Saturday, September 27, 2008

nobody can eat 50 eggs! paul newman r.i.p.

one of my all-time favourite movie actors has died. in the days when i was attracted to men, he was my model for the perfect man. i loved his values, his deeds and, o yes, his looks.

regarding his body of work, the three films that come to mind most clearly are 'cat on a hot tin roof', 'cool hand luke', and 'butch cassidy and the sundance kid' (i loved the music of 'the sting' more than the film). of these, the most memorable bit is the egg-eating:

is this possible? the bbc checked it out in hollywood science

by those of us who never knew the man, he will never be missed as long as his films continue to be show. to his family and friends, my condolences.

afp news
telegraph obit
actors pay tribute
olga craig on pn

Friday, September 26, 2008

er, um, i dunno ... sarah palin on foreign policy

Watch CBS Videos Online
that well-known hard-nosed reporter, katie couric, asks sarah palin a couple of simple questions. and there are seriously people out there who seriously think that this woman is a serious contender for public office? and qpr will be in the premiership next year! wait a minute, that could actually happen. help!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

miracles abound

damion stewart celebrates his winner at villa park this evening

there i was, being thoroughly depressed by the play 'fat girl' (author neil labute), and wondering whether the ravaj would ever find her bescherte ... and then the news came through (thank you rachel's i-touch) that qpr, playing away, in the cup, against a premiership team, had not been humiliated. the thing is - they won!


amazing what happened to me. depression lifted, dodgy stomach was suddenly able to eat spicy indian food, and i started being nice to people again. you may have no interest in football, or any kind of sport. however, those who love me tolerate my obsession because it truly has the power to raise me from the (near) dead. hurrah for queens park rangers!

Monday, September 22, 2008

farewell to yankee stadium

i still don't know why they have to destroy a perfectly good stadium just to build another one TWENTY YARDS AWAY. the last game was played yesterday ... a win for pettitte, a curtain call for dj, good relief by joba and closed by mo. goodbye house that ruth built.

sarah and hillary, together at last

the moment so many have waited for - tina fey dons her sarah specs

palin for president!

a fine campaign video that makes a strong case for palin ... michael palin that is.

btw, life in london has been such fun that i am a wee bit behind in posting. hoping to catch up soon :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

do i dare to insult the pope?

sabine guzzanti, an italian comedian, is being threatened with jail by the public prosecutor in rome for saying naughty things about pope benedict. the times of london reports:

"Giovanni Ferrara, the Rome prosecutor, is invoking the 1929 Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Vatican, which stipulates that an insult to the Pope carries the same penalty as an insult to the Italian President. Prosecution requires authorisation from the Ministry of Justice, for which Mr Ferrara has applied."

responses in italy are mixed, but sabina's father commented:

"Paolo Guzzanti, Ms Guzzanti's father and a centre Right MP, said the move was "a return to the Middle Ages”. "Perhaps my daughter should be submitted to the judgement of God by being made to walk on hot coals," he added"

the cause of free speech never runs smooth. meanwhile, aren't there other things in the world that could do with such energy and attention? o, right, berlusconi (the italian p.m.) is after the catholic vote ...

here is the rest of the article

Thursday, September 11, 2008


people around me are panicking. not because england won a world cup match in croatia and now the tabloids don't know who to pick on. neither was it because the large hadron collider has been turned on and the end of the world has not yet happened. it is not even because of the knowledge that angry goats who were wrongly imprisoned in the congo have now been freed to wreak their revenge.

why are we all so anxious? two simple words: sarah palin.


all of a sudden people are quoting opinion polls and reading about sp dolls selling out and claiming that obama was referring to her as the pig wearing lipstick (i don't think he is bald-faced enough to do something like that, er, i mean there are ethics and values and all that stuff) and that this slight will cause all white women to vote republican.

it's going to be ok, though, don't worry. there is a simple cure for all this. in two words: tina fey. as a separated at birth looky-likey of the vp candidate, we just need her to go on 'saturday night live' a few times and shape the conscience of our nation with a few well-designed sketches.

or, you can join me in europe for the next month or so.

a freudian slip

abc network's terry moran reveals the truth about obama's origins (tip o' the keyboard to ken levine)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

the rest of the world prefers obama

the bbc online news page has announced:

"All 22 countries in a BBC World Service poll would prefer Democratic nominee Barack Obama to be US president, ahead of his Republican rival John McCain. Mr Obama was favoured by a four-to-one margin across the 22,500 people polled. In 17 of the 22 countries surveyed the most common view was that America's relations with the rest of the world would improve under a President Obama. If Mr McCain were elected, the most common view in 19 countries was that relations would remain about the same. The poll was conducted before the Democratic and Republican parties held their conventions and before the headline-grabbing nomination of Sarah Palin as Mr McCain's running mate. BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the results could therefore be a reflection of the greater media focus on Mr Obama as he competed for the presidential candidacy against Hillary Clinton."

more detailed numbers may be found here.

o dear, better not tell anyone. i have a funny feeling that if americans learned how the rest of the world wished they would behave, they would automatically do the opposite, just because they could.

fowl humour

don't ask me why i did it. here are some recent answers to the eternal question: why did the chicken cross the road?

