Friday, March 30, 2007

Middle names

It occurred to me, when writing a recent post, that Snoop Doggy Dogg has dropped his middle name in recent years, and is now just known as Snoop Dogg. I suppose lots of people have embarrassing middle names. Luckily his first and last names are fairly innocuous.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Slipping into Work

For around the past two years I have a recurring paranoid thought on the way to work: am I wearing slippers? Because family life results in a bit of a morning rush, there is a need to be mentally on-the-ball, and I know one day I’ll forget to do something fundamental. I’m convinced this will be not changing out of casual household footwear into a sensible pair of shoes/boots.

The paranoia can strike at any time between leaving the house and arriving at the office and I have no choice but to check my feet whenever the thought occurs.

If walking, a swift glance down at my feet will go relatively unnoticed. If on a train, I can pretend to be momentarily fascinated by something on the floor. As I drive to work these days though, it requires taking my eye off the road, if only for a second or two, which is potentially hazardous. Maybe the answer is to set up an elaborate system of mirrors just to put my mind at ease.

Gin & Juice? Milk & Cereal…

“Come on Britain,’ Snoop Dogg embarrassingly implored in a TV interview yesterday after being told recently that he wouldn’t be allowed a UK visa, ‘we let in the Beatles, how about letting me in?’

Hmm, it’s not the best comparison. To my knowledge, John, Paul and George never had weapons and drugs charges filed against them in the US stemming from three separate arrests. Ringo however, has been guilty of heinous crimes against singing and has never been fully punished.

His (Snoop’s, not Ringo’s) spokeswoman said he was "mystified" at the decision, which has resulted from violent disorder and affray at Heathrow Airport. There’s nothing overly mystifying about. From what I understand, it’s resulted from violent disorder and affray at Heathrow Airport.

For me, there’s something about Mr Dogg which has always made him look a bit like the “school spanner” in the Academy of Gangsta Rap. His weedy likkle frame is somewhat at odds with his muscle-bound, testosterone-oozing absurdly-tattooed chums. With his sullen cheekbones and gangly arms, he looks more like one of those weedy kids who got picked on in the playground, despite sitting on his own and minding his own business, munching a lunchbox full of cheese sandwiches. Or in his case, maybe a nice juicy bone.

That said, he has tried his best to keep up with his peers, even to the point of being held on suspicion of murder. It seems you get a better class of celebrity murderer in the US. Over there you get Snoop Dogg and OJ Simpson, whereas all we can offer here is Lesley Grantham and possibly Barrymore (though manslaughter doesn’t really count in my eyes).

Incidentally, Mr Dog was chosen as the new name for Caesar dog food a while ago. Whichever marketing genius thought more people were likely to buy a product that sounded like it was the idea of a particularly unimaginative six-year old child was sadly mistaken. It’s like when Coco Pops were foolishly (and briefly) renamed to Choco Crispies in the mid ‘90s. The advertisers couldn’t even be bothered to alter the jingle to account for the change in metre: “We’d rather have a bowl of Choco Crispies!” What? There’s an extra syllable in there, has no-one noticed? Rubbish…Consequently, there was uproar from chocolate cereal munching lobbyists who promptly demanded that it was changed back again. Which it was.

Now what was I talking about? Oh yes, Snoop Dogg. Don’t let him in, his music’s kak anyway.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Good Life

We recently moved to a house with a garden and, like good little Tom and Barbaras we also have a composter into which we throw all kinds of decomposable stuff (including the vegetables that we’re not that fond of which live in the fridge until time’s winged chariot renders them inedible).

We don’t pretend to know much about green-fingered shenanigans, though our position as novice 21st century gardeners was never more apparent than the other day when my wonderwife tossed a whole broccoli floret into the composter despite it (the floret) being still in the vacuum-packed cellophane at the time.

Maybe by sprinkling the resulting mulch around the vegetable patch we could have produced some pre-packed runner beans or ready-chopped bagged salad. It’s such a hassle doing it yourself.

[disclaimer: just to clarify – my wonderwife is aware of the non-decompositional qualities of plastics, and neglected to remove the cellophane because she forgot to, rather than thinking it was okay to pop it in. But that’s not as entertaining a story.]

Who ate all the Pukka Pies?

Britain is putting on weight and the evidence is all around. The most cursory of glances up and down the cake aisle at Tesco will reveal a gaggle of bloaters jostling for the cream buns – men with gargantuan T-shirts stretched tightly over a precipice of gut and women so impressively bingo-winged they probably spend their weekends catching thermals off Beachy Head.

The media is gleefully portraying an epidemic of Stateside proportions in which no-one is immune to the lure of the supersize McWhopper. Judging by his ever-widening face, even Jamie Oliver is clearly reluctant to practice what he preaches. Maybe the only reason he’s so militant in his efforts to dissuade school kids from their Turkey Twizzlers is so he can snaffle them all himself when he’s not hovering around the tuck shop brandishing a fiver and emerging gleeful with a fistful of Curly Wurlys.

Even so though, there is an entirely disproportionate amount of programmes about obesity on telly, including You Are What You Eat with Gillian McKeith (who, if the title of her show is true, must spend her days munching bags of spanners) Celebrity Fat Club, Help, My Dog’s As Fat As Me, Freaky Eaters and The Eight-Tonne Teenager (bizarrely, only one of these is made up). I reckon this is to make the rest of us feel vindicated in cracking open that second bar of chocolate or indulging in a second helping of ice cream.

