Showing posts from February, 2008

one of these days I'm gonna leave you in your sleep

A fair number of people have made note of this:
You might've read it in school, though certainly not after, because no one would read Ethan Frome if he or she didn't have to. Except for Stephin Merritt, principal figure of Magnetic Fields and at least three other indie-pop bands in various stages of undeadness.

"I used to read it every year on my birthday," he says. "It's 99 pages long. Perfect for birthday reading."

Ethan Frome. On his birthday. Every year.

"As setting, it can't be beat," he continues. "It expresses everything about how horrible New England is."I can sort of see that he would be into Ethan Frome. One thing has been bugging me though. I didn't think that it was that short. Or does it just seem that long because it is so interminable?

So I did some checking:
Signet Classics Version - 176 pages - This version has a Forward.Penguin Classics - 112 pagesEnriched Classics - 208 pages - This one has a lot of extra mate…

Things that make me laugh


Buying the New Yorker 1976 - page 67

I suppose you've allheard the news.

It's been ages since I've used one of these, and honestly I'm not as nostalgic about the pictures as much as the "Schwoomp" noise that the cameras made when you unfolded them.

Of course I won't need to track down film for my nostalgia - I can just find one at a garage sale somewhere and open and close it so I can hear the Schwoomp noise.

I am just the Maniac King of Fun.

Buying the New Yorker 1976 - page 66

The Wente family has now dropped the word "Brothers" from their name, which is sensible as they seem to have at least five generations in the biz. I see from their site that today (honestly, I wasn't holding this post back just for the freaky coincidence) they are having a "125th Anniversary Celebration Dinner."

Attendance at this shindig costs $125 - and you have to get tickets through Ticketmaster.

The Ventes also have a golf course ("Designed for players of all levels, The Course at Wente Vineyards is host of the Wine Country Championship, the 5th stop on the PGA's Nationwide Tour.") and an amphitheatre. (The 2008 concert season is not yet booked. Check back in April.)

They seem to be starting to make something out of themselves. Good for them.

Harry Potter to be translated into broad Scots

From Here.
Edinburgh-based Scots language publisher Itchy Coo has set its sights on transforming the boy wizard's speech into the kind of brogue more likely to be found in an Oor Wullie annual.

And Itchy Coo founder Matthew Fitt – who has already worked on translating books by Roald Dahl into Scots – believes revamping one of the world's most popular children's books into Scots will encourage a new generation to be proud of their brogue and do better in school.I want to get the audiobook.

You won't see me follow you back home

I was thinking that this was a pretty nice little post about The Left Banke's Walk Away Renee already. Having the lyricist pop up in the comments make it doubly nice.

Here's the video:

Important Dustin the Turkey Update

Fowl Eurovision entry for Ireland

Eurovision Song Contest feathers may be ruffled by Ireland's decision to be represented in May's cross-continental competition by a puppet bird.

Dustin The Turkey was plucked from a rafter of six finalists, winning a televised vote on Saturday night.

The cult figure's gobbled rendition of Irelande Douze Pointe - a parody of the Eurovision voting system - secured his place at the top of the pecking order.

Dustin now aims to restore Irish pride battered by recent Eurovision failures.
But while Dustin beat off national opposition in broadcaster RTE's Eurosong on Saturday, he now faces a pressure cooker environment at May's Eurovision, where he will have to fight off competition from all over Europe.

I'm voting on the cheese book

Polls are open for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.

Your nominees for 2007:
I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love QueenHow to Write a How to Write BookAre Women Human? And Other International DialoguesCheese Problems SolvedIf You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your LegsPeople who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood


I notice that this is my 900th post.

If you count my posts, you might notice that there are less than 900 posts available to read. This is because I have about 60 that are either halfway done or completely forgotten.

Still, it is a milestone of some sort.

Keep them bloggies rolling

About a year ago, I added value to this site by adding the "I'm reading this" section to the side. As said at the time:
This is the feed from the shared section of my Google Reader account.

I was a bit wary of Google Reader at first, but I am finding that it is a handy tool for someone like me who keeps on subscribing to feeds willy-nilly (my current count is 152. And I've only been using this for about three weeks.)

