Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Songs of the 1990s # 3. 

These Days.
Jesus and Mary Chain, from Stoned and Dethroned, 1994.

Where do I start with this? Stoned and Dethroned has never left my CD player for long after I first bought it in 1994 (except when my daughter purloined it along with several others in my collection - no matter, she burned me another copy!).

This is one I'm happy to share. The album is aglitter with glorious acoustic guitar chords and breaks along with haunting, spine-tingling melodies, dark-themed, beautiful, unforgettable. The songs nearly all have a kind of reverent single-syllable vocal delivery.

These days I feel immune
To all the sadness and the gloom
If things fall into place
Get onto the right side of grace

The sadness of the lyrics is belied by the sheer precociousness of the guitar notes - with not much else by way of backing. It's like sunshine radiating out of your speakers.

Moving close
Those things seem so far away

In all truthfulness, I had great difficult picking this track from the rest. The album may be better known for the single Sometimes Always, a haunting duet with Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star; as well as for Gold Help Me sung - no, slurred - by the tragic Shane MacGowan of Irish band The Pogues. And, to be sure, no better song has been slurred, ever.

If you have not heard These Days and all of this brilliant album, I thoroughly recommend it.

I could take that walk
I'll just stay where I am

Yeah. Exactly.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

I need to buy more hooks. 

And put them on the back of doors, to hang coats.

And something in the hallway for raincoats and umbrellas.

The tasks never end, do they?

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Monday, June 28, 2004

Mr Possum is yet to put in an appearance. 

I'm sure it's the fierce wintry winds that have been blowing consistently over the last couple of weeks.

I'm sure he'll be back when the wind dies down and his tree stops swaying.

When I say 'Mr Possum' I mean 'Mr Possum and Immediate Family and Relations and In-Laws and Cousins'.

There are several conifers, each some fifty feet tall, at the edge of the garden. The foliage is dense, green and is home to hundreds of birds (either that or the trees chirp in unison every morning) and the extended Possum family.

Closer to the house, there are two magnolia trees. Just now, they are in bud, and they will flower presently. When they do, down will come the possums at night and up they will go into the magnolia to feast on the flowers.

Right now, Mr Possum and Co. are probably watching the magnolias from their conifer eyries, salivating at the thought of all the pink feast awaiting them.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Saturday, June 26, 2004

The clock. 

The alarm clock broke.

I thought it was the battery. I replaced the battery. It wasn't the battery.


They are supposed to sit there quietly ticking away forever, like clocks of yore.

Once, clocks didn't just, like, break for no reason. There was always a mechanical reason, like a spring sprung or something. And the studious-looking old man with half-glasses, a peak hat and a grey mustache would fix it for you, peering at it under a downlight. Not any more.

The clock was only five years old.

Today I went to the store and bought a new clock. I looked twice at the one with Shrek and the Donkey on it - their faces move as the clock ticks - cool - but I ended up choosing the smaller one because the alarm button was on top, not around the back like on the Shrek one.

An accessible alarm button is a clock's most important attribute.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Friday, June 25, 2004

Songs of the 1990s # 4. 

November Rain
Guns'n Roses, 1991

This song is a tour de force, a knockout blow to people who thought they could write a great rock song, or any great song. Even a great poem. Or a great piece of writing full stop.

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But darlin' when I hold you
Don't you know I feel the same
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it's hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain.

It's an odd fit in some ways. Weren't Guns'n Roses a hard rock or heavy metal band or something? It just shows something very, very good can break through typecasting.

The song is, of course, as much a symphony as a song, complete with sections.

The guitar soars over everything, as usual, and the notes eventually shatter off into shards of electricity like some modern version of a rococo fugue or cantata. In fact, I have often wanted to hear this song performed on one of these babies.

In some ways the raspy vocals and the lead guitar seem to swap roles, in a similar manner to Sweet Child o'Mine.

So if you want to love me
then darlin' don't refrain
Or I'll just end up walkin'
In the cold November rain
Do you need some time...on your own
Do you need some time...all alone
Everybody needs some time...on their own
Don't you know you need some time...all alone.

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain
I know that you can love me
When there's no one left to blame
So never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
'Cause nothin' lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Then the chanting starts, a haunting outro sounding eerily like an orchestra string section.

Don't ya think that you need somebody
Don't ya think that you need someone
Don't ya think that you need somebody
Don't ya think that you need someone
Everybody needs somebody
You're not the only one
You're not the only one.

Still sends a shiver down my spine.

