Archive for April, 2008

happy birthday, <lj user=”mrpandabehr”>, <lj user=”pinkfish”>, and <lj user=”shelbycub”>

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

A rare triple LiveJournal birthday. Many happy returns of the day to you all! You’re great friends.

Today’s Caffeinated URL

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

HWMBO and I often go to Starbucks for a coffee after a long afternoon at an art gallery or museum. I hope that we have never been to this branch, though…

Today’s Natural History Wonders URL

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

It seems that the lowly tubeworm has a relative that has the unfortunate Latin name of Chaetopterus pugaporcinus, which means Chaetopterid worm that looks like the rump of a pig. Read all about it here

Today’s Software can be deadly URL

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Those of us who work in the software testing biz know that one of the sorest points in software development is localisation. That is, making sure that local variations on items such as spelling, font, alphabet, time and date, and the like actually appear correct to the people who are using it. Easy examples: Dates in the US are usually showed as mm/dd/yyyy (04/29/2008). Dates in most other places are shown dd/mm/yyyy (28/04/2008). On the 20th of April it is not too difficult to tell what date is referred to, but try it on May 2nd. This is localisation at work.

In Turkey, orthography is much different from that which we who speak, write, and read English expect. There are many accents and other letters which do not seem important to us but which make a huge amount of difference in Turkish. This is similar to the ano/a

Today’s Equine URL

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

My sister keeps horses, and I was bitten by one as a child (don’t try to feed a hungry horse with an apple), but it seems that some horses are quite discriminating in their propensity to mate.

Catching up

Monday, April 28th, 2008

We had a very busy weekend. On Friday, I decided with HWMBO that we needed to get away for Bank Holiday weekend next weekend, so we booked a trip to Manchester. We’re leaving on Saturday morning on a coach, not a train (the trains are FOOBAR this coming weekend because the train companies decided long ago that the best time to do lots of maintenance work was on weekends when the majority of the population wants to travel, natch). Staying until Monday afternoon. If anyone is in Manchester or environs and wants to dine with us, we’ve got Saturday and Sunday evenings open for bookings. Friends may actually meet other friends of ours that they don’t already know. I hope that is fine.

Saturday we lazed about until early afternoon, when we got our arses in gear and trotted over to Tate Modern where we met Daniel and Pei (Daniel is my former boss when I consulted at Morgan Stanley, and Pei is his partner, a Taiwanese musician) for the Duchamps, Man Ray and Picabia exhibition. It was OK, if perhaps a bit crowded, and we then walked to the Cantina Vinopolis for a really great dinner. We have only known each other for less than a year but I think we are drawn to be firends from common interests, including the fact that we are both long-term biracial couples.

Sunday we went to The Well after church, accompanied by Derek, , and Chris W. Enjoyed it tremendously.

Meme time…

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

posted this meme and asked that we post it in our own blogs so he could reply. Any additional replies will be duly noted.

Tell me 36 things about yourself.

1) Are you currently in a serious relationship?

2) What was your dream growing up?

3) What talent do you wish you had?

4) If I bought you a drink what would it be?

5) Favorite vegetable?

6) What was the last book you read?

7) What zodiac sign are you?

8) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.

9) Worst Habit?

10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?

11) What is your favorite sport?

12) Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude?

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?

15) Tell me one weird fact about you.

16) Do you have any pets?

17) What if i showed up at your house unexpectedly?

18) What was your first impression of me? (hmmm…careful!)

19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?

22) What color eyes do you have?

23) Ever been arrested?

24) Bottle or can soda?

25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?

27) What’s your favorite place to hang at?

28) Do you believe in ghosts?

29) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

30) Do you swear a lot?

31) Biggest pet peeve?

32) In one word, how would you describe yourself?

33) Do you believe in/appreciate romance?

35) Do you believe in God?

36) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

Humph is dead…long live Humph

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

I awoke this morning to the news that Humphrey Lyttelton, the host of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, died in hospital last night after an operation to repair an aortal aneurism. He was 86 years old.

