Sunday, December 30, 2007

see for yourself - the 'r's end 2007 with a win over watford

the highlight of my final weekend in london (alongside the louise bourgeois exhibit at the tate modern this afternoon with the giant spider that i love so much)

did i not mention - they were second from the top, we were second from the bottom, the game was away, and we were 3-0 up at half-time and managed not to lose to another last-minute goal. hurrah!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

benazir bhutto is assassinated

i just turned on my computer and saw the headline. although she escaped a previous attempt when she returned to pakistan, and has been in danger for some time, it is still unbelieveable to me that she is gone. not to mention the poor people who died with her in the suicide attack. i may not have agreed with her politics, but i admired her achievements as a woman. she was the first democratically elected woman prime minister of a muslim country. i am quite shocked.

yahoo report
the times report
key events in her career
the grauniad
her official website

may she rest in peace, although the aftermath in pakistan may make it impossible.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

qpr 2-1 colchester

and i was there! in my camera, and thus not available until i get back home, are some pics from a lovely day at loftus road. i got all dorky and took pictures of myself with players. luckily i could only recognise about 4 of them since there are so many new faces these days. never mind - just wanted to share with you the joy of being there and the joy of being there when they win and, well, the joy!

come on uuuuu rrrrr's!

Friday, December 21, 2007

the richest club in the world?

that is what today's sun say about my sad darling queens park rangers. it says so right here. lakshmi mittal, the official holder of fifth place in the world's richest person championship, has become a shareholder at qpr.

this is all utterly surreal. in august, we were this close to going out of business. today, mr chelski and his minions are pocket change next to our newest investor. of course, the great worry for us as fans is - what will happen to the soul of our club? it's all very well having pots of money, but what is going to change, and do we want it to?

watch this space :-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

how to win at rock paper scissors

according to my friends at the telegraph, there is a simple strategy to winning the game of rock, paper, scissors:

"Research shows that stone, also called rock, is the most popular of the three possible moves in the game. That means that your opponent is likely to choose paper, because they will expect to you to start the game with stone. By going with scissors, you achieve an early victory."

and there you have it. Use your power for good, not for evil.

worst xmas cracker jokes ...

an english friend of mine here in boston told me the other day that americans do not know what xmas crackers are. can it be so? well i am too tired today to do the googling and linking so i ask you to take care of that business yourself if necessary. meanwhile, tomorrow's telegraph investigates the worst jokes from such crackers. here is their report, and here is their, and my favourite:

What is Santa's favourite pizza?

One that's deep pan, crisp and even.

ba dump dum!

o alright ... cannot look at those puppy-dog eyes ... here is a link to explain the crackers ... go, enjoy!

desperate diedrich

a photo from goslar in germany, demonstrating a creative way to overcome the local smoking ban in restaurants. or, how to be outside when you are inside.

???

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

looking a gift goat in the mouth

ethical gifts are all the rage these days with many of my friends and acquaintances. indeed, my housemates and i decided this year that instead of exchanging tchochkes, we would pool our $10 maximum and buy some bees from heifer international.

this morning, the bbc posted a story suggesting that while we may feel better about doing something like this, the recipients of our beneficence may feel patronised and demeaned.

"Charity director Ceri Dingle claims this is a prime example of how aid workers do not take into account the dreams and ambitions of people in developing countries. She says: "Giving someone a grasscutter to feed their family reinforces the assumption that these people are not like us. "Would you like a grasscutter for Christmas? People in the developing world are like us - they know the sorts of things we have and they want them too. Giving these things assume they want to continue to scrape by on the land. Survival is not development.""

the rest of the story is here.

o dear o dear o dear.

Monday, December 17, 2007

international year of the potato 2008

o my goodness! for a woman whose grandmother's grandmother was from the city of minsk aka the potato capital of all the russias, this is wonderful news. i have dedicated my life to celebrating the versatility of this tuber, and am delighted that it has now been given the recognition it deserves.

