Thursday, 30 August 2007

Health food

I remember my mum always telling me to eat my greens. "They're good for you!" she'd say. And she was right - these days I genuinely like, and eat, most vegetables.

My palate does, however, have its limits and this story from China doesn't just overstep them, it steamrollers them.

There are many thousands of Chinese restaurants around the world and everyone has their favourite dish, but it seems that in China itself chefs specialise in a range of slightly more 'unusual' delicacies.

Most of them are penises. And most of them are supposed to have some sort of therapeutic qualities.

So what have we got on the menu?

Well, first there's Russian dog's penis and testicles, which is good for virility. Add to that Salami-sized donkey dick - ditto on the virility front - and a kind of penis hotpot or fondue which is apparently low in cholesterol and good for a whole range of ailments, not just the male sex drive.

Then there's tiger penis.

This is both rare and expensive but has exactly the same taste and 'medicinal properties' as all the other animals' private parts. Indeed, there have been accusations from animal rights group that this kind of trade is endangering the existence of tigers in China, though the restaurant owners - or nutritionists, as they prefer to be called - say that they only take the penises of tigers who've died from old age. My question here is this: where's the virility in that? To be fair, they reckon they only get a couple of orders a year for that particular delicacy, due in main to its elevated cost, so Im'not sure how far that would go to endagering a species.

Snakes apparently have two penises and you can also get them here. They've very potent it seems. And sheep, horse, ox and seal penises are all good for circulation.

Dicks are not all they've got on offer though. Bull's perineum is another delicacy. Bon apetit!

And we can't forget the pièce de résistance from the menu - something that'll really make you go mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Who in their right mind could ever order aborted reindeer foetus? It's apparently good for the skin so maybe there's a always queue of eczema sufferers waiting for tables in that particular restaurant....

Me? I think I'll stick to spring roll, egg-fried rice and beef chow mein.

Full story on the BBC.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Toilet humour

From Sporting Life's live commentary on Liverpool's Champions League qualifier with Toulouse:

'Crouch looks for goal but from six yards out on the far left-hand side of the Toulose (sic) penalty area the striker sends his shit just wide of Douchez's near post.'

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Monday, 27 August 2007

Ryanair vs. The Vatican

Further to my recent posts about the Vatican starting up a pilgrims' airline and my look at the thoughts of Ryanair's controversial boss, here's something linking the two.

It seems that the Vatican aims to undercut Ryanair - which itself flies most of the proposed routes for the church's service - by about 15-20%.

The ever-friendly Ryanair has hit back with this gem: "Ryanair already performs miracles that even the Pope's boss can't rival."

Friday, 24 August 2007

"I see myself as a jumped-up Paddy running a good airline that gives great fares and screws British Airways."

Michael O'Leary, head of the controversial low-cost carrier Ryanair (one of Wired magazine's "top 40 companies driving the global economy"), certainly never minces his words. He was famously quoted a couple of years ago, when asked about demands the Belgian authorities had made for the return of €3.5m in subsidies received by the airline: "We have written back to say fuck off."

Here are a few more of his gems:

"For years flying has been the preserve of rich fuckers. Now everyone can afford to fly."

"Screw the travel agent. Take the fuckers out and shoot them. What have they done for passengers over the years?"

"We don't fall all over ourselves if they... say my granny fell ill. What part of no refund don't you understand? You are not getting a refund so fuck off."

"Weber [Lufthansa's chief executive] says Germans don't like low fares. How the fuck does he know? He's never offered them any. The Germans will crawl bollock-naked over broken glass to get them."

"There is too much: 'we really admire our competitors'. All bollocks. Everyone wants to kick the shit out of everyone else. We want to beat the crap out of BA. They mean to kick the crap out of us."

"Free tickets. In a decade or so, airlines will pay travellers to distribute people around Europe. The airline industry is Tesco, is Ikea, is network TV in the way viewers watch for free and advertisers pay for access to them, is the internet in the same way that websites earn money for delivering click-through traffic to other sites."

“Business books are bullshit and are usually written by wankers.”


