Tuesday 25 December 2007

Winter Solstice.

by Carl Larsson (1853-1919)

Happy Christmas, to One and All

By the way. This blog came into existence on the 26th december a year ago. Is it time to quit?
I'm not any more sure of what it's about now than I was on day one.

Friday 14 December 2007

Surreal........................ Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama
As you never heard it before.......
The Leningrad Cowboys, (from Finland) and the Alexandrov Red Army Choir.......
at the Total Balalaika Show, Helsinki, Finland, June 12th, 1993.

"European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, 239-257 (1998)
DOI: 10.1177/136754949800100205
© 1998 SAGE Publications
Shifting spaces, shifting identities
'The Total Balalaika Show'
Timo Cantell

City of Helsinki Urban Facts

The 'Total Balalaika Show', a rock concert of extraordinary proportions, was held in Helsinki in 1993. The audience numbered 80,000. This concert is analysed by reference to Bakhtin's explorations of carnival, highlighting the ambivalent nature of the event. Both the performers and the venue of the concert (the historical Senate Square in the centre of Helsinki) are characterized by the uncertainty of temporal and spatial categories. The concert is also interpreted as constituting an integral part of the new cultural situation in Finland: a situation in which this small country and its comparatively homogenous culture will increasingly have to see questions of identity pushed into the domains of reflexivity and uncertainty. The concert also provided an opportunity to negotiate the history of Finnish—Soviet relations and the problems involved in those relations."

Bring it ON!

Over at The Sisterhood of the Pointy Heels' blog, Atyllah has posted pics of warrior girlies in armour.
Terrified, Me,...........................

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Radishes. Not as good as they used to be, I tell you.

Have you noticed how radishes are not as good as they used to be?
Long ago, and far away, the best radishes and carrots were the ones in Mister Watson's allotment, which was next to ours. My sister and I had been specifically prohibited from pulling up and eating the various vegetable goodnesses in our allotment, but no specific statement had been made regarding Mr Watson's garden. If you were a politician, you would know that not having a prohibition being read out to you and being forced to sign an acknowledgement is roughly equivalent to, um, well, the opposite. If you weren't told NOT to do it, it obviously must be quite alright.
So we pulled up radishes, wiped the muck off, and ate them. Carrots too. Potatoes were not very nice, a couple is too many. Our mother had demonstrated that a carrot top in a saucer of water will sprout and thrive. So we never ate the top quarter inch, and carefully re-planted them. Obviously, no harm was done, and they'd just regenerate theirselves overnight.
Imagine the outrage when called in to meet the irate neighbour, and the shouty parent, and the confiscation of toys, loss of privileges, and being banged up in solitary, -sent to bed in the daytime, no toys or books allowed. Damn those grown-ups.
Mr Watson had two names. To grown ups he was called Frank, but children were told not to be cheeky if they referred to him by that name. And he had a pond with special goldfishes.
Radishes now are too clean, no mud at all, and though big, do not make me sneeze, which I seem to remember was the point of it, biting a radish and seeing how long you could go, eyes watering, before the explosive sneeze and fits of giggles.
Whales were bigger too, in those days. Bigger than a ship. That one in the Thames last year must have been a fake one, animatronic or something cheap and shoddy, because they can fight giant squids and are fierce. A real whale wouldn't just swim up a river, dither around and die, would it?

Could a whale beat a bear in a fight? Simon thinks they can, but even cowboys are afraid of bears. And squids have suckers.

Moby Dick could beat a squid though.
I always wanted a better name than the one I was given. Especially when I read Moby Dick...

"Mum," I said, "Can I be called 'Queequeg' from now?".
"No." , she said. And that was the end of that idea.

Thursday 6 December 2007

A Pavement in amsterdam

Cornered by the Sisterhood


More Secrets


Wuppertal, Tuffi the Elephant.

I could tell you the story behind this......
But I like mystery better.

A Light House.

Photograph by Stacey

The SECRET Carrot Cake of Pasanen......

Thanks, Pasanen....
I have no idea who Pasanen is?
I stole this off a blog, forgot where. Sorry Blogger, I'd give you credit but Pasanen gets it in lieu.
I believe it vital that this secret is kept secret.

The Spanner of the Gods.

Thor had a hammer...........

