphasis on random syllables to make what you’re saying sound exciting and relevant and important. Sue Lawley was a major offender, I think. Some of the presenters on South Today are very badly afflicted, which is why I switched to Meridian, even if I do have to endure Fred Dineage.

    • Reine permalink
      January 12, 2011 5:48 PM

      Priests are divils for it during a homily … this recollected from midnight mass…

      And so as we GATHER TOGETHER this Christmas time, WE welcome ALL OUR RETURNED children and PRAY THAT AS THE INFANT Jesus suckled at his mother’s BREAST, we will FIND OUR OWN succour in these TRYING times.

      (cue collective groan)

      I prayed for you all.

    • Reine permalink
      January 12, 2011 6:00 PM

      Goddamnit, meant to syllabise instead of whole words, you’ll get the drift.

  96. mishari permalink*
    January 12, 2011 10:57 PM

    You’ll be pleased to hear, MM, that Southland is back with season 3. They’ll broadcast the 3rd episode next Tue. and I’ll pass those along to you, with a few films: True Grit, The Fighter, Human Resources (a film Steven put me on to that looks fascinating) and some others…Southland, by the way, has started off in cracking good form with the first 2 episodes. Pity Breaking Bad won’t be back until next July.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 12, 2011 11:29 PM

      Thanks for that. Very kind of you. The new series of NCIS (the number one series in the US, apparently) has just kicked off – watched ep. 2 tonight. Not really your cup of tea, I think.

  97. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 12, 2011 11:25 PM

    Anglican priests used to mumble, as though they didn’t quite believe what they were saying (which they probably didn’t, belief being considered rather infra dig in the Church of England of my youth). Their indistinct murmuring contributed to the drowsy torpor of Matins, a late breakfast still heavy on the stomach and the scent of Old Spice, Knight’s Castile and talcum powder heavy on the air. My thoughts were usually focused on the acceptably youthful female forms rising, sitting and bending about me. God punished me for my lustful thoughts by inspiring the vicar to ask me to take round a collection plate one Sunday, when I tripped on the memorial tablet of JOSIAH WILLIAMS, GENT and sent the dishful of buttons, washers and foreign coins ringing and tinkling across the ancient flagstones. Even now, waking in the middle of the night, I still hear those half-smothered feminine titters echoing down the years.

    I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels

    • Reine permalink
      January 12, 2011 11:35 PM

      V amusing MM.

      I had a great devotion to early morning mass during lent at the age of 15 simply to look across the altar at a dashing fellow from the boys’ school dragged there by his mother. When it came to the public kissing of the cross on Good Friday (a most unhygienic practice that still endures), passions had reached fever pitch (the Lord’s and mine own). My sister told me it was unacceptable to French kiss a crucifix. Of course she was exaggerating but I may have been acting out just a little.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:03 AM

      Actually I think that’s covered by Pius III’s encyclical ‘De Gallium Basium Crucifixes’. The tariff is 1000 lashes and permanent exile to Luton.

  98. mishari permalink*
    January 12, 2011 11:30 PM

    A touching tale of youthful gaucherie, MM. I just popped over to Simon’s blog to see how he was and I find that all comments have to be ‘approved by the blog author’. In effect, everybody’s in fucking pre-moderation. Why? What is the bloody point? What is achieved, except the discouraging of any comments at all? Bah.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 12, 2011 11:42 PM

      I had a look. Seems he hasn’t been well at all.
      Perhaps he’ll drop in here, since Russia is in a holding pattern.
      Not many hosts are as sociable as you are, M.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 12, 2011 11:55 PM

      It used to be harder to post on Simon’s blog. I meant to ask why he bothers with pre-mod: perhaps he gets a lot of spammers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any spam on here, or any unusually hostile posters (barring the usual mob, of course).

  99. Reine permalink
    January 12, 2011 11:38 PM

    I kicked over a bucket of holy water at my first wedding, should have recognised it as the omen it was but I just laughed a lot.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 12, 2011 11:44 PM

      That’s our Reine: laughing even as she kicks the bucket.

