Saturday, February 27, 2010

Positive Randomivity for the Week

I don't who made this, but I'm very glad they did.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Top 10 #3: Top 10 Sports That I Expect I Will Never Play

Sports are like those secret conspiracy societies; if they don't recruit you into their New World Order by your mid-20s, chances are you'll never get to meet the Lizard Emperor. By which I mean, it may now be too late for me to take up amateur kickboxing.
Other hand: some sports, I don't even like the idea of playing! Ten years ago, I would have given myself an at-least-remote chance to do virtually anything; but whether from lack of desire or lack of opportunity, I figure there are now plenty of sports that I will never actually play. As in, seriously: never.

A chilling vision of things not to come? Either way, here's the latest of my Top 10 Top 10 Lists That Don't Really Deserve To Be Top 10 Lists.

The Top 10 Sports That I Expect I Will Never Play!

10. Triathlon
A way to ruin your day at the beach, and to ruin an otherwise pleasant bicycle ride. No!

9. Polo
The traditional horse or elephant, that is. (I've alluded to my feelings about horses before.) I am possibly open to bicycle, however.

8. Parkour

Let's face it, I'm not getting any younger . . .

7. Sumo
And sacrifice my trim figure? Heck no! Also, it's apparently kind of corrupt.

6. Curling
Not that I wouldn't be happy to play a good curl, given the opportunity – but I live in a rather temperate clime, and where am I going to find the right kind of big flat stone and stiff broom? Anyone know?
To be fair, I probably won't soon be playing any sport that features in the Winter Olympics. (Unfortunately? What do you think?)

5. Hurling
Yeah, what? No, apparently Hurling is this:
What? No thanks.

4. Pelota
I don't have anything against pelota; it just seems kind of unlikely. When was the last time someone asked you to play pelota? Also (apparently): it only exists in Florida so that people can gamble on it. And the ball moves so fast that it kills people. Hmm.

3. American Football
I actually quite like watching this game, it's a pretty great spectator sport . . .

. . . but how and why would I ever actually play it?
(Also, I will not put on a helmet and shoulderpads AND lycra pants. That's just asking for trouble.)

2. Lacrosse
I'm not even sure what lacrosse is, honestly. Is it an American thing? Something like pelota, but less fatal? The sport of youthful American yuppies? Baskets are involved, somehow? I'm completely unsure; when it comes to US culture, 1980s high school movies only tell me so much.

1. Golf
Because golf is the game of bastards, frankly. The game of media magnates and corrupt politicians. The game of racial discrimination and upper-class privilege. The game of Auric Goldfinger.
Also: so difficult! Why do they make the hole so tiny, and so far away? It's the game of bastards, all down the line.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Graped In The Face

What's the difference between pinot noir and merlot?
A. Nothing, suckers.

So yeah, you remember how that movie Sideways did so well? It was a fine film: Paul Giamatti drinks a whole lot of Californian wine, rants about how pinot noir is so great and merlot is so terrible.
Mmm. Grapes.

Most people who saw Sideways immediately decided that, yes, indeed:

1. pinot noir is brilliant
2. all other wines – especially merlot – are really just fermented hackjuice

There was thus an instant craze in the market for pinot wine, and a corresponding crash in demand for the less respectable grapes (like merlot and shiraz). So: a group of French wine merchants decided to scam the American market by repackaging 13.5 MILLION LITRES of their excess merlot and shiraz wine as pinot noir, instead.

A couple of years later, French auditors became suspicious of some unusually cheap "pinot" grape transactions; a few days ago, a French court unravelled the scam and found a cartel of Carcassonne wine merchants guilty of fraud.

In the meantime, how many American wine drinkers had figured out that they weren't actually drinking pinot noir? Here is a picture of them all:

Aw, it was only 13.5 million litres . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Go! Presence! Action! Now!
I finally have internet access again. This is a fine and helpful thing. While absent from the internet these past weeks, I missed all sorts of interesting things. For example:

1. SHOCK! Sparkly vampire star Robert Pattinson really hates vaginas! TRUE! SHOCK!

2: Tina Fey made the cover of Vogue! People are annoyed because Vogue photoshopped her scar away, but even so – Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!