Ah Stan Ridgway: leader of Wall of Voodoo, whose song Mexican Radio was excellently covered (albeit from as far left field as you can imagine) by Celtic Frost on Into the Pandemonium, played with Frank Black on Show Me Your Tears.... and of course made this great record in 1986.

It was in the jungle wars of 65
My weapon jammed and I got stuck way out and all alone
And I could hear the enemy movin in close outside
Just then I heard a twig snap and I grabbed my empty gun
And I dug in scared while I counted down my fate
And then a big marinecca giant, with a pair of friendly eyes
Appeared there at my shoulder and said wait.

When he came in close beside me, he said don't worry, son, Im here
If charlie wants to tangle now, he'll have two to dodge
I said, well, thanks a lot! I told him my name and asked him his
And he said the boys just call me camouflage

Woah-oh-oh-oh, camouflage
Things are never quite the way they seem
Woah-oh-oh-oh, camouflage
I was awfully glad to see this big marine

Well, I was gonna ask him where he came from, when we heard the bullets fly
Comin' through the brush, and all around our ears
It was then I saw this big marine light a fire in his eye
And it was strange, but suddenly, I forgot my fears

Well, we fought all night, side by side, we took our battle stance
And I wondered how the bullets missed this man
cause they seemed to go right through him just as if he wasnt there
And in the mornin we both took a chance and ran
And it was near the riverbank when the ambush came on top of us
And I thought it was the end, and we were had
Then a bullet with my name on it came buzzin through a bush
And that big marine, he just swat it with his hand
Just like it was a fly...

And I knew there was something weird about him,
cause when I turned around,
He was pullin a big palm tree up outta the ground
And swattin those charlies with it from here to kingdom come

When he led me outta danger I saw my camp and waved goodbye
He just winked at me from the jungle and then was gone
When I got back to my HQ, I told 'em about my night
And the battle I'd spent with a big marine named camouflage
When I said his name, the soldier gulped, and a medic took my arm
And led me to a green tent on the right
He said you may be tellin' true, boy, but this here is camouflage
And hes been right here since he passed away last night
In fact, hes been here all week long...
But before he went, he said semper fi, and said his only wish
Was to save a young marine caught in a barrage
So here, take his dog tag, son, I know hed want you to have it now
And we both said a prayer for a big marine named camouflage

So next time youre in a jungle fight, and you feel a presence near
Or hear a voice that in your mind will lodge
Just be thankful that youre not alone youve got some company
From a big marine the boys call camouflage

Hup, hey-ho, hey, left... left...
Woah, woah, camouflage
Hey, hey-ho, ho, left... left...
Woah, woah, camouflage

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Vatican to launch pilgrim flights

I’ve just read that the Vatican is starting a new charter service to fly pilgrims to global holy sites.

So much for the camino de Santiago then.

According to the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, cabin crew "specialised in the voyages of a sacred nature" will man the planes. Is that a reference to last rites?

The interiors will be decorated with sacred inscriptions such as seat covers with the words: "I search for your face, Lord," written on them. Presumably that’s for when you have to adopt the brace position.

I can’t help but wonder how they’ll manage the pricing of this. Will it be a low-cost carrier with ‘holy water’ costing an arm and a leg on board? How much for the sacrament?

They could charge for ‘mile high confessions’ as well.

One thing’s for sure, at 35,000 feet passengers will certainly be closer to their maker than with both feet on solid ground. 35,000 feet closer.

So fucking what?

Anti-Nowhere League vs. Metallica. This song was actually banned in the UK when it was first released as a b-side to the Anti-Nowhere League's cover of Streets of London and later on the band's first album. Disaster struck as police confiscated thousands of vinyl records featuring the song under the Obscene Publications Act. Apparently it was something to do with being offensive - a bit like that guy's t-shirt I reported on a few posts ago.

When Metallica play this live, James Hetfield normally replaces the "I've been to Eastbourne too" line with the name of whatever city they're playing in. There are some other minor lyrical differences between the two versions. Hetfield normally swaps "cunt" for "fuck" - as in "you boring little fuck" - which I guess is more meaningful for the septics, and when talking about the goat zoophilia he changes the original line "I've had my cock right down its throat" to the slightly more violent "I rammed my cock right down its throat." Which is nice.