Howard Cosell : It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history. An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an Herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo- sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurrence.

Machiavelli : So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken's dominion maintained.

Albert Camus: It doesn't matter; the chicken's actions have no meaning except to him.

Darth Vader : Because it could not resist the power of the Dark Side.

Mark Twain : The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Dr Johnson: Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have, you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the Need to resist such a public Display of your own lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.

H. P. Lovecraft:
To escape the eldritch, chthonic, rugose, polypous, indescribably horrible abomination not from our space-time continuum.

and the two female versions i have so far discovered (if you count the sphinx as being a female sphinx):

Emily Dickinson : Because it could not stop for death.

The Sphinx : You tell me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

piglet and the lion

on saturday afternoon, a dear friend from toronto came to visit, and managed to persuade ravaj and the pig to ride on a green-line boston transit vehicle and join her at the isabella stewart gardner museum. photography is forbidden in the museum. heck, breathing too close to the objets d'art will earn a loud and stern reprimand from the uniformed guards in each room. we did, however, manage to stage this brief interaction between a lion guarding the exit and our lovely pig.

nb no inanimate objects were harmed during the photographing of this picture.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

after wolong

what next for the pandas rescued from the wolong conservation centre after the earthquake? nobody knows yet, but at least they are safe and cared for.

Friday, September 05, 2008

end of the week procrastination aid

this was my favourite candidate for the bookseller magazine's diagram prize for oddly-named publications. sadly, it was pipped to the post by 'greek rural postmen and their cancellation numbers'. noted the grauniad:

""I think the voters wanted a feelgood story about rural postmen because of all the news of post offices closing around the country," said The Bookseller's charts editor Philip Stone. He has so far been unsuccessful in his attempts to contact the book's author Derek Willan to let him know about his win. "There's no prize but the boost in sales is surely prize enough," Stone said. "When we announced our last shortlist, sales increased by 1,000%, from one copy sold in the two weeks previously to ten afterwards.""

for other losing titles, see here. for an explanation, see here.

the wisdom of shirley maclaine

interviewed in the los angeles times on the occasion of the showing of her tv film about coco chanel:

"LA Times: Are you getting smarter as you get older?

Maclaine: No. I'm getting tired."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

flip-flopping republicans? no way!

ok you can probably do this to some extent with the democrats as well. you can probably do it with an awful lot of politicians all over the place. however, it was not the democrats who were in jon stewart's line of fire yesterday. watch the hypocrisy. and tell your friends!

why i cannot support sarah palin

palin poses with a caribou shot by her good self

it would be the ultimate irony if the republican candidate for vice-president of the usa ended up being the first woman elected to one of the top two political positions in the country. the euphoria of many after the attack-dog speech sarah palin gave in minnesota last night had me reaching for indigestion tablets. here are some reasons why i felt sick:

* she is an evangelical xian
* who is a member of feminists for life
* and enjoys hunting as a lifelong member of the national rifle association
* she is a big supporter of oil drilling in the arctic national wildlife refuge
* as the daughter of a science teacher, she is open to teaching creationism in public schools

as the l.a.times said:

"she is against abortion even in cases of rape and incest, sued the federal government to take polar bears off the endangered species list, has said creationism should be taught in schools and advocated a constitutional ban on providing healthcare benefits to same-sex partners"

or as gloria steinem wrote:

"Palin ... opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger."

how anyone who was a hillary supporter could possibly be angry enough to vote for a person, whatever their gender, with these particular values, i just do not know.

nb i have no problems with anyone having a religious belief (re evangelical xian note), i am just a firm believer in the separation of church and state, do not believe that ms palin is able to make that division, and thus am dismayed that she is running for national office

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

dame alison munro r.i.p.

"Of the Miss Buss and Miss Beale rather than the bra-burning school of feminism, Alison Munro believed that if she was to fulfil what she saw as the school's mission of educating girls to be leaders of society, priority should be given to academic achievement: to a father foolish enough to inquire why his daughter was not learning domestic science, she replied: "We don't teach cookery, we teach chemistry.""
the telegraph

alison munro was the high mistress (principal) who interviewed me when i applied to st paul's girls' school. i have to say that i do not recall her all that well. clearer in my memory is the warning i was given before the interview that whatever i did i should not discuss either enid blyton or anything to do with horses. nevertheless, if she had not admitted me my life would have been quite different. i am glad that she did :-)

times obit

a favourite commercial

thank you to all who sent birthday wishes to the ravaj. am now a year older but probably not much wiser :-) in the spirit of celebration and joy, here is an ad that i love. the kit-kat slogan is 'have a break', so the theme here is beings behaving against type, e.g., roy keane (hard man footballer) with an embroidery hoop and anti-feminist bernard manning doing the dishes etc. in the end, i can take or leave those parts - it is the daleks that i love, asking for a cuddle and hanging out with the hare krishna folk. enjoy!