I had a bad dose of November rain myself back in '91 ...

It's a long time ago now.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Sometimes I don't know who I am. 

Joe. Joe Bloggs. Joebloggs. Joexbloggs.

What happened before there were like, letters and alphabets? Humans have been around longer. How did they think of themselves?

And how did others think of them?

Probably how my father thought of his children: 'Hey! Number two, come here! Number three, run to the shop and get my cigarettes!' (You could in those days.) Hey, number one, have you washed the car yet?'

He had to resort to numbers because names were too hard. He used to run through the whole list of all the others' names before he'd remember the right one for the right child.

He must have been channelling Pre-Alphabet Man.

That's a throwback. Makes all the subsequent warring between nations seem a bit unnecessary.

'Cos we all bros, dude.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Monday, June 21, 2004

A short post for the shortest day of winter in the Southern hemisphere.  


is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Another very long post not written by me. 

Some months ago, I posted something written by Jerome K. Jerome.

Here's another thing he wrote. It's about cats and dogs and I dedicate it (how cheeky is that - me dedicating the work of another writer - but somehow I think Jerome K. Jerome would not object) to anyone who has ever loved a cat or a dog.

To write an essay of this length on cats and dogs seems such a nineteenth century thing to do. It is worth every minute of the twenty of thirty it takes you to read.


What I've suffered from them this morning no tongue can tell. It
began with Gustavus Adolphus. Gustavus Adolphus (they call him
"Gusty" down-stairs for short) is a very good sort of dog when he is
in the middle of a large field or on a fairly extensive common, but I
won't have him indoors. He means well, but this house is not his
size. He stretches himself, and over go two chairs and a what-not.
He wags his tail, and the room looks as if a devastating army had
marched through it. He breathes, and it puts the fire out.

At dinner-time he creeps in under the table, lies there for awhile,
and then gets up suddenly; the first intimation we have of his
movements being given by the table, which appears animated by a desire
to turn somersaults. We all clutch at it frantically and endeavor to
maintain it in a horizontal position; whereupon his struggles, he
being under the impression that some wicked conspiracy is being
hatched against him, become fearful, and the final picture presented
is generally that of an overturned table and a smashed-up dinner
sandwiched between two sprawling layers of infuriated men and women.

He came in this morning in his usual style, which he appears to have
founded on that of an American cyclone, and the first thing he did was
to sweep my coffee-cup off the table with his tail, sending the
contents full into the middle of my waistcoat.

I rose from my chair hurriedly and remarking "----," approached him at
a rapid rate. He preceded me in the direction of the door. At the
door he met Eliza coming in with eggs. Eliza observed "Ugh!" and sat
down on the floor, the eggs took up different positions about the
carpet, where they spread themselves out, and Gustavus Adolphus left
the room. I called after him, strongly advising him to go straight
downstairs and not let me see him again for the next hour or so; and
he seeming to agree with me, dodged the coal-scoop and went, while I
returned, dried myself and finished breakfast. I made sure that he
had gone in to the yard, but when I looked into the passage ten
minutes later he was sitting at the top of the stairs. I ordered him
down at once, but he only barked and jumped about, so I went to see
what was the matter.

It was Tittums. She was sitting on the top stair but one and wouldn't
let him pass.

Tittums is our kitten. She is about the size of a penny roll. Her
back was up and she was swearing like a medical student.

She does swear fearfully. I do a little that way myself sometimes,
but I am a mere amateur compared with her. To tell you the
truth--mind, this is strictly between ourselves, please; I shouldn't
like your wife to know I said it--the women folk don't understand
these things; but between you and me, you know, I think it does at man
good to swear. Swearing is the safety-valve through which the bad
temper that might otherwise do serious internal injury to his mental
mechanism escapes in harmless vaporing. When a man has said: "Bless
you, my dear, sweet sir. What the sun, moon, and stars made you so
careless (if I may be permitted the expression) as to allow your light
and delicate foot to descend upon my corn with so much force? Is it
that you are physically incapable of comprehending the direction in
which you are proceeding? you nice, clever young man--you!" or words
to that effect, he feels better. Swearing has the same soothing
effect upon our angry passions that smashing the furniture or slamming
the doors is so well known to exercise; added to which it is much
cheaper. Swearing clears a man out like a pen'orth of gunpowder does
the wash-house chimney. An occasional explosion is good for both. I
rather distrust a man who never swears, or savagely kicks the
foot-stool, or pokes the fire with unnecessary violence. Without some
outlet, the anger caused by the ever-occurring troubles of life is apt
to rankle and fester within. The petty annoyance, instead of being
thrown from us, sits down beside us and becomes a sorrow, and the
little offense is brooded over till, in the hot-bed of rumination, it
grows into a great injury, under whose poisonous shadow springs up
hatred and revenge.

