Sunday 31 May 2009

Exploding Bulls? It's the Hedgehog I feel Saddest For

This story, just in from Auckland, New Zealand.

"Seven bulls ‘exploded’ and caught fire after power lines fell on a Dairy Flat farm, north of Auckland, on Tuesday. Three bulls were electrocuted when the lines fell at a 60.7ha Wilks Road farm and another four were killed when they walked into the live area. A hedgehog was also killed. Dave Taylor, who leases the farm, says he jumped the fence to see what was wrong but realised he was trapped when he heard the fences and gates were ‘fizzing and hissing’ because the fallen lines were still live. Mr Taylor says he was lucky because he and workmate Glen Johnson might have jumped the fence without touching the wire. -
Rodney Times"


Saturday 30 May 2009

Stop Press! "Dave Mows Grass" escapes Blogworld!

An open message to Dave, a guy who, like many has seen a lot of changes in his life over the last year or so, some not so good, some for the better, I've been following his exploits in a kayak, on swirling waters, and felt not a little jealous... getting pangs, ya know, to go out in mine, but, after they sat unused behind the house for a year or several, I um... sorta gave 'em away. One had become a bit porous, that was the serious white water toy, me and it had crashed into many rocks, submerged trees, and ice floes, I'd dragged and carried it through forests and, roped it down cliffs, been smashed upside down onto the beach.... Ahh, happy times.
My neighbour, who I gave it to, thought the fact that this much-patched lightweight kevlar reinforced adventure-machine leaked a bit, so you got a little wet, was a fault, and unacceptable.
It was, in fact easily fixable, but fixing it would add a little weight... so I never bothered. Water never bothered me.
One day I came home and Dylan was cutting it up in his back yard. CUTTING IT UP! DAMN!
But, you give something away, you lose the right to be angry when the new owner treats it badly.

Here's my thoughts on Dave's announcement of closing his blog.

Oh how insidious, Dave Mows Grass escapes, how the hell do you think you'll get away from the keyboard?
Blogger enforcement techs are right now creeping up on you, like they did to me, with a great big net, which they throw over you, and use to subdue you, dragging you off into the van. The van takes you to a secret facility, many miles from anywhere any of us would wish to call "home", and you will there be deposited into an empty room. Yes, room, they call it, not cell. There will be sedatives, of course, for a few days... But the lights go on and off at times, and with no windows, no clocks, how do we know time, days? I think I've been here a few weeks, but it may be days or years...

After a while, you sleep most of the time. Then, after one waking, there is a desk, and a computer. "You know what to do", a note on it says. "Blog. Or else".

And after a while, blogworld? seems like reality. You envy those out there on the water, those travelling, those living lives... but hey, there's another picture to cut and paste, hit post... Every time you hit so many words and images posted, you get a reward. I once got a beer, that was for a two thousand word post on a blog about knitting... Oh no, you don't have your own blog! that's too funny, no, you just get assigned blogs to post on, in the style of, I've done blogs on everything from high-altitude cheese-weaving, to the migration habits of pigmy shrews.

Now they tell me I've got one on grass-mowing and kayaking to do.

It seems another blogger has escaped, slipped his chains sometime in the night and left the blogcentrum, I heard the alarms the guards shouting, vehicles starting up. What happened? I think one of the guards has a blog, I'll tell you when he updates.

Come visit, Dave, let us know you're okay?

Tuesday 26 May 2009

A Discussion of Orgasms

Well, that seems to have got your attention......
I hit post, before I wrote the content, so... the feed readers popped the "O" word up, and some of you, regular readers, blogfriends.... you know who you are..... (and so do I), ohhh Pavlov would have loved this, Mary Roach would too... as soon as I hit post (almost), came visiting... Whilst there was nothing to visit, empty post.

Here it is.

Video, yes, I'm aware that youtube is an annoyance to some... is of writer Mary Roach, speaking at the T.E.D. conference (TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. If you are interested in hearing inspirational people speak on all manner of subjects, then I heartily recommend you visit TED, click HERE.

Mary Roach. Ten Things You Did Not Know About Orgasm. Go visit Mary, after this I'll be looking out for her books, she really made me laugh.