If I was a paranoid conspiracy theorist I might assume that the food marketing boards and TV programme makers are in cahoots in order to make us buy more of their products. But I’m not. So I won’t.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nice things, happy thoughts...

It was a criticism recently levelled at this blog that the tone was a bit “ranty”. Which is fair enough, given that it seems to be the human condition (unless you’re a Christian or don’t get out much) that it’s generally easier to describe the things you don’t like than the things you do.

So, by way of counterpoint, here’s a list of things I really like, not in priority order (apart from the first one):

- My luverlee faaahmily
- Very strong coffee
- The smell of a bookshop
- Heinz Tomato Soup (with white bread dunkers)
- Viz
- Computer games
- Guinness
- Linen shirts
- Morrissey
- Snowboarding
- London
- Stephen Fry
- Cheesy pasta
- Messing around with power tools
- Charles Dickens
- Basketball trainers
- Alan Partridge

There are probably tumps more, but these immediately spring to mind.

Happy now Dan? ;)

"Don't take money, don't take fame. Don't need no credit card to ride this train [unless you're buying high-calorie snacks from the buffet car]"

I saw a recent unflattering picture of an ageing Huey Lewis the other day. It seems that the power of lunch is a curious thing – it makes one man weep and another man gain three stone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bad Matrix looky-likeys

Keanu Reeves is directly responsible for adding a splash of humour to the great British High Street in recent years.

As Neo (a be-shaded, outrageously-cool and mysterious super-human from a cyber-reality) in The Matrix, he's inspired a certain disillusioned generation to mimic an immediately identifiable style. Amusingly though, the individuals he seems to have inspired are the least equipped to pull the look off.

Britain has always had a proud heritage of spotty teenagers and geeks, though a notable proportion now shamble round the streets dressed in bargain-basement facsimiles of Neo’s trademark ankle-length leather coat which look more like they've been constructed from bin-bags than cow-hide.

With Terry Pratchett novels tucked one of a multitude of pockets and a Red Dwarf T-shirt dutifully ironed by mum, they shuffle around shopping centres up and down the land; though rather than flouting the space/time continuum by switching effortlessly between dark reality and an alternative netherworld, these lonely individuals tend to stroll past Dixons, looking glum and glinting toothily due to the fact that they typically have less skin pigmentation than those weird translucent fish at the bottom of the Marianas Trench that never experience sunlight and explode if brought to the surface. They probably work in IT and are able to spell their names in both Klingon and Elvish.

Bizarrely, the coat also never leaves their shoulders irrespective of temperature. It’s practical in the winter months to keep warm, though it can be hazardous in the summer where exhaustion and heatstroke cause the wearer’s shoulders to drop, placing the hem in imminent peril of being scuffed or smeared with dog shit.

They’re harmless enough though. I look on them as I might look upon a five-year old out shopping in Tesco with his mum, dressed from top to toe in a Spiderman costume and emitting high-pitched "Ka-Pow!"s while leaping in and out of the aisles. Let 'em have their likkle Matrix costumes I say. Bless 'em all.

Under Siege (and a bucket)

Steven Seagal was on telly the other night and I’m sure my wonderwife couldn’t have been the only viewer to point out his startling resemblance to Nadia from Big Brother.

Even more peculiar than this though is the shape of his head, which is best described as a semi-regular polygon. It’s the sort of head you might see on a Tom & Jerry cartoon in which a bucket falls on Tom’s head and is subsequently ‘panged’ with a shovel by Jerry, causing it to emerge ‘upturned-bucket-shaped’.

I suppose if you wanted to convincingly create the likeness of a minor Hollywood C-lister in your own home: take one upturned bucket and paste a life-sized picture of a reality TV transsexual onto the front, and hey presto! Watch Steven Seagal appear before your very eyes...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Snippets of news

Some items I saw on today:

"Physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter are to write a science book for children which will be "a bit like Harry Potter, but without the magic"" This can be easily reworded as 'a bit like a bestseller, but without the bits which made it a bestseller'.

"TV shows like Big Brother can humiliate people "for public entertainment", the Church of England warns." Hmm, and the promotion of imaginary rulers who live in the sky and judge our every thought and action with the intention of either allowing us into utopia or condemning us to eternal torture is tickety-boo I suppose? It's a very big pot, and a very small kettle…

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Moaning about "the weather"

I harbour an entirely irrational hatred of "the weather". By "the weather" I don’t mean the changing climatic conditions or the segue from one season to the next (I understand that it needs to be both rainy and sunny, and it's foolish to argue either way), but rather the five minute snippet tagged onto the end of news programmes in which some nondescript individual in an invariably poorly-fitting suit drones lifelessly on about "high pressure fronts drifting in from the mid Atlantic etc."

I'm not being irrational. If I tally up the amount of time I've spent sitting in front of a televised map of the British Isles while a gawky nobody waves his arms about like a tired semaphore operator, I'm shocked.

Time on earth is short - ninety years if you're lucky - and "the weather" is collectively responsible for wasting days of my life in which I've learned precisely nothing. That's why I've decided not to watch it anymore. And if, horror of horrors, I occasionally get caught outdoors without an umbrella or end up wearing one layer of clothing too much, then so be it. It's time to throw caution to the wind (drifting in from the mid-Atlantic… etc.)