  100. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 12, 2011 11:49 PM

    A bucket of holy water? What was the priest expecting to happen?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:03 AM

      Absolution via ablution?
      I was a pagan child (with the p in miniscule), merrily oblivious to all church business.

    • reine permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:16 AM

      I suspect the priest felt we needed all the help we could get at 20 and 21 (crazy hippy chick I was then, now just crazy) but the priest left it on the ground beside where I was sitting after blessing the congregation and at the sign of peace, I leapt up to embrace my family and kicked it over.

      Not a patch on the embarrassment I caused myself during my goth phase when, having received communion one fine day, I went to pick the wafer from my hand and place it on my tongue only to see it find it wasn’t there. I couldn’t disrupt the orderly procession of communicants by stopping to look for it and so pretended to put the non-existent wafer in my mouth and carried on. As I dropped my hands to my side and started to walk down the long aisle, I noticed a flutter from out of the sleeve of my great coat immediately followed by an elderly woman wearing dark shades – whom I had always assumed to be almost blind -leaping to her feet shouting “the host, the host, she dropped the host” and pointing at me. I exited stage left onto the mall and smoked a Silk Cut to calm my nerves, which were freshly frayed by the emergence of my father who was horrified to find me with a cigarette in hand.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:39 AM

      That must be a tricky one, theologically speaking (the wafer, not the smoking). In theory I suppose you were dropping a portion of Our Lord. Good job it’s not the Middle Ages.

  101. mishari permalink*
    January 12, 2011 11:53 PM

    The first time I got married, we had the ceremony (being inter-denominational Muslim atheist/ Catholic quasi-atheist) in a very camp Cape Cod boutique hotel/restaurant called The Mad Duck, run by a very charming gay couple. The place was completely over-the-top. I loved it. Anyway, as folk were gathering for the ceremony (we had some sort of free-thinking parson, as I recall), preparatory to the swilling and sluicing (the gay couple made a gigantic wedding-cake out of seafood that had to be seen to be believed), my brother said “what do you have to do to get a real drink around here?” (the pre-ceremony drinking was confined to champagne).

    I led him to the bar (the place was a fucking warren) and conscious that the actual ceremony was virtually upon us (he was my best man) we dispensed with niceties and each grabbed a bottle of spirits from the shelf and guzzled. I thought my head would explode: it was Ron Bacardi 151 (75% alcohol by volume). I must have swallowed the equivalent of half a dozen stiff drinks in one long gulp.

    This led to my saying ‘I do’ earlier and with rather more frequency than is thought strictly necessary. It earned me daggered looks from my almost betrothed and badly muffled giggles from my brother. The whole thing ended in divorce less than a year later. It was a great party, though.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:06 AM

      Cracking stuff. One for the memoirs. Get on it!

  102. mishari permalink*
    January 12, 2011 11:56 PM

    I did leave Simon a message, hic. He just won’t see it until he goes into his dashboard to ‘approve’ it.

    I googled ‘The Mad Duck, Cape Cod’, just to see if it was still in existence. It doesn’t look like it but I found this snippet from the files of The Barnstaple Patriot (local Cape Cod paper):


    The Mad Duck Restaurant in Barnstable Village repainted its Safari Room tavern facade and the town Old King’s Highway historic panel didn’t like it. The tavern building dates to the 1800s when it served town young folk as a school, the Barnstable Academy. OKH Chairman Elliott MacSwan says it’s one of the historic buildings in town. When the Mad Duck was the Bacon Farm Inn, the tavern was called the Academy Tap to recall its historic function. It is on Rte. 6A just east of the village center. The Mad Duck painted the four Doric columns black, and decorated the building façade with a big black elephant and black swaying palm trees to go with the Safari Room bit.

  103. hic8ubique permalink
    January 13, 2011 12:11 AM

    I seem to recall a story of a pink roccoco hotel in Provincetown with a similar flavour…
    Are you a proper Atheist then, M? I thought you seemed more agnostic.
    I’m not at all Theist, but Atheism seems too derivative. It doesn’t work for me conceptually.