Of course Metallica are quite well known for their punk covers having done versions of the Misfits' Die Die My Darling, Last Caress and Green Hell. They also covered a lot of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands of the 80s - like Diamond Head and Budgie. Am I Evil or Breadfan, anyone?

Anyhow, here are the lyrics. Offensive? Nah....

So fucking what!

Well I've been to Hastings
And I've been to Brighton
I've been to Eastbourne too
So what, so what

Well I've been here
And I've been there
And I've been every fucking where
So what, so what

So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you

Well I've sucked sweets
And I've sucked rock
And I've even sucked an old man's cock
So what, so what

Well I've fucked a sheep
And I've fucked a goat
I've had my cock right down its throat
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I've drunk that
And I've drunk this
And I've spewed up on a pint of piss
So what, so what

And I've had scag
I've had speed
I've jacked up until I bleed
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I've had crabs
And I've had lice
And I've had the pox and that ain't nice
So what, so what

Well I've fucked this
And I've fucked that
And I've even fucked a schoolgirl's crack
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Who cares, who cares about you
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you....

Monday, 20 August 2007

Swords of a thousand men

A blast from the past. We actually managed a fairly decent cover of this in my old band, The Plant She Killed, though I seem to remember we only played it at one gig. I was surprised to see Eddie Tenpole presenting The Crystal Maze on Channel 4 the last time I was in the UK. You may remember that Richard O'Brien, of Rocky Horror fame, used to have that particular honour.

Friday, 17 August 2007

T4 translations

Again, sin comentarios....

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Big Brother

Everybody loves Wikipedia but just how accurate is it?

I remember the story last March when a Wikipedia editor was revealed to be a 'fake professor'. The guy said he taught both undergraduate and graduate theology at a private university. He edited articles on the site and also had the authority to arbitrate disputes between authors. In an interview with the New Yorker in July 2006, he was described as a "tenured professor of religion." In reality he was Ryan Jordan, 24, a college student from Kentucky who used texts such as Catholicism for Dummies to write his entries in Wikipedia. At the time I thought 'What's wrong with that? You've got to be a dummy to be a Catholic....'

Given that the so-called experts might not be all they're cracked up to be, what about the content itself? How much of it is balanced, unbiased information, and how much is mere propaganda?

Well, according to the BBC, Wikipedia itself has a tool - the Wikipedia Scanner - which reveals the identities of organisations that edit the online encyclopaedia’s pages through checks on the IP addresses accessing the site and making the edits.

The tool has thrown up some interesting results. I know that everyone has their own version of 'the truth' but maybe this is going a bit too far.

For example, the CIA has defaced the Wikipedia page about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, adding the exclamation "Wahhhhhh!" before a section on the leader's plans for his presidency. I know the guy's mad but do they really have to make him seem like such a slobbering lunatic?

In their defence the CIA says: "The CIA has a vital mission in protecting the United States, and the focus of this agency is there, on that decisive work." By this I suppose they mean supporting fascist dictators, operating torture facilities and other secret prisons, drug smuggling, kidnapping and backing terrorist organisations.

The Vatican has also changed the entry on Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. They removed links to newspaper stories written in 2006 that alleged that Mr Adams' fingerprints and handprints were found on a car used during a double murder in 1971. I can only think that this is because they're all such good Catholics in Ireland.

The US Democratic Party has made changes to the site of right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The changes brand Mr Limbaugh as "idiotic," a "racist", and a "bigot". An entry about his audience now reads: "Most of them are legally retarded." Whilst no doubt true, this is probably the not the most ideal entry in an unbiased online encyclopaedia.

Diebold, a US company which supplies electronic voting machines, has also carried out a bit of creative editing. First they removed paragraphs about Walden O'Dell, chief executive of the company, which revealed that he had been "a top fund-raiser" for George Bush. Then they deleted other paragraphs and links to stories about the alleged rigging of the 2000 election. Dodgy, dodgy.

So what does Wikipedia say about their new tool? "We really value transparency and the scanner really takes this to another level. [It] may prevent an organisation or individuals from editing articles that they're really not supposed to."