One of the things that I don't like is that if I want to share a feed on a separate page (like the shared post page I have here), I can't rename it. So the page is loaded down with the title "Xenius' shared items." As I tinker, other pages might be forthcoming.The tinkering has continued, but in a different direction. I now have a different sort of list. I have taken a list of feeds that I want to own up to reading (the list is currently far from complete - at the moment I can only add about five at a time, so there are quite a few …

I wish it could be Christmas every day

This past Christmas, the New Zealand pop singles chart was topped by a song that was inaudible to the human ear.

The SPCA Christmas single, A Very Silent Night has been designed especially to get tails wagging and puppies dancing. It’s a song solely for dogs – recorded at the highest frequencies possible for compact disc recordings, which means we can’t hear it…but our canine friends certainly can!

We gave our SPCA dogs a sneak preview of the track a few weeks back and there was plenty of singing, dancing and pricked ears to confirm that A Very Silent Night was a hit with most of the pooches.
When the video was loaded into YouTube, the Auckland SPCA noticed that the compression that happened when the video was uploaded caused the sound file to create audible glitches, so they reloaded the video to the song that humans can't hear with no sound file whatsoever and a very obvious notation as to what was going on.

For insight into the mass psychology of the internet, I invite you to click…

Reebok is making Kool-Aid scented shoes!

Could be worse. Kool-Aid seems to have no plans for Reebok flavored bug juice.

"I just happened to look up, and I saw those guys walking across the street like a line of ducks"

The guy standing on the sidewalk on the cover of Abbey Road just died.

This is one of the most charming little obituaries I've ever read.

Buying the New Yorker 1976 - page 62

Oh, Wikipedia, can you corroborate the lovely story from this ad?
In 1525, a Saronno church commissioned artist Leonardo Da Vinci and student Bernardino Luini to paint their sanctuary with frescoes. As the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Luini needed to depict the Madonna, but was in need of a model. He found his inspiration in a young widowed innkeeper, who became his model and (in most versions) lover. Out of gratitude and affection, the woman wished to give him a gift. Her simple means did not permit much, so she steeped apricot kernels in brandy and presented the resulting concoction to a touched Luini.
From my small amount of digging, I'm ready to guess that this is the fresco that the young widowed innkeeper posed for.

I quite like the photo of the young couple in the ad. The awkwardness of the shot makes me wonder if there were television ads featuring these two. Luini would have been in his mid-forties by the time this story took place, and this guy looks like he&#…

For the crime scene investigator who is always in a hurry

Map out the murder scene with this handy template tool.

Meet the Robots!

From PaleoFuture, a wonderful photograph of an early production of R.U.R.

My God! They're axing Grange Hill!

My God! They're still making Grange Hill?

The end of the writer's strike comes not a moment too soon.

Great Moments in collaborative filmmaking.

From here.
[Justin M.] Sherman wrote a script called “Mr. Obama Goes to Cambridge” about Obama’s years at [Harvard] Law School and his time as president of the law review. But according to the film’s director, Mike S. Lawson, the script lacked conflict.

The solution was easy: add vampires.

Along with the addition of a bit of campy horror, the team added two musical numbers at the suggestion of producer Brooke E. Shirey.

. . .

Sherman said he hopes that at the very least the film, which will be released on the group’s Web site,, will inspire young people to learn more about the candidates.

Offered without comment.

From Deadline Hollywood Daily:
SATURDAY 8:00 PM: The Los Angeles Times' Envelope blog just sent out an email alert that the WGA strike will not be over on Monday. This is based on the blogging of LAT columnist Joel Stein, who is the newspaper's unreadable humor columnist and is inside the WGA West membership meeting at the Shrine because he is a guild member.

What can I say about a wall of bananas?

This is Dustin the Turkey

I think the term we want is "upping the ante"

"Dustin, a turkey puppet popular on Irish TV, may represent its nation in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which the Republic has won a record seven times."

Here's a picture of Dustin:

Songwriter Phil Coulter, who penned the Cliff Richard Eurovision entry, Congratulations, and Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String, was . . . critical. “You have to stand by quality,” he said. “If you start chasing every fad, you will trivialise the whole thing and end up in a situation where the hairdresser is more important than the songwriter.”

Complement your autoharp with a squad of drumming bears

I'm awfully fond of this

From here.
A yellow spot on the horizon slowly approaches the coast. People have gatherd and watch in amazement as a giant yellow Rubber Duck approaches. The spectators are greeted by the duck, which slowly nods its head. The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn't discriminate people and doesn't have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!

Monty Python on AM America 1975

An amusing new trend I just noticed.

Quick! Before they run out!