Bargain Flight Tickets on Sale at Soubriquet Air

Orpheus by Sir Osbert Sitwell:


When Orpheus with his wind-swift fingers
Ripples the strings that gleam like rain,
The wheeling birds fly up and sing,
Hither, thither echoing;
There is a crackling of dry twigs,
A sweeping of leaves along the ground,
Fawny faces and dumb eyes
Peer through the fluttering screens
That mask ferocious teeth and claws
Now tranquil.
As the music sighs up the hill-side,
The young ones hear,
Come skipping, ambling, rolling down,
Their soft ears flapping as they run,
Their fleecy coats catching in the thickets,
Till they lie, listening, round his feet.
Unseen for centuries,
Fabulous creatures creep out of their caves,
The unicorn
Prances down from his bed of leaves,
His milk-white muzzle still stained green
With the munching, crunching of mountain-herbs.
The griffin, usually so fierce,
Now tame and amiable again,
Has covered the white bones in his secret cavern
With a rustling pall of dank dead leaves,
While the salamander, true lover of art,
Flickers, and creeps out of the flame;
Gently now, and away he goes,
Kindles his proud and blazing track
Across the forest,
Lies listening,
Cools his fever in the flowing waters of the lute.


But when the housewife returns,
Carrying her basket,
She will not understand.
She misses nothing,
Hears nothing.
She will only see
That the fire is dead,
The grate cold.


But the child upstairs,
Alone, in the empty cottage,
Heard a strange wind, like music,
In the forest,
Saw something creep out of the fire.

Sir Osbert Sitwell

Powered by ScribeFire.


Where I would Like to Live.

Now Where DID I Put That Soap Powder?

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Grit In The Gears

The Internet Anagram Server: via Red Dirt Girl, via Princess Haiku

Grit In The Gears:-

Retreat Sighing
Eager Thirsting
Targeting Heirs
Earthing Tigers
Garter Nighties
Hat Registering
A Greeting Shirt
A Tighteners Rig
Greasing Her Tit

Powered by ScribeFire.

Sunday 18 November 2007

i sing of Olaf glad and big. e.e.cummings

i sing of Olaf glad and big
whose warmest heart recoiled at war:
a conscientious object-or

his wellbelov├ęd colonel(trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand;
but--though an host of overjoyed
noncoms(first knocking on the head
him)do through icy waters roll
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed
anent this muddy toiletbowl,
while kindred intellects evoke
allegiance per blunt instruments--
Olaf(being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag
upon what God unto him gave)
responds,without getting annoyed
"I will not kiss your fucking flag"

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but--though all kinds of officers
(a yearning nation's blueeyed pride)
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion
voices and boots were much the worse,
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--
Olaf(upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ(of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see;and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me:more blond than you.

E. E. Cummings

Hmmmm: A rarity... an e.e.cummings poem with capital letters.
-ponder on that.

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Thank You Everybody

It's the middle of the night, and I'n really too tired to type, but it has to be said, I've had a great birthday, and I've laughed a lot.
Red Dirt Girl set the ball rolling here.
How she came up with so many great photos amazes me.
Steve's boots were great,
Minx's cake,,,

Oh i can't keep my eyes open.
More tomorrow
But thank you, everybody,
I'll try do a round-up tomorrow

Thank You, I've been smiling all day.

Sunday 11 November 2007

Helium Horses Revisited.

Some of you may recall the announcement by Soubriquet Labs of the July launch of our lighter-than-air horses. Here's the link.
Well, the new, improved product is now available, in show and dressage form. Racing Helium-Horses are in the development stage:- We find that short spurts of jet-aided speed may at present lead to reduced buoyancy, and so we are retuning the DNA code to get a tighter and more calibrated sphincter.
You can enquire about advance ordering, and get on the list, however.
Here is a photograph of one of our show-horses.
We recommend rather heavier shoes than the example in the picture, however, in order to avoid the 'curled-up' stance.
Lighter shoes may lead to inverted flight.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Goats and Bicycles

When I posted my doggerel about tygers and cheesecake, it contained a reference to bicycles that would seem cryptic were it read by someone who had not read:-

The Bicycle
- by Jerzy Harasymowicz

forgotten by tourists
a bicycle joined
a herd
of mountain goats

with its splendidly turned
silver horns
it became
their leader

with its bell
it warned them
of danger

with them
it partook
in romps
on the snow covered

the bicycle
gazed from above
on people walking;
with the goats

it fought
over a goat,
with a bearded buck

it reared up at eagles
on its back wheel

it was happy
though it never
nibbled at grass

or drank
from a stream

until once
a poacher
shot it

by the silver trophy
of its horns

and then
above the Tatras was seen
against the sparkling
January sky

the angel of death erect
riding to heaven
holding the bicycle's
dead horns.