Swearing relieves the feelings--that is what swearing does. I
explained this to my aunt on one occasion, but it didn't answer with
her. She said I had no business to have such feelings.

That is what I told Tittums. I told her she ought to be ashamed of
herself, brought up in at Christian family as she was, too. I don't
so much mind hearing an old cat swear, but I can't bear to see a mere
kitten give way to it. It seems sad in one so young.

I put Tittums in my pocket and returned to my desk. I forgot her for
the moment, and when I looked I found that she had squirmed out of my
pocket on to the table and was trying to swallow the pen; then she put
her leg into the ink-pot and upset it; then she licked her leg; then
she swore again--at me this time.

I put her down on the floor, and there Tim began rowing with her. I
do wish Tim would mind his own business. It was no concern of his
what she had been doing. Besides, he is not a saint himself. He is
only a two-year-old fox-terrier, and he interferes with everything and
gives himself the airs of a gray-headed Scotch collie.

Tittums' mother has come in and Tim has got his nose scratched, for
which I am remarkably glad. I have put them all three out in the
passage, where they are fighting at the present moment. I'm in a mess
with the ink and in a thundering bad temper; and if anything more in
the cat or dog line comes fooling about me this morning, it had better
bring its own funeral contractor with it.

Yet, in general, I like cats and dogs very much indeed. What jolly
chaps they are! They are much superior to human beings as companions.
They do not quarrel or argue with you. They never talk about
themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep
up an appearance of being interested in the conversation. They never
make stupid remarks. They never observe to Miss Brown across a
dinner-table that they always understood she was very sweet on Mr.
Jones (who has just married Miss Robinson). They never mistake your
wife's cousin for her husband and fancy that you are the
father-in-law. And they never ask a young author with fourteen
tragedies, sixteen comedies, seven farces, and a couple of burlesques
in his desk why he doesn't write a play.

They never say unkind things. They never tell us of our faults,
"merely for our own good." They do not at inconvenient moments mildly
remind us of our past follies and mistakes. They do not say, "Oh,
yes, a lot of use you are if you are ever really wanted"--sarcastic
like. They never inform us, like our _inamoratas_ sometimes do, that
we are not nearly so nice as we used to be. We are always the same to

They are always glad to see us. They are with us in all our humors.
They are merry when we are glad, sober when we feel solemn, and sad
when we are sorrowful.

"Halloo! happy and want a lark? Right you are; I'm your man. Here I
am, frisking round you, leaping, barking, pirouetting, ready for any
amount of fun and mischief. Look at my eyes if you doubt me. What
shall it be? A romp in the drawing-room and never mind the furniture,
or a scamper in the fresh, cool air, a scud across the fields and down
the hill, and won't we let old Gaffer Goggles' geese know what time o'
day it is, neither! Whoop! come along."

Or you'd like to be quiet and think. Very well. Pussy can sit on the
arm of the chair and purr, and Montmorency will curl himself up on the
rug and blink at the fire, yet keeping one eye on you the while, in
case you are seized with any sudden desire in the direction of rats.

And when we bury our face in our hands and wish we had never been
born, they don't sit up very straight and observe that we have brought
it all upon ourselves. They don't even hope it will be a warning to
us. But they come up softly and shove their heads against us. If it
is a cat she stands on your shoulder, rumples your hair, and says,
"Lor,' I am sorry for you, old man," as plain as words can speak; and
if it is a dog he looks up at you with his big, true eyes and says
with them, "Well you've always got me, you know. We'll go through the
world together and always stand by each other, won't we?"

He is very imprudent, a dog is. He never makes it his business to
inquire whether you are in the right or in the wrong, never bothers as
to whether you are going up or down upon life's ladder, never asks
whether you are rich or poor, silly or wise, sinner or saint. You are
his pal. That is enough for him, and come luck or misfortune, good
repute or bad, honor or shame, he is going to stick to you, to comfort
you, guard you, and give his life for you if need be--foolish,
brainless, soulless dog!

