Friday, 29 August 2008

Higher education

Given that I like to laugh at the misfortune and mistakes of others, this piece of non-news I found yesterday made me chuckle in a particularly pedantic kind of way.

University students, it seems, have been shamed with a list of exam blunders they've made. And we're not talking errors in quantum equations here - more in the way of spelling your own name wrong kind of mistakes.

One student, for example, claimed that railways were invented to relieve pressure on motorways.

Another gem is from an economics student at City University in London who attributed Northern Rock's downfall to "laxative enforcement policies".

An English literature student from Bath Spa University wrote that Margaret Atwood's book, The Handmaid's Tale, shows how patriarchy treats women as escape goats.

A University of Southampton student concerned by global warming wrote that: "Tackling climate change will require an unpresidented response."

So much for universities taking the crème de la crème of Britain's youth and giving them a higher education!

Is it a dolphin? Is it a crocodile? No, it's the Virgin Mary!

Thanks to globalisation and the Internet, news travels fast these days. But that's not always necessarily a good thing, is it? There are thousands of pointless non-stories out there that are reprinted or replicated ceaslessly by a whole plethora of channels, blogs and sites - this site being no exception.

Indeed, I've probably been guilty of adding to the useless information overload by giving publicity to the kind of bollocks that should be consigned to the computer trash can - and just so I can make some lame joke, or cutting comment about it.

Hell, I'm not proud.

The Torygraph yesterday reported something else I found mildly amusing. Yes, another apparition of the Virgin Mary - this time in Canada. I'm sure that before the days of the Internet nobody outside of Toronto would have seen this piece of news, as it surely wouldn't have been picked up by anyone apart from the local rag. But now it seems that everybody publishes everything so I'm jumping on the bandwagon here as well.

Basically somebody cut the branch off a tree in a garden in a leafy suburb of Toronto and a drunk guy thought it looked like the Virgin Mary. His mother-in-law cried and said it was a "blessing" and the owner of the garden in which the tree lives says she doesn't want people trampling on her garden when they come to look at the "virgin".

What news!

Whatever next? A decade-old toasted cheese sandwich will be said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary and be sold on eBay for $28,000? Oh hang on....

Thursday, 28 August 2008

A disgusting piece of trash

'A disgusting piece of trash' is probably quite close to the truth when describing the Catholic church.

The ever-progressive Pope is once again in the news as he battles to have a modern art sculpture in Nothern Italy banned.

Pope Benedict has called the work blasphemous in a letter to Regional president Franz Pahl.

Pahl is working hard to get the sculpture removed. "Surely this is not a work of art but a blashphemy and a disgusting piece of trash that upsets many people," he said.

Clearly unpursuaded by his own arguments, Pahl went on hunger strike and had to be hospitalised in his efforts to get his views heeded - and the work of art removed from the Museion museum in Bolzano.

The wooden sculpture, called Zuerst die Fuesse, is by the late German artist Martin Kippenberger and depicts a 4-foot high frog about nailed to a brown cross and holding a beer mug in one outstretched hand and an egg in another.

It wears a green loin cloth and is nailed through the hands and the feet in the manner of Jesus Christ. Its green tongue hangs out of its mouth.

I'm not much for it myself. I much prefer the Dead Kennedys album cover of In God We Trust, Inc., which features Jesus Christ crucified on a cross made of dollar bills.

Kippenberger's work has been shown at the Tate Modern and the Saatchi Gallery in London and at the Venice Biennale, and retrospectives are planned in Los Angeles and New York.

Freedom of expression, anyone?

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Monday, 25 August 2008

Ping Pong is coming home

Boris Johnson - buffoon or comic genius? Whichever he might be, is he really the kind of guy you'd want as your leader?

Thursday, 21 August 2008

PC quote of the day

Said John Molony, Mayor of Mount Isa, a quiet mining town in the Queensland outback:

"With five blokes to every girl, may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa.

"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness."

What the fuck is this guy on?

Monday, 18 August 2008

Shit taste in music

My car was broken into this weekend when it was parked on the street near to my house. The bastards broke one of the little side windows to open the door.

The weird thing was, they stole absolutely nothing.

There were a couple of euros on the floor amongst the shards of broken glass from the window. The back seats were pulled down so whoever was in my car could look in the boot. There was nothing there to steal apart from a couple of old t-shirts that belong to the drummer in my band. He wraps his drums in them when we take them to a gig so I guess nobody would want to steal those. The front seats were both reclined a bit and pushed back. I could hardly reach the pedals when I got into the car to drive it to the police station to report the break in. There was a woolen hat that belongs to my wife left on the driver's seat (it had also been in the boot - weird).

The glove compartment, which the thieves left open, was full of CDs. They didn't take a single one. Not even Hawkwind, Dead Kennedys, Weezer, Bauhaus, Matthew Sweet, Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica, Frank Black, Pixies, Voivod... Nothing gone.

Clearly they thought I had a shit taste in music. It was probably a couple of nietas who only listen to reggaeton on their mobile phones. The little shits.

Some of those CDs are actually quite valuable. Voivod's Nothingface hasn't been re-released on CD for ages and people on Amazon are selling the fucker for over 250 euros! This is one time, therefore, I'm quite happy to have a shit taste in music.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008