Thursday, May 31, 2007

Whale meet again...

Niall, Simon and I depart for our "summer" holiday to the Faroe Islands tomorrow. Summer is a relative term, as it looks like we can expect temperatures of 10ºC and almost certain rain in the rocky Atlantic outpost.

I'm looking forward to the remote, desolate, beauty that I have read about, as well as the long days, puffins (to both see and eat), and international football matches. One of their traditions does, however, present an interesting dilemma.

Whaling has been taking place in the Faroes for over 1000 years. Pilot whales are caught in a non-commercial (but seemingly bloody) way, and the meat is divided amongst the populace. Here's an interesting BBC article that covers the main points: is it cruel? Is it wiping out an endangered species? What does it taste like?

The upshot seems to be that the fishing is sustainable (less than 0.1% of the population caught each year) and whilst bloody, there is not necessarily prolonged pain for the whales. Is it cultural to recoil from the idea of whaling? In Japan they eat whale, but find the idea of eating dog or horse (eaten in many other countries) repellant. Another BBC article focuses on this fascinating point: how do we culturally decide what, and what not, to eat? Is it not hypocritical to refuse to eat cute animals or pets but to happily eat battery-farmed chicken meat? The Faroese could, quite legitimately, criticise us for looking down upon their whale hunting whilst simultaneously wiping out the cod and haddock (as well as many other species) populations in our waters.

So will I eat whale? I honestly don't know, and it may not even be a choice offered to me, but I am having a difficult time coming up with a coherent argument against eating it. It doesn't sound particularly tasty though...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On Lost

Simon has seen Lost now, so I can talk about my Jacob theory. I think that he was the Captain of the Black Rock, and that Richard Alpert was also on the ship. Their clothes seem to tie into a slaving-era ship. And could Ben even see Jacob? I’m not so sure, considering that the chair he was talking to was not the chair that we saw Jacob sitting in for that brief glimpse. And what about Rousseau? Do we believe that she was on a research vessel, or has she been hanging round for 100+ years as well?



On a lighter note, here is a guy falling off a ladder on QVC:

Via look at this.

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The end is nigh

Not of this (according to the review in the Times, "compelling") blog of course. I would never do that to you. I am only referring to the end of the world. This, as you might expect, has tempered my desire to post here slightly. That and the fact that Niall and I are in the midst of prime-period (series 5) Seinfeld in our crawl through the entire run of the show.

Anyway, back to the end of the world. That means my and your IMMINENT DEATH. I can't place a precise finger on what is causing this ongoing apocalypse, but here are some examples:

The Big Donor Show is a Dutch TV programme (from the creators of Big Brother)in which the viewers vote to select which of 3 patients receive the kidneys of a dying women. I don't think that I even need to have a rant about this one.

Potential Teletubbies ban in Poland. "A senior Polish official has ordered psychologists to investigate whether the popular BBC TV show Teletubbies promotes a homosexual lifestyle", because Tinky Winky, a male character, carries a woman’s handbag. Thank you Poland for pointing this out! I cant believe that all the other countries that have shown Teletubbies haven't tied it in to the massive number of gay 3-year-olds! For goodness sake. I know Eastern Europe is thought of as backward and small-minded, but this takes the biscuit. Do you really think that the children who watch this even notice the handbag? They are probably more focused on the fact that it is set in a fantasy world with an enslaved, semi-sentient, cyborg vacuum cleaner. Noo Noo is the real mind-fuck here...

Record company hypocrisy shocker. The record industry decries file sharing as detrimental to artists, yet a major label gives away a copy of an entire album with a Sunday Newspaper and the defense is that it actually increased sales of the album. Make your minds up guys, either free music does or does not impact on album sales. If free music is not necessarily a bad thing, then why does the delivery method matter? Without getting too deep, it just feels like the rights of the individual have evaporated over recent years, with powerful people and companies being given the chance to tell us what is best for us.

Add to all these the current media frenzy over a missing toddler (not that it’s not a tragedy, but 70,000 children go missing in this country every year) and we seem to be living in the chaotic apocalypse of the Chris Morris universe.

Or maybe the media and entertainment industry are just run by arseholes who can be sorted out by the military-industrial complex. Come on Gordon, send the tanks in to Channel 5 when you take power!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


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Sunday, May 20, 2007


R Kelly, genius/insane/both creator of Trapped in the Closet (watch it here), has opened his mouth again, saying that he is the greatest black man of his generation, and that his only competition is himself.

Anything you say, R.


Adverts are often overlooked as being "worthwhile" art, but this new one for Skoda is lovely. I bet that the wrap party was fun (catering not required...).

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona is my favourite footballer ever. I don't think that he's the best footballer that I've seen (that would have to be Henry or Bergkamp), but he was one cool footballer. The best way to sum him up is this video, of what is a great goal follwed by the best celebration ever seen:

That tells you everything that you need to know about the man. Collar upturned, he scored a goal that would make anyone else go wild in celebration. But not him: he simply turns around to survey his people, and raises his hands slightly while his team-mates arrive to pay homage. He's good, and he knows that he is. It says a lot about the esteem that he was held in here in the UK that he played for Manchester United (who many have an intense dislike for) and is French (enough said), but is still beloved by many, many people.