You may remember this post from a month or so ago, where I mentioned how lively he was (even from Row Z, where we were). I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue is one of my favourite radio shows, and he will be missed. His BBC obituary is here.

For those of you who aren’t in the UK and who don’t know of Humph, you might want to look at I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’s website, which does not as of Saturday morning, have the news of his death. His own personal website does have the news and a great picture.

Samantha is inconsolable, but her gentleman friend is keeping her busy; she’s delving into his record collection of jazz recordings and will likely be listening to Humph blowing away at his trumpet and wishing he were still blowing.

Humphrey Lyttelton, 1921-2008

Today’s Penitent Video

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

It’s a Basque Country TV show, I think, but in Spanish, and funny nonetheless. Forgive me, for I have sinned…I laughed at this video!

Happy birthday, <lj user=”kc_risenphoenix”>

Monday, April 21st, 2008

…and many happy returns of the day! You share a birthday with Her Majesty the Queen, by the way. She’s 82 years old today.

Hay fever

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

I have never before had hay fever. In the spring I blithely went out and frolicked around, secure in the knowledge that no pollen was a match for my respiratory system.

A few weeks ago my nose started running and this week I began sneezing quite a bit. I think that at the ripe age of 55, I have finally succumbed.

As if I had no other health worries!

Today’s Drinking Buddy URL

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

After a night of drinking, when you get home you naturally want to get some shut-eye. But if you argued with your drinking buddy, you might find sleeping a bit difficult.

The guy who was trapped in an elevator

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Der Blogosphere has been full of the stories and time-lapse video of a guy trapped in an elevator for 41 hours a few years ago. I’m sure you’ve mostly all seen it, so no link here as I’m too lazy to find a good one.

This guy lost his job through the trauma of going through this.

I too have a trapped-in-an-elevator story. I think it may be almost more horrible than this guy’s. Many years ago (early 1980’s?) I was attending the Mensa gathering in New York City, which was held in that Trump hotel near Grand Central Station on 42nd Street. At the same time as our gathering was an Amway convention. I took an elevator and it got stuck. Imagine being stuck for an hour in an elevator half filled with Mensa members and half filled with Amway salesmen.

It’s a wonder any of us got out alive.

Today’s Come to Jeezus URL

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

A Singapore couple has been charged with distributing a Chick Tract. The tract in question, The Little Bride, features a Muslim boy trying to convert two young Christian girls (presumably to marry both of them, I suppose). One of the girls’ grandfathers explains to them why Islam is wrong, Mohammed is a person who married a 9 year old girl, and various other things that are pretty offensive to Muslims.

One of the couple has been charged under the Sedition Act, and the other under the Offensive Publications Act. They distributed them to two apparently Muslim people.

There are lots of interesting points in this. First, yesterday I looked at the Chick website and found the tract in question quite easily. It was slimy, as they all are, but also pretty risible, as they also are. Today I looked again, to refresh my memory, and I get an error message. In fact, in each language in which the Chick tract is published I get an error message. It seems to have been taken down. I wonder if there is a connection between this story and the removal of the tract. I do understand that the website was unavailable in Singapore through a bar by their government web proxy.

Second, Singapore is full of evangelical Protestants as well as a shedload of Roman Catholics. I suspect they won’t be too happy that two of their evangelists have been arrested for spreading the Word of God. They may actually do the unthinkable and lobby the government a bit.

Third, the tract in question (in my humble opinion) is likely to cause unrest in Muslim communities and particularly in Singapore, where there was a history of religious violence that only ended 40 years ago or so and still bubbles under the surface. The tract makes a disparaging reference to Muslim countries having the crescent moon on their flags (and there is such a crescent moon on Singapore’s flag, connected with its history as a Malay settlement up until a century or so ago). This will be highly offensive to Singaporeans of whatever religion.

Evangelisation is often best carried out by the example that Christians make of their own lives. Chick Tracts are a Southern Babtist’s idea of how to spread the Gospel. I don’t think they translate very well to Singaporean culture and society.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”j8d”>

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

and many happy returns of the day.