Ah! old stanch friend, with your deep, clear eyes and bright, quick
glances, that take in all one has to say before one has time to speak
it, do you know you are only an animal and have no mind? Do you know
that that dull-eyed, gin-sodden lout leaning against the post out
there is immeasurably your intellectual superior? Do you know that
every little-minded, selfish scoundrel who lives by cheating and
tricking, who never did a gentle deed or said a kind word, who never
had a thought that was not mean and low or a desire that was not base,
whose every action is a fraud, whose every utterance is a lie--do you
know that these crawling skulks (and there are millions of them in the
world), do you know they are all as much superior to you as the sun is
superior to rushlight you honorable, brave-hearted, unselfish brute?
They are MEN, you know, and MEN are the greatest, and noblest, and
wisest, and best beings in the whole vast eternal universe. Any man
will tell you that.

Yes, poor doggie, you are very stupid, very stupid indeed, compared
with us clever men, who understand all about politics and philosophy,
and who know everything, in short, except what we are and where we
came from and whither we are going, and what everything outside this
tiny world and most things in it are.

Never mind, though, pussy and doggie, we like you both all the better
for your being stupid. We all like stupid things. Men can't bear
clever women, and a woman's ideal man is some one she can call a "dear
old stupid." It is so pleasant to come across people more stupid than
ourselves. We love them at once for being so. The world must be
rather a rough place for clever people. Ordinary folk dislike them,
and as for themselves, they hate each other most cordially.

But there, the clever people are such a very insignificant minority
that it really doesn't much matter if they are unhappy. So long as
the foolish people can be made comfortable the world, as a whole, will
get on tolerably well.

Cats have the credit of being more worldly wise than dogs--of looking
more after their own interests and being less blindly devoted to those
of their friends. And we men and women are naturally shocked at such
selfishness. Cats certainly do love a family that has a carpet in the
kitchen more than a family that has not; and if there are many
children about, they prefer to spend their leisure time next door.
But, taken altogether, cats are libeled. Make a friend of one, and
she will stick to you through thick and thin. All the cats that I
have had have been most firm comrades. I had a cat once that used to
follow me about everywhere, until it even got quite embarrassing, and
I had to beg her, as a personal favor, not to accompany me any further
down the High Street. She used to sit up for me when I was late home
and meet me in the passage. It made me feel quite like a married man,
except that she never asked where I had been and then didn't believe
me when I told her.

Another cat I had used to get drunk regularly every day. She would
hang about for hours outside the cellar door for the purpose of
sneaking in on the first opportunity and lapping up the drippings from
the beer-cask. I do not mention this habit of hers in praise of the
species, but merely to show how almost human some of them are. If the
transmigration of souls is a fact, this animal was certainly
qualifying most rapidly for a Christian, for her vanity was only
second to her love of drink. Whenever she caught a particularly big
rat, she would bring it up into the room where we were all sitting,
lay the corpse down in the midst of us, and wait to be praised. Lord!
how the girls used to scream.

Poor rats! They seem only to exist so that cats and dogs may gain
credit for killing them and chemists make a fortune by inventing
specialties in poison for their destruction. And yet there is
something fascinating about them. There is a weirdness and
uncanniness attaching to them. They are so cunning and strong, so
terrible in their numbers, so cruel, so secret. They swarm in
deserted houses, where the broken casements hang rotting to the
crumbling walls and the doors swing creaking on their rusty hinges.
They know the sinking ship and leave her, no one knows how or whither.
They whisper to each other in their hiding-places how a doom will fall
upon the hall and the great name die forgotten. They do fearful deeds
in ghastly charnel-houses.

No tale of horror is complete without the rats. In stories of ghosts
and murderers they scamper through the echoing rooms, and the gnawing
of their teeth is heard behind the wainscot, and their gleaming eyes
peer through the holes in the worm-eaten tapestry, and they scream in
shrill, unearthly notes in the dead of night, while the moaning wind
sweeps, sobbing, round the ruined turret towers, and passes wailing
like a woman through the chambers bare and tenantless.

And dying prisoners, in their loathsome dungeons, see through the
horrid gloom their small red eyes, like glittering coals, hear in the
death-like silence the rush of their claw-like feet, and start up
shrieking in the darkness and watch through the awful night.

I love to read tales about rats. They make my flesh creep so. I like
that tale of Bishop Hatto and the rats. The wicked bishop, you know,
had ever so much corn stored in his granaries and would not let the
starving people touch it, but when they prayed to him for food
gathered them together in his barn, and then shutting the doors on
them, set fire to the place and burned them all to death. But next
day there came thousands upon thousands of rats, sent to do judgment
on him. Then Bishop Hatto fled to his strong tower that stood in the
middle of the Rhine, and barred himself in and fancied he was safe.
But the rats! they swam the river, they gnawed their way through the
thick stone walls, and ate him alive where he sat.