(trans. from Polish by Edmund Ordon)

This poem I found on Red Dirt Girl's now defunct poetry blog, and her own response to it follows.

"Today I was posting a poem that wasn’t my own.
About a bicycle, goats and two silver horns.
I sat at the table and started to type.
I realized: I’m wrong!
This poem has some bite!
So I tasted and chewed.
I digested and fed.
I savored and swallowed.
The juices ran red.
Now, his words, they are mine.
They float and they slumber.
They run thru my veins.
They’ve invaded my thoughts.
They live in my brain.
The bicycle image, goats, angel and snow,
I see in my dreams.
Film moving slow.
So this is my poem:
A tribute of sorts,
an ode to a bicycle
and some odd mountain goats."
08/2006 Red Dirt Girl.

Monday 5 November 2007

Songs of Innocence and Cheesecake

Songs of Innocence and Cheesecake

Tyger, tyger eatin' light
His mum says weight is now a fright
lettuce, carrots, celery too.
Fridge light glaring in the night
O he longs for special food

What immortal cook or chef
Could lay thy lemons thick and high?
Th' house lies silent, deep, and dark
Tyger guzzles at its heart

None can see the fangs sink deep
In that confection, lemon sweet
Tyger lick-ed foil-ed plate
Not one morsel dropped-
He feeds beneath the sleeping lamb
(Unaware of's pending fate)

What is this?
The torch light cometh
Mum's pink slippers
Drum new tattoo on wooden stairs.
-Dawn's rich gold belights dark sky
Hide Tyger,
Hide your cheesecaked whiskers!
"It wasn't me mama, I swear-
Twas LAMB who guzzled here, the cake!"

Lamb's alarm begins to shriek
Cheesecake gone, and
Now the eggs!
Toast that burns in streaks of flame
Tyger, time ignored, to blame

As kitchen, house, and lamb's aflame
Mum's roar begins to shake the panes
Lamb's shrieks begin,
Shred curtains tattered.
Windows' glass begins to shatter

As ladders raise,
firefighters spring
Look!-the tyger's gath'ring mint,
Potatoes, rosemary, carrots peas.

Peas and carrots rise
To greet the
Innocent lamb's demise

The tyger burps, he farts and sighs
For innocence
And lambly friends
He gives to dog a piece of lamb:
"Mmmm, twas mighty good tastin',"
Says mutley, snout still lickin'.
"Is there more," he gruffs at tyger?

Tyger asks,
"First, where is lamb's fleece?
For lamb, my friend, needs not it more.
But I twould like to befriend some goats,
And for that to work....
I'll need lamb's coat."

Tyger, tyger, dressed as lamb
creeps amongst the goatish band
He cries, " Grrrr-baaaa !!"
Goats surprised aleap
Circling cycle panick'd ran
To ring his bell'd alarm

With shrilled alarm, the dreams disperse
Nightmare'd lamb cries out for nurse-
As deep beneath in kitchen heaves
Sickly tyger's groans a curse.

For tyger read the label late
Cheesecake well past sell-by date........

Songs of innocence and cheesecake
On kitchen floor
-For beneath the fridge light lies:
A phosphorous glow
Of tyger vomit

Now on tiled floor.......
Midst paw print.

a poetic verse by soubriquet
(with small'd help by rdg)

She kinda dared me to post it.

Saturday 3 November 2007

Oops... new Sisterhood Stealth Bike on Trial

via Growabrain.

Thank You

The Sisters are Seducing our Squirrels!

Our special-forces squirrels, a highly trained and dedicated branch of the Brotherhood of the Besmirched Countenance, have encountered a new hazard in their mission to monitor the actions of the Sisterhood of the Pointy Heels.
Some Sisters, failing to properly respect the squirrels' peace-keeping mission, have been tickling their nuts. And it's causing a real problem for our guys.


Great Britain's Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears suffered a pointy heel moment this week. Of course, the paparazzi were there to document it, so Grit in the Gears could bring it to your notice.
Perhaps her government will start to take note of the poor state of London's pavements?
I doubt it.
But TOP MARKS to Hazel for her ability to laugh at her predicament.

Thursday 1 November 2007

Delicate Negociations

The Knight of the Besmirched Countenance has invited a delegation from the Sisterhood of the Pointy Heels to discuss the nature of the Bilateral Treaty of Mutual Advantage...
Kick off your shoes, ladies, make yourselves comfortable....

Tuesday 30 October 2007

Just a thought...