3. Young George Clooney.

Hmm. I'm going to need some time to process all this, I think.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Top 10 #4: Top 10 Least Respectable Titles Of Philip K. Dick Novels

I'm a big fan of Philip K. Dick, but his reputation has problems. Despite writing a lot of deeply intelligent and seriously "literary" fiction, most of his work was originally published as science fiction – and in the city of literature, SF is usually considered a contemptible ghetto. (To be fair, most books published as SF aren't very good; but on the other hand, most books aren't very good, either.)
This is all a shame, but Dick's reputation isn't helped by the frequently bizarre titles of his works. Even the great and memorable ones – Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, and Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said – are still kind of daft. And they're often unusually long, which puts a lot of people off; that's probably why those first two titles were renamed Blade Runner and Total Recall for the movie remakes*.

Many of Dick's books are great, but some people just can't get past the ridiculous, oh-so-science-fictiony titles – "I'm not reading that!" – and it really is a damn shame. So with that in mind, here's the latest of my Top 10 Top 10 Lists That Don't Really Deserve To Be Top 10 Lists.

*Both those movies are only loose adaptations of the original stories, it should be pointed out. Very, very loose.

The Top 10 Least Respectable Titles Of Philip K. Dick Novels!

This one almost works, actually – it's so plainly generic that it almost feels ironic (which it is). But it's still embarrassingly generic.

I assume this was bowdlerised for publication, and should really have been Confessions Of A Bullshit Artist (or is "bullshit artist" only an Australian idiom?). As it is, it doesn't seem to quite make sense – is "crap artist" even a real phrase? Either way, it's a misleading title for what is actually a very serious, sad and intelligent novel (and also, fwiw, not science-fictional at all).

The "our friends from" tag is an intriguing allusion, but you can't take any book seriously when it's about a place called Frolix 8.

Oh, come on. "Palmer Eldritch"? Seriously?

Anything with "galactic" in the title always sounds like a parody. And "pot-healer" sounds like a weird drug reference. (However: believe it or not, the book really is about a guy who "heals" ceramic pots. Yeah. A pot-healer. Honestly – who would guess that from the title?)

Hopelessly generic title: it sounds like an episode of Doctor Who. (Probably a very entertaining episode of Doctor Who, mind you – but it's still not respectable.)

Hopelessly generic title, and it allows for bum jokes.

Game-players from Titan are not a topic of respectable fiction. They're just not. (As far as titles go, it's also bereft of drama and very boring.)

It's not a parody of Dr Strangelove, yet the title is a direct reference. So it doesn't even make sense, except as the tackiest of marketing strategies; it's just odd. What were the publishers thinking?

Any fiction that uses the word "clan" (without also, at some point, using the word "kilt") is raising a red flag; to me, it's always going to look like some crappy fantasy novel. And if it also uses the word "moon", I'm going to go straight ahead and logically assume that it's all about caveman sex.

(You just clicked on that "caveman sex" link, didn't you? Yeah, I know what you like.)

And there you have it.
Gosh, I sure hope my new home internet connection is active by now . . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Top 10 #5: Top 10 Pseudonyms Used By Undercover Ticket Inspectors On Melbourne Public Transport

Finally – one of my Top 10 Top 10 Lists That Don't Really Deserve To Be Top 10 Lists that may actually save your bacon!

For those of you travelling on public transport in Melbourne, whether train, tram or bus, take heed: always beware the ticket inspectors. You should always travel with a valid ticket, of course – but sadly, a valid ticket is not always sufficient to escape the punctiliously merciless attentions of a determined inspector. And of these ticket inspectors, one must be-particularly-ware of those who travel undercover: watching and waiting with secret identities, no uniforms to announce their power, the shiny Inspector badge materialising only when least expected . . .

The Top 10 Pseudonyms Used By Undercover Ticket Inspectors On Melbourne Public Transport!

10. Sue Denym

9. Brandy Alexander

8. George Soros

7. Faith Popcorn

6. Seymour Butz

5. Jijuana Tequila

4. Clint Eastwood

3. Venger McHellraisin

2. Germaine Greer

1. Jeff Kennett

Now you know. And knowing, as you may have heard, is half the battle.