Today’s Internet Bride URL

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

As they often say, it’s always better to be able to examine the goods in person…farmers are supposed to be quite cautious but this one seems to have thrown caution to the winds.

Thanks to for the heads up.

Gay guy’s Video Request for a Boyfriend

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Gosh…there is something for everyone to go “oh, gross!” in this video boyfriend troll.

and if you want to see his “partial” striptease, here it is:

He has a lot of maturing to do. If he were a Brie, he’d be hard and bland. Thanks to for the heads up.

(Oh, the guy’s in Arizona, if you’re minded to track him down. But make sure that you’ve never had a penis inside you, or that if you have, don’t tell him about it. He doesn’t want to know.)

Today’s Music Video

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

…comes from the Indian subcontinent. The lyrics are helpfully transcribed in the subtitles. But, one wonders, who the heck is Benny Lava? Thanks to for the heads-up.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”ruth_lawrence”>

Monday, April 14th, 2008

…and many happy returns of the day! (as it’s April 15th where you are).

Today’s Consumer Reports URL

Monday, April 14th, 2008

If you fry your laptop, and your laptop maker says they’ll send you a new one, you expect it to be relatively clean and fresh. This person, however, got more than he bargained for…

Today’s Linguistic URL

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Being from Saarf Lunnon does help in understanding this article, but I still find it a bit, well, April-Foolish, innit.

Today’s Laughter is the Best Medicine post

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph’s Hospital. She timidly asked, ‘Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?’

The operator said, ‘I’ll be glad to help, dear. What’s the name and room number?’

The grandmother in her weak tremulous voice said, ‘Norma Findlay, Room 302.’

The operator replied, ‘Let me place you on hold while I check with her nurse.’

After a few minutes the operator returned to the phone and said, ‘Good news. Her nurse has told me that Norma is doing very well. Her blood pressure is fine. Her blood work just came back as normal and her Physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged Tuesday.’

The grandmother said, ‘Thank you. That’s wonderful! I was so worried! God bless you for the good news.’

The operator replied, ‘You’re more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?’

The grandmother said, ‘No, I’m Norma Findlay in 302. No one tells me shit.’

I was grumpy today…

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

…and not one of the Seven Dwarfs. We went out to lunch with our friend Mark, who is having a tough time with his visa and his relationship, and were friendly and loving ears while he told us all about it. We then were looking for a coffee shop to have a coffee in while continuing to talk. We went into a Caf

Another First!

Friday, April 11th, 2008

The Anglican Church of Australia has become the fourth province of the Anglican Communion to select a woman as bishop. The Venerable Kay Goldsworthy will be consecrated Assistant Bishop of Perth on May 22nd. Hooray! Four down, 34 provinces to go. The other three provinces which have women bishops are the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. The Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Ireland are two other provinces which have approved women bishops, but they have not yet actually consecrated one. The Church in Wales last week narrowly defeated a bill to allow women bishops,

Today’s Relic and Bad Web Design URL Combined

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Did you know that one of St. Catherine of Siena’s relics has a web page all to itself? Click over there if you dare!

Today’s Sartorial Elegance URL

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Normally one wants to have some tissues around for such emergencies, but some people would rather wear it than mop it up.

Today’s Nothing Like Starting ‘Em Off Early URL

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Fagin got his charges to pick a pocket or two…this girl decided that her baby could make a contribution to her own getaway… Thanks to BoingBoing for the tip. I’m sure it’ll end up in News of the Weird next week.

Today’s Matrimonial URL

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

For a long time ministers, priests, and rabbis have had the power to solemnise marriages for both civil and religious purposes. This is true both in the UK and the US. Various churches in the US have suspended marriage ceremonies, opting to bless a marriage already contracted civilly. Now, Newington Green Unitarian Church in North London has done the same. This will continue until full parity between same-sex and opposite-sex unions comes to pass in law.

Thanks to its minister, Andrew Pakula, for his support and his congregation’s support. They are my


Today’s How We Greet Dubya URL

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

In America, he’s often greeted by sycophantic cheering audiences or jeering protesters. However, in Russia, he was met somewhat differently…This is worth reading just for the fractured translation.