Red Dirt Girl left a comment on my pic of a chariot of fire, a burning bicycle, that
it thus means Elijah went heavenward on a burning bicycle, and Jesus may return on one. Quite a thought... I thought he might come back on his horse.

Monday 29 October 2007

Warpath, by Ario Farin


Autumn comes late in the mountains.
The transmission cables connecting
the cottages and the farms,
the solitary skyscrapers and frozen churches,
are set ablaze for a day or two
by the singeing wings of scouting kestrels,
swallows flying below radar in the pink glow.
No one is injured, bunkers remain intact,
but we skulk in the furrows,
set trap after trap.

Then the renditions began, first from the cities,
chalky white cliffs in the first long night,
to Babylon, to Qom, to Amsterdam, to London:
Paris no longer exists it is said in the papers
that lie spread along the green hillsides
among the trumpet chanterels and the imploding toadstools.
Extraordinary scenes: canals luminous with ghosts,
the motorways silent for weeks except for
the rotating blades of military hovercraft,
cutting the empty road ahead into slices of routes.

Then, amid the last blue flash
of headlights, the fading glint
of a cat’s eye burrowed into the molten tarmac,
she dances, snapping her fingers
amid the flurry of fog and exhaust gases
from God knows where, she dances
to a delusional beat, half asleep
and half howling to a sonar beep,
falling like a raindrop
On a brown-red leaf.

I mentioned this poem, a couple of posts back, as the one that spurred me to look up 'The Horses', by Edwin Muir.

It was on a blog called Scribblings and Sketches, and is the work of one Ario Farin, who says:-

"My actual name is Arioborzine Farin. I was born in Isfahan in 1977 to a Dutch mother and Iranian father. I have lived in Iran, the Netherlands, the UK and now in Germany. English is not my native language. I am not sure I have one. My nationality is Dutch though. I work as an English teacher for adults and translator in Leipzig."

I, a native speaker of english can not write anything in any way as accomplished as this poem, yet Ario is almost apologetic about placing these poems before us, as if feeling them unworthy.

I asked permission to post this, when I posted 'Horses', The reply only just got to me, giving permission to do so. I was going to add it to the Edwin Muir post, but thought again.

The poem deserves a post of its own.

Please comment, you poetry readers and poets, I really would like to hear your views, lurkers, take a chance, step out of the shadows and speak, it won't hurt, I promise.

Click on the links, go visit Ario Farin at Scribblings and Sketches.

My meanderings on the internet have led me to many rewarding discoveries. So many self-publishing writers and poets, I feel humbled.

And jealous.

Friday 26 October 2007

Bring Me My Chariot of Fire


Seven Angels on a Bicycle,
Carrie Rodriguez, with Chip Taylor.

Go get what you want my love
Go get what you need my love
I am with you
I am with you
Go get what you want my love
Go get what you need my love
I am with you
I am with you
This will not turn me away
This will not turn me away
I am with you
I am with you
Go get what you want my love
Go get what you need my love
I am with you

Brooklyn Bridge on a bicycle
Brooklyn Bridge on a bicycle
Don’t he look good
Don’t he look good
Follow him right into town
Follow him right into town
Don’t this feel good
Don’t he look good

Taking pictures on a subway
Enchiladas on a Sunday
Lets get drunk
We’ll all play
Your fancy guitar
Don’t this feel good
Don’t he look good

Seven angels on a bicycle
Seven angels on a bicycle
I am with you
I am with you
Seven angels on a bicycle
Seven angels on a bicycle
I am with you
I am with you

Go get what you want my love
Go get what you need my love
I am with you
I am with you

Go get what you want my love
Go get what you need my love

I am with you

Deep Cleansing. Ed Reiss

Found in the hospital, -a poem.

Wednesday 24 October 2007

The Horses - Edwin Muir

I remember reading this poem many years ago. -I grew up in the shadow of the cold war.
I remember the great V-Bombers, Vulcans thundering down the valley, practising, always practising that low level flight, infiltration under the radar, a suicide mission to drop their bombs on Russian landscapes, where at the same time, Russian crews were practising the same thing.
The Distant Early Warning Line. Global war was real. Expected, even.
Nobody knew what the aftermath would be. Who might survive. What sort of life might there be.
I read science fiction.
Then at college, I read Muir.
This poem, which says so much.

A few days ago, I read a poem called 'Warpath', which I liked, on a blog called Scribblings & Sketches.
Do go over there, and read, if you like poetry.
After reading, I wondered for some days what old memory that poem was tugging at.
Here it is,

The Horses, By Edwin Muir.