  104. mishari permalink*
    January 13, 2011 12:17 AM

    I used to describe myself as ‘agnostic’ but I decided that it was cowardly. I don’t know (obviously) but I certainly don’t believe, nor do I even find myself able to entertain the idea of a God. It’s too preposterous as well as being an entirely unnecessary hypotheses.

    I don’t know what you mean when you say atheism is ‘derivative’. As far as I can see, it’s simply taking the position of disbelief. I don’t believe in Santa Claus or fairies, either. Is that ‘derivative’? Please explain.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:50 AM

      I’ll try.
      By derivative, I mean that to be ‘a- theist’ is to take a position against theism.
      I feel more comfortable disassociating myself from God-oriented ideologies altogether, rather than align myself in response to them. (I haven’t troubled with the question of cowardice.)
      That leaves me free to experience higher states of consciousness apart from the appropriation
      of any belief systems, which matters to me because of their attendant abuse of power, never mind what grains of truth they may have retained.
      It’s not that I don’t believe anything at all, just that what I do believe has been attained through my own experience and perception, not some received story.
      So, for example, I can practise Taoist or Buddhist meditative or yogic techniques because I find them beneficial, without entertaining some attendant agenda.
      The Santa thing is not ‘derivative’ of course. He’s another matter altogether.

      It was a serious question, not a critical one, because you seem to be a determined rationalist, whom is nevertheless open to enquiry.
      If so, that’s a fascinatingly shifting margin, isn’t it?

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 13, 2011 12:53 AM

      who ;)

  105. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 13, 2011 12:49 AM

    And now, seeing my heavy, nodding head
    The wings of angels airlift me to bed.

    Dryden, Queen Mab

  106. mishari permalink*
    January 13, 2011 1:16 AM

    I see what you’re saying, hic, and I guess I wasn’t really clear. What I mean by ‘atheism’ is an active disbelief in any of the ‘deities’ so far held up for my inspection and the active disbelief in any deity of the kind that various faiths would have you believe in.

    I’m not, however, discounting the possibility of some force or power that drives and informs creation (the universe and everything) and possesses aspects that we may, at times, be able to access in some way (through music or art or love, most likely).

    But I don’t think that whatever ‘it’ is, ‘it’ fits comfortably (if at all) within the ‘God’ parameters set out by various theist cults. I guess we’ll all find out eventually…or not.

    ‘In his youth, he’d bang a waitress;
    Now, he only bangs his mattress’.
    –Dibden, King Mug

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 13, 2011 2:27 AM

      We have in the main similar appreciations, though our approaches are (happily enough) individual.
      I’ve often thought you describe the resonance of the soul, which is not the province of the religions, though they will do their damnest to co-opt it.
      Regarding deities: here again there is received nonsense peddled about.
      There are qualities of Quan Yin, Jesus/Jeshua, Gautama the Buddha, Ganesh &c that are well worth embodying (I’m sorry I don’t know more about Mohammed, but suspect he’s of that order) but are appallingly dissipating as objects of worship or ‘belief’.
      Yahweh is a completely disposable bully in my view.
      As far as finding out eventually …after death? I don’t really go for that either. There is the density of third dimensionality to be reckoned with, but our experience of separation is a belief in itself, and we have the capacity now to transcend it and know.

      I understand Mohammed is the most common name for boys worldwide, by the way.
      Sorry if I’m boring everyone~ x

  107. January 13, 2011 11:40 AM

    Given the harsh criticisms expressed by certain readers the Politburo has taken the momentous step of removing its pre-mod rights on the Party’s ‘Rhymes’ blog. The spam detector seems to be working well, catching about 3 comments a day from Kiev escort girls, who even now are being re-educated through labour (in their case canning fish).

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 13, 2011 3:18 PM

      Once I escorted millionaires
      playing roulette or cards,
      they begged to touch my golden hair
      now I gut these pilchards.

      I ate caviare and blinis
      from a platinum dish
      and my perfume was Shalini
      now I stink of fish.

      Once an oligarch’s Holy Grail
      nestled between these thighs,
      now they’re slobbered with fishes’ scales
      Simon Hunter must die.