That much may be true given what's been revealed so far. But one thing's for certain - despite its obvious drawbacks, if people are going to these lengths to 'polish' entries, the powers-that-be must think Wikipedia has a lot of power to influence the masses.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Pratt wears 'offensive' t-shirt

I'm not saying the guy's an idiot - in fact I think it's ridiculous and idiotic to suggest that a t-shirt could 'incite violence' - indeed, Mr Pratt seems to know which side his bread's buttered on. After being threatened with an £80 fine if he wears the shirt again in Peterborough, he says "If I get a written apology I will wear it in the city centre again." Nothing to do with the prospect of having to cough up 80 quid then?

Or is this apology talk really about freedom of expression? Says Pratt, an American living in the UK: "It's a bummer because I like the shirt but I am trying to get citizenship but if I get a fine I can kiss citizenship goodbye."

So British citizenship is more important than our freedom to express ourselves, is it?

And talking of 'offensive' clothes - FCUK anyone?

This story from the BBC reminded me of when I was kicked out of the Lemon Grove student union bar at Exeter University for wearing a baseball cap that said 'FUCK OFF' on the front. Contrast that with the warm welcome I received at the Doral in Miami wearing the t-shirt in the photo below.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Delamarca vs. Skolnik

Delamarca and Skolnik playing at Gruta '77 on 10 August, 2007. Motherfuckers!!!!!!!!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Black Sunday, 1960

From Mario Bava, the man who brought us the first ever giallo film (The Girl Who Knew Too Much, 1963), the first ever slasher movie (Bay of Blood, 1971) and the film on which Alien is based (Planet of the Vampires, 1965) - apart from this fine example of gothic horror. He was also one of the major influences on and mentors of Dario Argento.

Indeed, Bava was reported to be behind the impressive underwater scene in Inferno (1980) where Irene Miracle tries to retrieve her dropped keys from a flooded ballroom only to 'stumble across' the painting of the one of the three mothers and then her frenzied escape from a corpse that stubbornly pursues her despite its dismembered, disintegrating state.

The red and blue lighting in the cellar that leads to the underwater ballroom is so very Mario Bava as well. Black Sunday, despite its monochrome, boasts some of the most beautiful low budget lighting ever seen. Truly haunting.

Balck Sunday is also apparently Tim Burton's favourite film. A gothic horror masterpiece.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Yûkoku (Patriotism), 1966

The story made me feel sick when I read it, and this extract from Mishima's 1966 short film is equally powerful.

Mother vs. Motherfucker

Danzig vs. Datsuns would also work on the alliteration front but motherfucker's ruder - and maybe I'll get more Google hits from its pride of place as the title of this 'entry'.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Bad art

Oscar Wilde said that "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life" and today brings us an example of just that from the baltic state of Estonia.

What film does this remind you of?

Police stopped a man who was driving erratically only to find he was blind. Indeed, his 16-year old passenger was helping him out with 'left a bit, right a bit, RIGHT A BIT NOW' kind of directions.

"At first they thought he was just drunk, but the man kept missing the tube for the breath test," said a police spokeswoman.

Indeed. Not blind drunk, not even 'just drunk' - just plain blind.

What film does this remind you of? Would it help if the passenger had been deaf as well?

Reuters reported this.


A US soldier who served in Iraq has been sentenced to 110 years in jail for his part in the rape and murder of a 14-year old Iraqi girl and her family. He was the lookout.

One of the charges to which he pleaded guilty was wrongfully touching a corpse.

The mind boggles. Or rather reels.

Read more on the BBC

Monday, 6 August 2007

Satanic goings-on in Iran

Compare and contrast two recent events in the world's favourite islamic state.

Iranian police taking part in the country's annual summer crackdown on 'immoral behaviour' have detained more than 200 people and seized alcohol, video cameras, CDs and ladies' dresses in a raid on a 'satanic' underground rock concert.

But how satanic was this party really? Was it all about black metal? Had Venom reformed to play in the Middle East? Was Ozzy going to bite the heads off more bats, or better still, Americans? Well, not exactly. According to Reuters, the event in Tehran had local disc jockeys as well as rock and rap groups performing. Hardly plumbing the depths of satanism, is it?

In a separate event two men were hanged in a public square in Tehran, with a crowd of 200 people shouting "God is great!", laughing and taking photos with their mobile phones.