Barely a twelvemonth after
The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
Late in the evening the strange horses came.
By then we had made our covenant with silence,
But in the first few days it was so still
We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
On the second day
The radios failed; we turned the knobs, no answer.
On the third day a warship passed us, headed north,
Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
Nothing. The radios dumb;
And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms
All over the world. But now if they should speak,
If on a sudden they should speak again,
If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,
We would not listen, we would not let it bring
That old bad world that swallowed its children quick
At one great gulp. We would not have it again.
Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,
Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,
And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.
The tractors lie about our fields; at evening
They look like dank sea-monsters crouched and waiting.
We leave them where they are and let them rust:
"They'll molder away and be like other loam."
We make our oxen drag our rusty plows,
Long laid aside. We have gone back
Far past our fathers' land.
And then, that evening
Late in the summer the strange horses came.
We heard a distant tapping on the road,
A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again
And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.
We saw the heads
Like a wild wave charging and were afraid.
We had sold our horses in our fathers' time
To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us
As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield
Or illustrations in a book of knights.
We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,
Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
By an old command to find our whereabouts
And that long-lost archaic companionship.
In the first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures to be owned and used.
Among them were some half a dozen colts
Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world,
Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden.
Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads,
But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.

Edwin Muir

Friday 19 October 2007

Tankchair:- An Engineer's token of Love.

Awesome! Tankchair
Built by a very talented man, after his wife was injured in an accident, he sought to make a chair that would enable her to enjoy the woods, hiking, the places she had loved when she was able to walk. It can cope with mud, streams, snow, gravel, soft ground, all those things that are impossible for an ordinary wheelchair.
It can even climb stairs!
(though I bet that's scary for the pilot)

Their website says "For every 10 chairs sold, TankChair is going to donate one to a fire department in a rural area so that they can give it away to someone who would not normally be able to afford one. The first is going to go to Parker Fire Department in Arizona. This is our hometown and they were the ones who rescued my wife, my kids, and myself when we got in the accident that put her in the chair."

When I read their website I was so impressed at how he has striven to give his wife back the freedom of the outdoors.
If ever I need a wheelchair, I'll beg for one of these.

I Was driving to Work When......

Warning:-Technobabble and boys toys follow.
I was driving to work, a bit mentally vacant and stuck in slow traffic when I spotted a man in a yellow jacket fiddling with a radio control box. How strange, thought I. A group of business suited onlookers watched.
Up the embankment slope above the road a bizarre yellow thing was pirouetting, weaving between trees.... and cutting the deep grass. WOW! I WANT ONE! was the first thought..... Then an angry beep from behind forced me to notice the hundred yards of clear road ahead... That was a couple of years ago, The city bought, I think, four of these supertoys, to cut steep bankings by roads and in parkland. Ride-on mowing machines can be very hazardous on steep slopes, and fatalities are not unknown. Hand held brushcutters, (strimmers, weed whackers) are very labour intensive, and again, operator injuries are common.
The machine in question is a Ransomes Spider, an awesome machine, powered by a seventeen horse-power kawasaki engine, four wheel drive, four wheel steer..... Hydrostatic drive.
As far as I can tell it was designed by a Czech inventor, Mr Lubomir Dvorak, who founded a company to build them, and is the holder of the patents.
However, they're being made by Ransomes in England, under licence I assume.
What makes me think of this just now? Well I was sent a link to Dave Mows Grass, his most recent post, in which he is running short of blog materials, so loads up his pick-up with what might be well rotted horse-sh*t, and promptly gets it bogged on a perfectly innocent flat patch of grass.

A-ha, I thought... Dave NEEDS a Spider...

(The Spider would not do the pick up's job, I know, but a man with a stuck truck needs something else to do.)

Elsewhere, Warwick University has been experimenting with robotic self control of these, and the use of artificial intelligence to allow a group, or 'swarm' of spider-bots to co-operate.
Not slow to see that they need not be confined to mowing, another team, in Denmark, calling its Spider-based device 'Hortibot' has worked on building an autonomous machine to carry out tilling, seed planting, spraying, and much more.

At the moment they seem fearsomely expensive. Like about the same price as a BMW 1Series,
And I only have a tiny patch of flat grass.

Somewhat cheaper, and not quite as fun-looking is the Goat Hybrid Mower.

Now I look, I see all manner of geeks designing radio controlled lawnmowers... Anyway.... The growing season is over. I'll forget it all until next year....