    • Reine permalink
      January 13, 2011 6:46 PM

      Simon Said … Olga’s Song

      He bade me wear a red skirt
      And take off my brassiere
      I did just as he asked
      Though I thought it rather queer

      He then put on a skirt himself
      And leapt about the room
      Said it was balletic dance
      And touched me in the gloom

      Or so I thought
      But it was his skirt
      Flapping in the breeze
      And when its layers parted
      I saw down to his knees
      A sickle

      Then I fainted.

  108. January 13, 2011 4:05 PM

    First he came for his labrador
    And I said nothing
    For I was not his labrador

    Then he came for his children
    And I said nothing
    For ummm I was not his children

    Then he came for me
    And I said nothing
    Not quite sure really why I didn’t say anything.
    You’d think I would.

    Then he came for Simon
    Bloody hell Mowbray
    Are none of us safe from your poems?

  109. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 13, 2011 4:43 PM

    Hunter, Taylor, dog and children,
    I had to compromise their health,
    I’ve got to find another target
    or I’ll have to start on myself.

  110. Reine permalink
    January 13, 2011 6:24 PM

    A slice of Hic in aspic
    Some Reine on a blini
    Confit of Mish
    Is quite delish
    Served with a salad greeny

  111. mishari permalink*
    January 13, 2011 8:40 PM

    Sic Semper Tyrannis

    As we scaled and gutted cod,
    abandoned by both man and God,
    we vowed that we would kill a cunt, a
    party stooge called Simon Hunter.

    Meanwhile, in the exciting world of feline jurisprudence:

    East Boston cat called to jury duty

    An East Boston family is trying to figure out how their pet cat was summonsed for jury duty.

    “I said, Sal, what’s this? You know, I don’t believe it; I was shocked,” said Guy Esposito, Sal’s owner.

    Sal’s owners, Guy and Anna Esposito, think they may know the source of the mix up: Sal really is a member of the family, so on the last Census form, Anna Esposito listed him under “pets”.

    “I just wrote ‘Sal Esposito’, scratched out the ‘dog,’ and wrote, ‘cat,’” said Anna.

    Anna filed for Sal’s disqualification of service. However, the jury commissioner was unmoved and denied the request.

    Sal’s service date at Suffolk Superior Court is set for March 23. Anna said that if the issue isn’t cleared up by then, she will simply have to bring the cat to court. — (Boston TV news station)

  112. hic8ubique permalink
    January 13, 2011 9:18 PM

    More from the Land of Crazy People:
    As of 1st January, Massachusetts has repealed the 6.25% tax on alcohol. So henceforth we pay tax on a meal in a restaurant, but not on a martini?


    O spare me the amber suspension
    of aspic pickled hic.
    Neither slice me up into declension
    with condiments slathered on thick.

    Since I deeply believe in Santa Claus,
    I’m sure I deserve a roasting,
    but now that I’m soon to turn fifty (*gasp*)
    I’d be most receptive to toasting.

    • Reine permalink
      January 13, 2011 9:28 PM

      Hic, are you really nearing 50? Will you email me your address and the date; that would merit a birthday limerick in the post! I would never suspend you in aspic other than fictionally.

      My mother is a Sal – short for Sarah. She has a violent reaction to anyone adding an “ly” onto the end of it.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 13, 2011 11:50 PM

      You write like a younger woman.

      I’m not sure if that sounds like a compliment.

    • January 13, 2011 10:02 PM

      They always tax the wrong things. Idea: tax every appearance of the words “hero” or “miracle” in American mainstream media and use the proceeds to pay for health care…

    • mishari permalink*
      January 13, 2011 10:17 PM

      Tax the words ‘liberty’, ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ and you could fund the settlement of Mars.

  113. mishari permalink*
    January 13, 2011 9:41 PM

    Wow….are the state’s finances really in such robust health that they can afford to forego alcohol tax? I read that the Illinois legislature have just passed a 66% rise in state tax and many other states and cities are likely to default on their bonds.

    Seems odd to remove alcohol tax while leaving the tax on food, especially for a state as ‘progressive’ as Massachusetts. Weird.