Sadly, it seems that he is not as big a hit at home as he was here. Speaking to French Claire at the pub last night, the French appear to think of him as a bit thick and arrogant. Niall made the fair point that if he was British we would have torn him to pieces for his antics and attitude: because he is French we tolerated, and even encouraged, him. Maybe one of our exports could have that impact abroad. Maybe Joey Barton will be a hit if he manages to escape our shores...

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Thursday, May 17, 2007


I’ve been very busy and very lazy for the last week, so the blog has suffered. Blame Niall: 2 epidsodes of Seinfeld a night and the blog do not go hand in hand… I’ll do a compendium post to catch up on stuff.

SNP. So the SNP won the election and Alex Salmond is the First Minister. Putting aside the fact that he looks creepy, smug, and greasy, and that the Sturgeon is clearly not a human being, I actually quite like a lot of the policies and “big ideas” that they have talked about so far. It’s just the “independence thing” that I can’t get with at the moment. I’ll see how they manage in government, and listen to their arguments for independence with that in mind.

Brave Maddy: Not forgetting that a child has been abducted, a couple of things about this story trouble me. Firstly, am I the only one that feels uneasy about this trial-by-media? The press used to be restrained enough to hold fire on reporting rumours and conjecture about cases, but recently there has been “open season” on anybody arrested, or even questioned, with regard to a high-profile case. Remember the Norwich prostitute murders? A guy was arrested and questioned, with the media branding him a “weirdo loner” and “just the type”. Of course, they were a bit quieter when a different man was arrested and charged, weren’t they? I’m not saying that the suspect in the kidnapping case is innocent, just that printing his name and publishing maps and photos of his house sits a little uneasily with me. My second concern is the way that the media have latched on to this. Yes, it’s important to keep the profile of the case high and, yes, we can get emotionally attached to things or people that we have no relationship to, but isn’t some of this a little too much? I’m looking at you, Sun newspaper. What benefit is there to having Alex Salmond pictured with one of your “Find Maddy” posters? And what on earth was the thinking behind handing out thousands of posters to Spanish fans at the UEFA cup final last night? The publicity is priceless, isn’t it? Are your intentions pure? The Onion has an excellent old article that sums up some of my suspcions.

Lost. I won’t say too much, as my old Sky+ hard drive has ensured that Simon is a few weeks behind, but wow. It’s certainly the best programme on TV at the moment. And who saw Jacob (click for spoiler)? I did.

Spank Rock. After listening to their excellent Fabric mix, I bought the Spank Rock album. I know that I’m a year behind on this one, but it’s shit hot. Here’s a little taste.

Swearing. Ironic Sans posted an excellent little rant about censored swearing, and even wrote an extension for Firefox to de-censor swearing. I couldn’t agree more with his points.

Well that was certainly my longest post yet.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yet another video...

Must get round to some proper posts soon. This one is for the prolific blogger Mark, and it's my favorite out-take ever.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007


This was on the Daily Show tonight. Funny.

Wilmott II

Following on from a previous post, I have now made it on to Google for "GARY WILMOTT IS THE BEST MUSICIAN EVER". On an unfortunate note, Niall seems to have cruelly conspired to take away my glory by getting in on the action. Bastard.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I've not given up on this, the slack week has purely been a combination of laziness and the Wii. Here's some random videos to keep things moving:

Best ping pong shot ever

Half-decent prank call

Worst boy-band ever

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Sunday, May 06, 2007


This weekend I have been quiet because of this:

I have a sore arm now. It must be "Wii arm".


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hate mail

It's election day, and the Daily Mail (I'm not going to link to them) stir the shit, as usual, by printing an "immigrant map of Britain". Typical of the paper that demonises asylum-seekers by equating them with illegal immigrants.

For a supposedly forward-thinking country, we have some distinctly old-skool politics kicking about. I only recently found out that in 1970 (1970!) the Conservative party had financial support for re-patriation of non-white immigrants in its manifesto. No wonder there's a lot of resentment to that party and it's legacy... And it's mind-boggling that the BNP can get 20% of the vote in some areas of England.

I suppose the moral if this post is that, whoever you vote or voted for today, vote for a party with a decent heart. Putting aside policy, a vote for Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Green, or many of the minor parties, is a vote for the more pleasant side of politics.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Laboured choice

So tomorrow Thursday is the "big" vote in Scotland. Simon has written some thoughts on the matter, and I thought that I might as well copy his idea follow suit.

Independence has become a key issue this time, and because of this I am going to change the way that I vote for the first time. I'm proud to be both Scottish and British; I like to live in a country that has a strong regional identity but also like to live in Britain. I feel that we have done well out of the Union (it could even be argued that it saved us from a theocracy) and will continue to benefit. I work within the oil industry, and know that the cash will stop flowing from the North Sea within my lifetime (unless I am killed in a tragic yet comedic accident in the next few months).

So I have decided to vote Labour this time. I've always voted for the Liberal Democrats, who are closest to my own politics, but this election seems to be all about lining up a vote on independence. In my mind, a vote for Labour is a vote for the party most likely to be able to form a pro-union government. I'm also not too keen on the way that Charles Kennedy was ousted.

Plus SNP leader Alex Salmond is is a bit pervy-looking.

Lawyers are arseholes

It's shit like this that makes everyone think that lawyers are idiots, and that the USA is a country overflowing with spurious lawsuits. Read here about the lawyer trying to claim damages for trousers lost by his dry cleaner. Reasonable, you might say, but the damages that he is seeking are $65 million. He is clearly a prick, and this is the sort of claim that seems to be increasingly common over here.