"The potato's story begins about 8,000 years ago near Lake Titicaca, which sits at 3,800 m (12,500 ft) above sea level in the Andes mountain range of South America, on the border between Bolivia and Peru. There, research indicates, communities of hunters and gatherers who had first entered the South American continent at least 7,000 years before began domesticating wild potato plants that grew around the lake in abundance ... Planting tubers remains the most important activity of the farming year near Lake Titicaca, where the potato is known as Mama Jatha, or mother of growth. The potato remains the seed of Andean society."
the official website

Sunday, December 16, 2007

another reason for not growing my hair

yahoo had a spot on scariest hairdos in the movies. this one scared me the most. princess leia's doughnuts have become friendly reminders of the excesses of the seventies, but this is just unbearable. it's probably why she agreed to shave her head for 'v for vendetta'!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the great turkish delight controversy

yesterday's times has a story about turkish delight. rather than an upbeat recording of another goalscoring exploit by tugay for blackburn rovers; or an analysis of the morals of edmund pevensie, it tells the tale of a trademark war between the loukoumi yeroskipou of the greek cypriot confectioners and the lokum of turkey.

the greek cypriots have called shotgun for the european union trademark for their version of the sweet, and the national pride of turkey appears to be at stake, even though the only place where the confection is called 'turkish delight' appears to be england. it is not as if the turks will not be able to trademark their own version, and it could end up that at least three kinds of sweet will be trademarked. however, turkish nerves are a little jangly at the moment and this situation is not helping.

european diabetics await further developments with extra epipens standing by.

what have i done to deserve this?

a rather depressed baby panda sits it out while being ogled by the masses.

spiderpig

sorry, but i could not resist this:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the dark knight

i'm sorry but i can't help it - i do like batman, and especially the dark knight versions. i have the comicbooks, sorry, graphic novels. so i am interested in what they are going to do with the latest films. hence a pic of the new joker, hot off the internet presses - heath ledger.

i quite like the poster as well :-)

mmmmm marlee

only a few weeks until the new season of 'the l word' begins and the p.r. machines are beginning to roll. see dorothy's page for more details. i just borrowed this pic of my favourite guest on the show. am not a tibette fan, and am hoping, probably in vain, that after the writers have messed with bette's heart some more, they will let her end up with jodi. and i just saw a pig fly by my window.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

er, burnley 0-2 qpr. this is not a typo

captain bolder gets stuck in

a cold night up north sees a surprise win for the 'r's against an in-form burnley team. highlight of the evening was the second goal - in the last minutes, the burnley 'keeper came up into the attack for a corner kick. qpr cleared the ball, and rowan vine collected it and sprinted down the field to tap it into an empty net. excellent! of course, all our moods have swung quicker than any hormones could move them :-) what the heck - we have more than 3 days to enjoy this brief lapse from the egregious before the next match.

Monday, December 10, 2007

say what?

akos buzsaky of queens park rangers has been named to the coca-cola championship team of the week. really. honestly. look here if you don't believe me. to tell the truth, i don't believe me, but it is there in all its pixellated glory. okay akos!

scun*horpe utd 2-2 qpr

i believe this is the rare sighting of a qpr goal. scored by an unpronounceable hungarian on loan from plymouth. they did not lose. they did not win. they let a lead go twice. apparently our defence is made of jelly, while the midfield runs through a pit of treacle. meanwhile, the manager cannot speak english, and the team members appear unable to communicate with each other. the fact is, however, that our next-door neighbour in wembley in 1970 was a qpr fan, not an arse or phlegm or scum fan. thus we are forever bound to suffer. and we did not lose!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

beatboxing peter and the wolf

thanks to susie bright for pointing out this youtube clip:


i do so love peter and the wolf. the version i have on cd is narrated by michael flanders.

robot perlman et al

humanoid robots that have such fine motor control - quite thrilling! as long as they remember the 3 laws of robotics:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

isaac asimov wrote these in 1942. they still seem pretty applicable to me in 2007. i think we are a long way from android rights issues. meanwhile, as long as we find viable renewable power sources for such mechanical devices, the idea that they may be able to help older people to be physically safe and cared for is very attractive.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

paddington bear to be arrested!

latest news from the bbc is that paddington bear, who stowed away on a boat from peru when his aunt lucy went into a nursing home, is to be arrested and questioned about his immigration status. we await further developments.

full story here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

nigella and the weight fascists

in this article, the times talks to nigella lawson (and also a little to vanessa feltz) about the perils of being comfortable with a more rubenesque body. shane watson says:

"“It isn’t great being described as overweight,” Nigella tells me over the phone, matter of factly. “Maybe I have put on weight, or maybe it’s a bad camera angle. But in real life, this is normal size. “Everyone is so critical,” she continues. “All must be sacrificed to the great god of skinny. You must say no to everything. Life has to be pretty fabulous, surely, if you can afford to turn down occasions of pleasure?”"

what a load of poo says the ravaj eloquently! nigella - overweight? what a load of rubbish! enough, however, of this philosophising. the quote in the article that stood out for me was:

"“I associate thinness with dying. My mother had real eating issues. When she had cancer, she said, ‘This is the first time I have eaten without worrying,’ and that is chilling. Something clicked, and I vowed never to say, ‘I am not allowed that.’ ”"

i remember reading a book by nigella's late husband, john diamond, describing his experiences with the cancer that eventually killed him. at one point, he described a moment of joy when he was thin enough to fit into his wife's jeans. i thought to myself, gosh, at least if i am dying, the upside is that i will be able to eat as much of my mother's cranberry cheesecake as i would like. and then there is the movie 'chocolat', where judi dench's character, a diabetic, decides to go out with one last feast - a chocolate dinner where every dish contains some of the dread sweet. again i thought, that makes total sense! i also thought once more of my mother's cranberry cheesecake - it really is that good.

nu - the writer's main thrust turns out to be that women are creating this problem for themselves:

"There is a lot of confusion about this weight fascism. We blame fashion. We blame models. We blame ageism and advertising and celebrity. But who stands to gain from ostracising women because they are too curvaceous or too thin? Other women, that’s who: women who mistrust their own sex and who lack confidence in themselves."

that is a whole other debate. for now, i am just working on finding a safe boundary between the killer threat that sugar is to me as a diabetic, and the struggle to love my body for exactly what it is right now. after all, despite my best efforts to the contrary, my body has kept me alive. it has kept faith with me rather than giving up. surely that is an excellent reason to love it? surely that is an excellent reason for so many of us :-)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

the owl of learning and technology

here i am in the bowels of the brandeis library. this is getz - the technological hub of the campus, and i am waiting for the video of today's maths lesson to be transferred onto a dvd so i may add it to the class collection for viewing and critique on thursday. the room is full of worshipful i-macs, sisters to my own back at 72a. while i wait, i ask the defender of the multimedia loans desk if there is any music by martha schlamme in the collection. there are four vinyl records. i am rather excited by this. sadly, the record players do not work as the needle is broken. i ask j., the kind young man who is supervising my video tape, about turning vinyl music into mp3s. i tell him that the record-player before us was the equivalent of the i-pod when i was batmizvah. he tells me that he has seen record-players but has never used one. i shall have to roll my trousers when i get home. meanwhile, i wait ...

Monday, December 03, 2007

and the turner prize goes to ...

... mark wallinger.

according to the bbc: "Mark Wallinger has been named the winner of the Turner Prize for his replica of the one-man anti-war protest in Parliament Square, State Britain." above is a still from a recording of ten nights he spent alone in berlin's neue nationalgalerie dressed in a bear suit.

more details on the prize here
and here
and also here
nb best comment online so far:

"This is a bit dull. Perhaps he should have called the bear Mohammed.
JLS, London, UK"

gillian gibbons pardoned

the president of sudan has pardoned the schoolteacher who allowed her students to name a teddy bear 'muhammed'. hurrah.

yahoo report is here.
daily mail
telegraph
grauniad

Sunday, December 02, 2007

we are the people we have been waiting for

thanks to tom friedman at the ny times for pointing out this website: vehicle design summit. if you have any interest in alternative resources of energy, and particularly a vehicle "designed to maximize occupant, pedestrian and environmental safety", then you may be interested in these guys. tired of waiting for governments and businesses to put aside short-term goals in favour of long-term solutions, the vds mission statement asserts that they "will begin by assembling a global consortium of the world's leading thinkers, dreamers, revolutionaries and change agents to develop the collaborative framework necessary to harness the world's genius, imagination and inspiration." Who are they? check them out at the people menu on the website. this appears to have begun at m.i.t., so as a temporary local i may feel some local pride. or not. i await further developments.

o yeah, and the title is also from the mission statement!