These hangings followed nine other public executions in other Iranian cities the previous day, and a further twelve hangings in Tehran's Evin prison a few days before that.

The BBC says that there were 177 executions in Iran in 2006 and, seven months into 2007, Amnesty International says 151 people have been executed. The country is second only to China in the world's execution league table.

As my old A-level essay questions would say: Iran is the most satanic country in the world - discuss.

Bananas vs. chicken curry - the laxative challenge

Bananas or a chicken curry? Which would do it for you?

On 'doctor's orders' an Indian man in custody for stealing a necklace - which he swallowed shortly before being apprehended by the police - was forced to eat fifty bananas as a laxative.

Fifty bananas! The world's gone nuts! Or bananas even! Why couldn't they have just gone to the chemist's and bought some real laxatives?

Unsurprisingly the bananas didn't work and Sheikh Mohsin was still in possession of the necklace, which the police had seen via an x-ray. Next up on the laxative list was the curry. Police gave the would-be thief a chicken curry with some nan bread. Unsurprisingly, that did the trick and the necklace was soon retrieved, albeit in a slightly worse than shop-soiled state.

In another bizarre twist, the thief himself was forced to wash the necklace before it was returned to its rightful owner.

Full story on the BBC.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Fisherman says: "It was an enormous fish. It had phosphorescent green eyes and legs."

Had Justinus Lahama been smoking particularly strong Filipino skunk?

Not at all. It's time to meet the - ahem - world famous coelacanth (or Latimeria menadoensis), renowned throughout the animal kingdom for being able to perform headstands on the sea bed. I kid ye not.

These circus performers apparently provide researchers with a 'window into the past' as their fossil record dates back 350 million years.

They're are odd in appearance too, looking almost as if they have legs because of their large-lobed fins. Indeed, according to the BBC, they are sometimes dubbed 'old four legs'.

Scientists previously thought the fish group had died out about 70 million years ago but discovered they were wrong in 1938 when one was caught 30 kilometers southwest of East London (which is actually in South Africa - confused? So was I...).

The fish don't seem to have evolved much either over the years. Of two different types found - with only a 3.5% genome difference - in places separated by an enormous gap of thousands of miles, estimates from genetic fingerprinting suggest that they separated about four to five million years ago.

However, the boffins tell us, if you look at the geology of our oceans, this suggests that they should have separated about 30 million years ago. This leads me to my - possibly erroneous - assertion that the fish haven't evolved much.

And who would evolve much living down there in the cold and the darkness with nothing to evolve for?

All this lack of evolution seems to have taken its toll, though, as the fish is on the world's 'critically endangered' list. Poor little bugger.

That should teach it to be more proactive in the future!

Don't you just love him?

Celtic Frost - new age goth crap?

A number of things annoy me about this Septic guy and his 'analysis'. First things first, if he can't even pronounce the name of the band correctly how can he actually opine about them? Second, what is it with his obsession with the word 'gay'? If he doesn't like it it's 'gay' - the music is 'gay', the new look is 'gay', is he a homophobe deep down?

He doesn't like the new image either. What's wrong with swapping a leather jacket for a trenchcoat? Maybe he's wearing the snow hat because he's lost most of his hair - after all it's been 15 years since Celtic Frost last released something.

"And what I really hate...," says our 'analyst' - if the image and music which he thinks are gay aren't enough to be getting on with - is that when you type Celtic Frost into Google images you get new images of the band coming up first, not the old ones. Now call me old fashioned, but I thought that Google would obviously throw up the more recent images of the band first - the ones they've got on their website and the ones they've been distributing with their PR materials (so that journos will publish them all over the place). Also, don't searches normally throw up results ordered by age? On top of that, the older images are from before the Internet boom and so are much less likely to be plastered over the web, in my humble opinion.

Right at the end of his hissy fit our intrepid, incisive analyst complains that Tom never does any of his trademark grunts and oohs any more. I was listening to the first track of Monotheist this morning and there they are - ooohs - after precisely 10 and 18 seconds.

Really though, I just think the anal-yst guy with his anti new-Frost rant is just like totally gay, dude.