This is via BoingBoing, which some say is the worlds most popular blog. website, online magazine. I read Boingboing pretty much every day. I get bored with some of it's obsessions, but hey, I get bored with mine too. Points ot of ten for Boingboing? eight and a bit. sometimes fewer, sometimes ten.....

Custom Bikes Seen in Skipton

They're rebuilds on old frames, registered as tax exempt/historic, there's a distinct similarity between them, but they're far from identical, I'd guess them to be the work of the same person or workshop. I like the red one more, with its open forks and (argh!) leaf spring front suspension.
Although the red bike's tank says "Ace", the only "Ace" bike I know was a straight, inline four, not a V-twin, the company became "Indian" far back in the mists of time. If any passing reader knows more about these two, I'd really be interested to know, If you're the maker, my hat is off to you.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Power Your Car With an Electric Toothbrush!

"South Korea's top technology university has developed a plan to power electric cars through recharging strips embedded in roadways that use a technology to transfer energy found in some electric toothbrushes."

I read just so far, paused, and had visions... I've often mused on the residual dark-energy found in electric toothbrushes,-if you're at all psychic, you can see the crackling field of satanic power that surrounds such a thing. Wise folk, fearing contagion, plague, or being posessed by a demon, shun these frightening devices. I, being braver than many, simply wear an amulet, made by the wise old lady who lives in the hovel in the woods. And use my buzzy-brush without fear.

It seems that, protected by my amulet, I could collect dozens of electric toothbrushes, rip out my diesel turbo engine, and stuff a bundle of buzzing gum stimulators in its place. NOOOOO!!! ladies, ladies, TOOTHBRUSHES only!...... Well, obviously a gearbox redesign might be needed, in order to translate buzz into forward motion.

Maybe I should read the rest of the article.,28348,25498972-5014239,00.html

Sigh. How disappointing. A more honest journalist would simply have said "induction charging". Yes, toothbrushes do use it, and so do a lot of other things.
However, the sentence structure used is clumsy, a confusion between subject and predicate. My old schoolteacher, Miss Carter, would have rapped my knuckles for writing such a confused sentence. When I was eight. Why is it that journalists are not ALL required to be literate?

p.s. I'm not a journalist. my use of English may often be open to criticism. I will rarely feel guilty if I transgress.

Monday 18 May 2009

Oh Beautiful! I Want an Air Penguin.......

And the graceful Air Jellyfish...

These are made by German firm Festo, exploring the future of robotics, but crossing a border into bio-mimicry and art. In my huge mansion, that I will one day have, I think I'll have shoals of these roaming the atrium.

Click the video embedded links or google Festo for lots more, but for me, these are the most beautiful of Festo's creatures.

Eight Miles High, Byrds.

A live concert recording from the Byds gig, the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, 1968.
I loved this song in 1968, no less now. In 1968, the first manned Apollo mission was launched, (Apollo 7) the first space mission to carry a three man crew, a previously unheard of eleven day orbital mission, later that year Apollo 8 left earth orbit and travelled to the moon on a three-day journey, completing ten lunar orbits, in preparation for the moon landing in july '69.
1968 was a time of unrest and rebellion, of assassination and unease, Russian tanks crushed the Prague Spring rebellion, Paris was ablaze, Martin Luther King was murdered. Baader-Meinhof guerilla gang bombs go off in Berlin, Wiki 1968.
Others were exploring inner space.
"The obscure lyrics, penned by Clark, are about the group's plane trip touring England in 1965. "Eight miles high, and when you touch down, you'll find that it's stranger than known." Airliners fly at an altitude of six to seven miles high; but it was felt that "eight miles high" sounded better. Unconvinced, the BBC banned the song"
The BBC didn't like that word "high"........

Bookshop of my Dreams, Oporto.

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Tea -Carol Anne Duffy

I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.

Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,

as the women harvest the slopes
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.

Sunday 17 May 2009

Muleskinner Blues

Safety Advice

I bought some batteries today at Sainsburys. They came with an RFID (radio frequency identity) sticker on the back, I assume the store believes that shoplifters will be trying to steal batteries, and this sticker will set off the store's door alarm... However, the sticker says:
"SECURITY PROTECTED Please remove before putting in microwave" Now I'd never thought of putting batteries in my microwave before. Maybe it recharges them or gives them superpower? I read all the small-print. Oh... Actually I didn't, because that sticker was put over the safety information, and peeling the sticker off peels the small-print off too. And I'm not too good at reading Greek or Portuguese or Dutch, so, I'll assume you're supposed to stick them in the microwave in the packaging.. I'll put the four I'd taken out back in, and give them about four minutes.