  114. mishari permalink*
    January 13, 2011 10:10 PM

    I hope you don’t mind, Steven, if I link to your excellent post on Vonnegut. I meant to do it earlier and just remembered. Highly recommended reading.

  115. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 14, 2011 12:05 AM

    Read and enjoyed. I don’t know Vonnegut’s work well, but your trenchant style is always impressive.

    • January 14, 2011 12:53 AM

      MM, I’d swear you wrote that with a sardonic cackle; appreciated nevertheless

  116. hic8ubique permalink
    January 14, 2011 12:12 AM

    I don’t want to think about him giving you toe-curling pleasure, Thank you Very Much, Steven.

    Massachusetts is certainly not in a robust condition, they’ll chop off another 1000 teachers, I suppose, and go on to mandate further unfunded improvements to cities.
    I’m *still* delusional enough to think that things won’t happen if I vote against them for being obviously stupid…Wrong.

    Like what, Mowbray? O-levels?

    The 25th, Reine. I’ll mail you, and return the honour… sometime in April I recall?
    I’ve never yet had any trouble with decade birthdays. So far, I wouldn’t go backwards for anything.

    • January 14, 2011 12:56 AM

      “I don’t want to think about him giving you toe-curling pleasure, Thank you Very Much, Steven.”

      M and I are too secure in our chest-furred masculinity to worry about… etc., Hic

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 14, 2011 1:35 AM

      No, quite; I was over-reaching my chalk-line.

  117. January 14, 2011 12:59 AM

    PS And you don’t have to answer this if you’d rather not but which one of you just came to the site on the search phrase “”tea party movement” starts huge menstrual orgy while listening to the chameleon king” …?

  118. January 14, 2011 12:06 PM

    There’s a documentary on Sister Rosetta Tharpe tonight on BBC4. It’s more than likely to have footage from a programme that Granada TV did up in Manchester where the musicians ( Muddy Waters and Sister Rosetta amongst others ) played on a platform of a disused Mcr railway station and the audience sat watching on the platform opposite. Completely eccentric but some great playing and singing.

  119. mishari permalink*
    January 14, 2011 1:41 PM

    I’d noted that as a ‘must watch’, Ed. This is great, too:

  120. January 14, 2011 2:15 PM

    He died in the cause of the folk.
    The service? It made ‘em all choke
    in the popular front. A
    fishy leftie called Hunter
    expired in opium smoke.

    • hic8ubique permalink
      January 14, 2011 5:42 PM

      Our comrade from Ceri-di-gen-shire
      wanderlusted with sense of adventure.
      The last we heard, Hunter
      joined up with a junta,
      pish-tushing all protest and censure.

    • Reine permalink
      January 14, 2011 5:56 PM

      New Year Resolution Update…

      Never agree to allowing the male medical student witness the disrobing dance of the seven veils. I traumatised both of us.

    • Reine permalink
      January 14, 2011 9:05 PM

      A leading Pinko called Si
      Was prone to get a bit high
      He grabbed the aide’s tits
      As she did the splits
      Crying “if you don’t do me, I’ll die”

  121. January 14, 2011 7:17 PM

    Hunter swiftly became number one Hunted
    Too many party members had he affronted
    His louche western ways
    Caused temperatures to be raised
    And demands for his status to be stunted.

  122. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 14, 2011 7:45 PM

    A keen young Commie called Hunter
    asked to be a Popular Fronter,
    ‘Fuck off you git,
    our members are fit,
    and frankly you’re a munter.’

  123. mishari permalink*
    January 14, 2011 8:42 PM

    An eager young Commie named Simon
    grabbed the slick Party pole and was climbin’
    but his boss had the urge
    for a quick Party purge
    and an aide with big tits and a hymen.

    • Reine permalink
      January 14, 2011 9:06 PM

      A leading Pinko called Si
      Was prone to get a bit high
      He grabbed the aide’s tits
      As she did the splits
      Crying “if you don’t do me, I’ll die”

      Sorry, having some non-sequitur problems today.

  124. Reine permalink
    January 14, 2011 9:14 PM

    I am reminded by Mish’s verse of an anecdote in which my mother announced the death of her cousin Reine’s husband in the US.