Antidote to “blogging will kill you” post

Monday, April 7th, 2008

A few days ago I blogged a link to an article the premise of which was that blogging can kill you. Well, ZD blogger Larry Dignan has his own take on this, and on balance, I think his take is better.

I hadn’t looked out the window just now…

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

…but this is what greeted me. What kind of May flowers will this April snowstorm bring?

Charlton Heston is dead…

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

…and as someone (no doubt, many millions of people) has pointed out, one can now pry the gun out of his cold dead hands. The greatness of his acting has of late been eclipsed by his advocacy of the National Rifle Association.

Today’s Blogging URL

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Most of us blog for fun. The lives of those who blog for pay can be pretty unfortunate. Thanks to The Knight Shift for the heads-up.

It’s Friday!

Friday, April 4th, 2008

This has been a laid-back week (except for the tax drama). The highlight of the week was yesterday, when HWMBO and I went to Hammersmith to dine and attend the stage show of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, or ISIHAC as it is more fondly known.

I got there first and waited from HWMBO at the entrance to the Piccadilly/District Line station. We managed to miss each other but by the miracle of mobile telephony we finally met and went to a Mexican restaurant just around the corner from the Apollo Theatre. We were the second couple to sit down to dinner, but by the time we left the place was heaving. If you are going to the Apollo and can show them the tix, you get free garlic bread. We shared a plate of tacos and various salsas, and washed it down with sangria–which I must add was delicious. Then I had a bacon and chicken tortilla with rice and salad. Odd combination for a Mexican restaurant, but it was delicious. HWMBO had a seafood tortilla, which he wasn’t as happy with. It had cockles in it, and later on, in the theatre, he asked me whether it was safe to eat them, fearing Hepatitis A. I said it was unlikely he’d get it from cooked cockles, and that seemed to calm him down.

Then to the Apollo. There were 3550 people in attendance, which the producer said was the largest live audience ever to see ISIHAC. We then participated in the largest kazoo ensemble ever (the previous Guinness Book of World Records had 2500 or so) and were photographed in the act. For those who have never heard ISIHAC, kazoos often play a large part in the show.

Then we had the show, and it was great. Barry Cryer, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, and Jeremy Hardy, all (barely) kept under control by Huymphrey Lyttelton, the 86 year old chair of the show. We shouldn’t forget the ever-fragrant Samantha, the scorer, who was supposed to attend but who was four times delayed by her gentleman friends.

I should add that I misread Row Z as “Row 2”, and thought we would be up front. HWMBO and I were dismayed to find that we were in the very last row, at the top of the theatre. We could see and hear everything that went on, just from a very great distance.

There was, of course, a game of Mornington Crescent, which we enjoyed immensely. At the end there was an encore which involved us all playing our kazoos, and when he had finished, someone brought Humphrey his trumpet (he was and is a spectacular jazz trumpeter, see his Wikipedia entry and his personal website) and he went to town. Next month he will be 87 years old, but he played as if he had the lips of a 25-year-old. It was wonderful!

Getting home wasn’t as pleasant. The entrance to the Underground is through a subway under the road, and the entrance is very narrow. We waited patiently and finally got to the station and home.

Today I had some blood taken for my twice-yearly diabetic and heart checkup. We will now see if my eschewing of caffeine has had any effect. Even if it hasn’t had any effect on my blood sugar, I think I feel slightly better for it and will probably continue with decaf and non-caffeinated cola. Lunch at the church drop-in, then gym (where I again saw and forgot to ask him whether he’d gotten his phone). HWMBO went out with his former workmates tonight, so I dined alone and am now waiting for his return.

Today’s Money URL

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

The designs of UK coinage have been static for most of the last 37 years or so, bar an “aging” of the portrait of the Queen on the reverse.

Now the Mint has revealed the new designs for our coinage (except for the

Happy birthday, <lj user=”ramsjb”>

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

…and many happy returns of the day.

My boring day

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Didn’t do much today except go to the gym, where I saw . Not a surprise, as I knew he was thinking of joining, but I wasn’t aware that he had already joined.