Of course, if there's an almighty bang, and my kitchen is wrecked, and I am injured, there's a pretty good chance I can sue Sainsburys for millions, because a) that sticker implies I'm supposed to put them in the microwave. b) the sticker implies that just removing the sticker is all that's needed as preparation for putting a pack of eight batteries in the microwave, and c), the sticker obliterates and destroys whatever english language safety and usage warnings may or may not be present beneath it.

As a further point, the business of retailers glueing stickers over safety information and usage instructions is common, pharmacists do it as well, and of course, they use unpeelable adhesives too.

Wish me luck.

Saturday 16 May 2009

down in the basement

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Another Music Video.

I really like this, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. I'm all for live music, and for people who sing, play, write.
People who have absorbed traditions, learned from the older guys, then taken what they've learned and made it their own. The Carolina Chocolate Drops come over as having done that, they're proud to be interpreting history, keeping a tradition alive. They talk of their music as embracing black history and experience, but say that the music grew out of other cultures and histories too, they're about pride, about self-knowledge, but not about separatism, not about racism, not about us and them, they are clever articulate, great!

Hit 'em Up Style was a big hit for Blu Cantrell, of whom I'd never heard... About five years ago.
The lyrics were by Dallas Austin Ha, ladies, it was written BY A MAN!

Rant: I'm really tired of all those "superstars" out there who go on stage and mime to their studio recording, which has been cleaned up and adjusted by the musical equivalent of photoshop.
And when it gets to the star's choreographer, personal trainer, hairdresser... We're missing the point these days, it's more about the on stage spectacle, the lights, the lasers the fireworks, the rotating stage, dry ice....
Stadium shows? Blargh... When I was a lad, etc.....
When I was a lad, the Rolling Stones played in the University dining hall.
So did David Bowie.
I prefer, if i go to see live music, which I do less and less these days, a band in a pub or bar, with at most a couple of hundred in the audience. I really can't see the point in being in a sea of people, so far away from the stage that you can't see the band direct, you have to look at a big video screen. Well, if I'm going to watch a video screen, I might as well save the ticket price and watch it at home. I like the repartee that develops with a small venue, between musicians and audience, when you find the acts queuing at the bar with the punters.

Anyway, all that was a digression. I really like this, what say you guys?

Carolina Chocolate Drops, check 'em out on their website and go listen more.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

After Rain , by P.K. Page

I'd never read any poems by P.K. Page, never heard of this Canadian poet, writer, and painter, until Red Dirt Mule posted one, I'll be sure to read more, this one is simply beautiful, layered with imagery.

The snails have made a garden of green lace:
broderie anglaise from the cabbages,
chantilly from the choux-fleurs, tiny veils-
I see already that I lift the blind
upon a woman's wardrobe of the mind.

Such female whimsy floats about me like
a kind of tulle, a flimsy mesh,
while feet in gumboots pace the rectangles-
garden abstracted, geometry awash-
an unknown theorem argued in green ink,
dropped in the bath.
Euclid in glorious chlorophyll, half drunk.

I none too sober slipping in the mud
where rigged with guys of rain
the clothes-reel gauche
as the rangy skeleton of some
gaunt delicate spidery mute
is pitched as if
while hung from one thin rib
a silver web-
its infant, skeletal, diminutive,
now sagged with sequins, pulled ellipsoid,

I suffer shame in all these images.
The garden is primeval, Giovanni
in soggy denim squelches by my hub,
over his ruin
shakes a doleful head.
But he so beautiful and diademed,
his long Italian hands so wrung with rain
I find his ache exists beyond my rim
and almost weep to see a broken man
made subject to my whim.

O choir him, birds, and let him come to rest
within this beauty as one rests in love,
till pears upon the bough
encrusted with
small snails as pale as pearls
hang golden in
a heart that know tears are a part of love.

And choir me too to keep my heart a size
larger than seeing, unseduced by each
bright glimpse of beauty striking like a bell,
so that the whole may toll,
its meaning shine
clear of the myriad images that still-
do what I will-encumber its pure line.