"They have whetted their teeth against the stones,
And now they pick the bishop's bones;
They gnawed the flesh from every limb,
For they were sent to do judgment on him."

Oh, it's a lovely tale.

Then there is the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, how first he
piped the rats away, and afterward, when the mayor broke faith with
him, drew all the children along with him and went into the mountain.
What a curious old legend that is! I wonder what it means, or has it
any meaning at all? There seems something strange and deep lying hid
beneath the rippling rhyme. It haunts me, that picture of the quaint,
mysterious old piper piping through Hamelin's narrow streets, and the
children following with dancing feet and thoughtful, eager faces. The
old folks try to stay them, but the children pay no heed. They hear
the weird, witched music and must follow. The games are left
unfinished and the playthings drop from their careless hands. They
know not whither they are hastening. The mystic music calls to them,
and they follow, heedless and unasking where. It stirs and vibrates
in their hearts and other sounds grow faint. So they wander through
Pied Piper Street away from Hamelin town.

I get thinking sometimes if the Pied Piper is really dead, or if he
may not still be roaming up and down our streets and lanes, but
playing now so softly that only the children hear him. Why do the
little faces look so grave and solemn when they pause awhile from
romping, and stand, deep wrapt, with straining eyes? They only shake
their curly heads and dart back laughing to their playmates when we
question them. But I fancy myself they have been listening to the
magic music of the old Pied Piper, and perhaps with those bright eyes
of theirs have even seen his odd, fantastic figure gliding unnoticed
through the whirl and throng.

Even we grown-up children hear his piping now and then. But the
yearning notes are very far away, and the noisy, blustering world is
always bellowing so loud it drowns the dreamlike melody. One day the
sweet, sad strains will sound out full and clear, and then we too
shall, like the little children, throw our playthings all aside and
follow. The loving hands will be stretched out to stay us, and the
voices we have learned to listen for will cry to us to stop. But we
shall push the fond arms gently back and pass out through the
sorrowing house and through the open door. For the wild, strange
music will be ringing in our hearts, and we shall know the meaning of
its song by then.

I wish people could love animals without getting maudlin over them, as
so many do. Women are the most hardened offenders in such respects,
but even our intellectual sex often degrade pets into nuisances by
absurd idolatry. There are the gushing young ladies who, having read
"David Copperfield," have thereupon sought out a small, longhaired dog
of nondescript breed, possessed of an irritating habit of criticising
a man's trousers, and of finally commenting upon the same by a sniff
indicative of contempt and disgust. They talk sweet girlish prattle
to this animal (when there is any one near enough to overhear them),
and they kiss its nose, and put its unwashed head up against their
cheek in a most touching manner; though I have noticed that these
caresses are principally performed when there are young men hanging

Then there are the old ladies who worship a fat poodle, scant of
breath and full of fleas. I knew a couple of elderly spinsters once
who had a sort of German sausage on legs which they called a dog
between them. They used to wash its face with warm water every
morning. It had a mutton cutlet regularly for breakfast; and on
Sundays, when one of the ladies went to church, the other always
stopped at home to keep the dog company.

There are many families where the whole interest of life is centered
upon the dog. Cats, by the way, rarely suffer from excess of
adulation. A cat possesses a very fair sense of the ridiculous, and
will put her paw down kindly but firmly upon any nonsense of this
kind. Dogs, however, seem to like it. They encourage their owners in
the tomfoolery, and the consequence is that in the circles I am
speaking of what "dear Fido" has done, does do, will do, won't do, can
do, can't do, was doing, is doing, is going to do, shall do, shan't
do, and is about to be going to have done is the continual theme of
discussion from morning till night.

All the conversation, consisting, as it does, of the very dregs of
imbecility, is addressed to this confounded animal. The family sit in
a row all day long, watching him, commenting upon his actions, telling
each other anecdotes about him, recalling his virtues, and remembering
with tears how one day they lost him for two whole hours, on which
occasion he was brought home in a most brutal manner by the
butcher-boy, who had been met carrying him by the scruff of his neck
with one hand, while soundly cuffing his head with the other.