    “Reine’s Hyman is dead” says she.

    “Oh long ago, mother” said my wisecrack sister.

  125. hic8ubique permalink
    January 14, 2011 9:57 PM

    Low Res

    Imbibe more water
    Eschew all haste
    Lose an inch
    about my waist
    Adhere to a budget
    Balance the books
    Scour the soot
    in the inglenooks
    Banish clutter
    Tolerate bores
    Be grateful for meatloaf
    Don’t kick when he snores
    Pardon failings
    Be on time
    Never make
    Serious Topics
    Entertain neighbours
    Grow my own veg
    Finish some of the books
    on the windowledge
    Forget and forgive
    Bestow rather than lend
    Shoot not any messengers
    (Heaven forfend)
    Embrace the brute
    who forgot to shave
    Accept that a bulldog
    just won’t behave
    Suffer fools gently
    Forbear to scoff
    Be patient with drivers
    who cut me

    If I’d promised,
    they’d all now
    be down the
    chute; I’m
    as ever

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 14, 2011 11:26 PM

      That’s very good. I think you dead heat with Reine for the New Year honours.

  126. Reine permalink
    January 14, 2011 11:47 PM

    Hic’s poem is great and I am humbled to be namechecked in the same bracket. Thank you. She is some woman, writing poems, throwing birthday parties and God knows what else in the same 24 hour period. I think she missed your comment about writing like a younger woman.

    Btw, Before Meltonia was my personal fave…catch the bouquet?

    I do love to see the Cinderella-like greening of the screen late in the evening.

    Mish, hope the head not too light. My teabags remain untouched, which is probably why I got sick. Next week…

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 15, 2011 12:27 AM

      Thanks, Reine. I was going to mention your ‘audit for 2010’ earlier but was sidetracked by the seaweed.

      I think Hic caught the comment – that was what the O level thing was about. Seeing her reference to her upcoming birthday I was thinking about those insincere phrases one uses ‘Forty? You don’t look a day over seventeen, my dear!’ and thought I’d try the epistolary version. Looks a bit rude, though.

    • Reine permalink
      January 15, 2011 12:30 AM

      Of course, I missed that. S

    • Reine permalink
      January 15, 2011 12:33 AM

      Don’t know what happened there – she would never suspect you of rudeness. The seaweed was supposed to herald the new improved me but I would have been as well to fashion a wig from it.

      Goodnight Mowbs.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      January 15, 2011 12:57 AM


      Mrs M was talking to a female colleague last week and mentioned that she thought two of the younger staff members were interested in each other.

      ‘Really?’ said the colleague, a woman in her forties, ‘He gave me the once-over the other day, I thought he might prefer the older woman.’
      ‘Oh?’ said Mrs M, ‘I haven’t noticed anything like that.’
      ‘Well, there are limits.’

      Rather funny. Only a few years away, hic.

  127. mishari permalink*
    January 14, 2011 11:59 PM

    Yes, fine poem by hic. Here’s my last year’s resolution verse:

    New Year’s Irresolution

    As I puff on a Cuban cigar
    And nibble a chocolate biscuit,
    A snifter of brandy
    Is parked somewhere handy
    To help me digest the beef brisket;
    I briefly consider improving my health
    But quite frankly, at my age, why risk it?

  128. January 15, 2011 12:00 AM

    lol… I am playing hookie from work and came across your post, love it great idea. I will subscribe, can’t wait for the next one :) ~SW

  129. hic8ubique permalink
    January 15, 2011 3:03 PM

    I recognise that one of yours, Mishari. Memorable.
    It must have had a subliminal effect. I’ve really never gone in for New Year’s resolutions, being more of a late March New Year celebrant, when it actually feels like a new year.

    Dear MM, I took it as the compliment it was, not at all rude.
    You may remember me as the bright young thing of 48 I was when we had our first tit-for-tat on the books blog. Honestly, I’m healthy as a horse, so I’ve nothing to complain about. If I were to start being old now, I’d have to carry on with it for another 40 years, and that would become tedious.

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