Extreme Indoor Motor-Biking

Dougie Lampkin, 12 times world trials champion, takes his bike for a ride around one of England's stately homes, Goodwood House.
Goodwood is home to the Earl of March, and the estate is famous for motorsport, aviation, and equestrian events, Glorious Goodwood Horse Races, And the Goodwood Festival of Speed .
Dougie Lampkin appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, this video was shot to publicise the event and the venue.
Dougie makes it all look so easy. Me? I fall off bikes. They do not behave as nicely for me as they do for him. Ones that I have had dealings with all seem to be badly affected by inertia, and gravity. His seem to be immune to both.

The Mole

Moles.... The Red Dirt Mule had a bit of molery on her blog, which got me to thinking of moles and stories, I have a few mole stories in my head, and one in the blog so far, I wrote a story about moles who made pottery, a story called "The Industrious Mole", it was written...... ohhh, before the internet, blogs, and so on. On paper. With drawings... for my nieces, who are no longer small children. The words survived, the drawings are lost. If you're interested click the.... LINK.

Here, however, is a story not by me, but by comedian, Jasper Carrot, on the subject of trying to get rid of moles. The under the ground type.

Both of these are the same narrative, one is sound only, the other accompanied by an animated video. I recommend the video.

But some of.... well ONE of this blog's readers eschews YouTube, shuns it in fact.
I have to say, if your internet connection is not so good, or your computer is slow, or short of memory, youtube can be frustrating. And of course, YouTube has a vast almost infinite store of annoying or boring things. To you, this may be one of those.
If you hate TooYube, then you can just listen.

(Jasper Carrot is from Birmingham. And NOT the one in Alabama. blamalama. Awopbopaloobop.. Bamalam, Wo-ohh! Black Betty, Bam a Lam...... sorry, got diverted.

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Monday 11 May 2009

Ah Feel Like Ahcid -Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (1968)

Ah Feel Like Ahcid

Got a letter uh, this morning how do you reckon it read?
Red blue and green whoooo all through my head
Licked the stamps saw a movie dropped the stamp
I ain't got no blues no more I said
Put me up thinkin' a postman's groovy
I ain't I ain't got the blues no more I said.........

Well send me with a letter lord drop me with a telegram I said
My baby walked just like she did
Walking on hard-boiled eggs with a...she can steal em....
I ain't blue no more I said
Lord one jumped up lord the other one quackin'
Yeah she got those great big drums sticking out Whoooo
Big chicken legs beat when she walks flappin' down the street where I live

Well she slippin' along easy like fried chicken
Grew sort of greasy easy hmmmmm...
Oh I ain't blue no more I ain't blue no more I said
Well she walked along crazy like kinda crazy
Sorta lazy sleazy cheesy you know what I mean I said...............

......freight elevator operating them trashcans
Smackin' lips and saying "the food sure is good" I said
Around the corner up round the alley
half-shelled shoes a tapping golly golly
shaking like jelly like heaven heaven I said
Well they rolled around the corner turning up seven come eleven
My lucky number lord I feel like I'm in heaven I said
Well I ...well I blink my eyes and I see that movie
Lord it's red blue and green

I ain't blue no more
Wooo it's like heaven I said I said ..............

Sunday 10 May 2009

A Small Car?

Take an obsolete coin-operated "Postman Pat" kid's ride, and make it road-legal.
And why not, I say?
You could sneer at Smart-Car owners and tell them to get their gas-guzzling behemoths off the streets.

Saturday 9 May 2009

Pseriously Psychedelicious!

I wrote a post to go with this, pictures, links, opinionated rambling, accidentally hit ctrl instead of shift... all gone... it takes me ages to do these simple things other bloggers find easy you know, I picture you all with lightning-fast typing fingers and clear, decisive moves, as i fumble in the morass of accidental key-hits and incorrect links...

Pink Floyd did not feature in the soundtrack. This music dates from 1971, the movie was on release in 1968. But they fit together perfectly in this instance.

If you did not see the movie 2001, a space odyssey, or read the book, this is likely to bewilder you. If you did see the movie, you'll still be bewildered.
It was characterised by baffled cinemagoers exiting in silence, trying to understand where they had just been. A movie where the first dialogue is twenty minutes in...

Just strap in, shut up, empty your mind. and enjoy the ride.

Oh, by the way, if you choose to stay aboard, you'll be leaving your surroundings for 24 minutes.

Or just close your eyes, drift, and listen.

The music here is "Echoes" which comprised side 2 of Pink Floyd's 1971 album, "Meddle".

Seamus (My old Hound) -Pink Floyd

I was in the kitchen,
Seamus, that's the dog's outside.
Well, I was in the kitchen,
Seamus, my old hound's outside.
Well, the sun sinks slowly
But my old hound dog sat right down and cried.

From Meddle, 1971.

The HUGE equipment stack which a supergroup needed to go on tour back in 1969

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Kipple, and How it Threatens Us All.

My desk?- well, no, it's far too tidy.... I'd take a photo of my desk, but you can barely see it under computer, scanner, and piles of papers, and, um, junk. lots of stuff that somehow ends up on any horizontal surface around me.
Philip K. Dick, Author, science fiction writer, coined a word for the ever-growing volume of junk and clutter in our lives, "kipple", he called it.
He said that kipple reproduces, that if you don't manage to clear it up, get every little bit, before bedtime, that in the night it will propagate, I was going to say "inexorably", but it doesn't quite fit, however, as I love the word, I'm sneaking it in, like kipple.
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I might just acquire the desk in the pic.... There are several up in the attic at work. The really huge ones went to a guy who refurbishes them as ultra-modern workstations in antique exteriors, all gleaming beeswaxwd wood, leather.. and embedded computers...
I'd love to take one, steampunk it with old gauges, wavering ammeter needles, faintly glowing vacuum tubes, a keyboard from an early typewriter.....
Like something Jules Verne, H.G Wells, or Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's characters might have used, to communicate through the aether.

How Big's Yer Steam, Punk?

Just one of my many bits and pieces of stored junk.... Most steam gauges you will see are calibrated for psi, (pounds per square inch).
Ha! psi is for juniors....
This gauge is for serious steam: Tsi, Tons per square inch.. 1 Tsi=2240 psi..
(this is an imperial steam gauge, the american ton is only 2000lbs, known here as a short ton, the imperial ton, or long ton, is 2240 lbs, whereas, just to confuse matters, the metric ton, or 'tonne' is 1000kg, or 2205lbs)
So this gauge tops out at... just under 18,000psi (17,920psi)... I think I'd want to be about half a mile away if it approached that in real life.
(The inner dial shows the maximum pressure reached, the glass front opens for resetting.)
I had a big box of assorted steam gauges, I think they got chucked out a few years ago, just before Steampunk came into vogue.
I was planning to pipe them all up in thick copper pipe, all over the chimney breast above the fire, and fit a clock mechanism into one of them, never got round to it, of course.


Jimi Hendrix -Catfish Blues

Haven't listened to Jimi Hendrix in a while........

"Homeless" Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Monday 4 May 2009

For K.

The Eighth Day -Hazel O'Connor

From the 1980 movie, Breaking Glass

In the beginning was the word,
man said: Let there be more light
Electric scenes and maser beams,
neon brights the light
abhorring nights
On the second day he said:
Let's have a gas
Hydrogen and cholera and pest
Let's make some germs, we'll poison the worms
Man will never be suppressed

And he said: Behold what I have done
I've made a better world for everyone
Nobody laugh, nobody cry
World without end, forever and ever
Amen, amen, amen

On the third we get green and blue for pie
On the fourth we send rockets to the sky
On the fifth make the beasts and submarines
On the sixth man prepares his final dream:
In our image, let's make robots for our slaves
Imagine all the time that we can save
Computers, machines, the silicon dream
Seventh he retired from the scene

And he said: Behold what I have done
I've made a better world for everyone
Nobody laugh, nobody cry
World without end, forever and ever
Amen (amen), amen (amen), amen (amen)

On the eighth day machine just got upset
A problem man had never seen as yet
No time for flight, a blinding light
And nothing but a void, forever night

He said: Behold what man has done
There's not a world for anyone
Nobody laughed, nobody cried
World's at an end, everyone has died
Forever amen (amen), amen (amen), amen (amen)

He said: Behold what man has done
There's not a world for anyone
Nobody laughed, nobody cried
World's at an end, everyone has died
Forever amen (amen), amen (amen), amen (amen)