After recovering from these bitter recollections, they vie with each
other in bursts of admiration for the brute, until some more than
usually enthusiastic member, unable any longer to control his
feelings, swoops down upon the unhappy quadruped in a frenzy of
affection, clutches it to his heart, and slobbers over it. Whereupon
the others, mad with envy, rise up, and seizing as much of the dog as
the greed of the first one has left to them, murmur praise and

Among these people everything is done through the dog. If you want to
make love to the eldest daughter, or get the old man to lend you the
garden roller, or the mother to subscribe to the Society for the
Suppression of Solo-Cornet Players in Theatrical Orchestras (it's a
pity there isn't one, anyhow), you have to begin with the dog. You
must gain its approbation before they will even listen to you, and if,
as is highly probable, the animal, whose frank, doggy nature has been
warped by the unnatural treatment he has received, responds to your
overtures of friendship by viciously snapping at you, your cause is
lost forever.

"If Fido won't take to any one," the father has thoughtfully remarked
beforehand, "I say that man is not to be trusted. You know, Maria,
how often I have said that. Ah! he knows, bless him."

Drat him!

And to think that the surly brute was once an innocent puppy, all legs
and head, full of fun and play, and burning with ambition to become a
big, good dog and bark like mother.

Ah me! life sadly changes us all. The world seems a vast horrible
grinding machine, into which what is fresh and bright and pure is
pushed at one end, to come out old and crabbed and wrinkled at the

Look even at Pussy Sobersides, with her dull, sleepy glance, her
grave, slow walk, and dignified, prudish airs; who could ever think
that once she was the blue-eyed, whirling, scampering,
head-over-heels, mad little firework that we call a kitten?

What marvelous vitality a kitten has. It is really something very
beautiful the way life bubbles over in the little creatures. They
rush about, and mew, and spring; dance on their hind legs, embrace
everything with their front ones, roll over and over, lie on their
backs and kick. They don't know what to do with themselves, they are
so full of life.

Can you remember, reader, when you and I felt something of the same
sort of thing? Can you remember those glorious days of fresh young
manhood--how, when coming home along the moonlit road, we felt too
full of life for sober walking, and had to spring and skip, and wave
our arms, and shout till belated farmers' wives thought--and with good
reason, too--that we were mad, and kept close to the hedge, while we
stood and laughed aloud to see them scuttle off so fast and made their
blood run cold with a wild parting whoop, and the tears came, we knew
not why? Oh, that magnificent young LIFE! that crowned us kings of
the earth; that rushed through every tingling vein till we seemed to
walk on air; that thrilled through our throbbing brains and told us to
go forth and conquer the whole world; that welled up in our young
hearts till we longed to stretch out our arms and gather all the
toiling men and women and the little children to our breast and love
them all--all. Ah! they were grand days, those deep, full days, when
our coming life, like an unseen organ, pealed strange, yearnful music
in our ears, and our young blood cried out like a war-horse for the
battle. Ah, our pulse beats slow and steady now, and our old joints
are rheumatic, and we love our easy-chair and pipe and sneer at boys'
enthusiasm. But oh for one brief moment of that god-like life again!

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Friday, June 18, 2004

48% auditory, 20% visual, 10% left, 8% bored, 5% asleep. 

I got this quiz from The Internet Ate My Homework - thanks, Bubby.

I forgot the percentage breakdowns, but here's the summary:

Joe, you exhibit an even balance between left- and right- hemisphere dominance and a slight preference for visual over auditory processing.

So I'm not going to fall over, right?

With a score this balanced, it is likely that you would have slightly different results each time you complete this self-assessment quiz.

Maybe I'm just indecisive.

You are a well-rounded person, distinctly individualistic and artistic, an active and multidimensional learner.

You callin' me a fat guy and then try to tone it down by sayin' I'm artistic? And what the hell is multidimensional? I'm not a cardboard cut-out.

At the same time, you are logical and disciplined, can operate well within an organization, and are sensitive towards others without losing objectivity. You are organized and goal-directed. Although a "thinking" individual, you "take in" entire situations readily and can act on intuition.

Organized and goal-directed? Nah. Try disorganized and over it.

You sometimes tend to vacillate in your learning styles. Learning might take you longer than someone of equal intellect, but you will tend to be more thorough and retain the material longer than those other individuals. You will alternate between logic and impulse. This vacillation will not normally be intentional or deliberate, so you may experience anxiety in situations where you are not certain which aspect of yourself will be called on.

So now I'm stupid and anxious as well as fat. Great.

With a slight preference for visual processing, you tend to be encompassing in your perceptions, process along multidimensional paths and be active in your attacking of situations or learning.

There's that multidimensional word again.

Overall, you should feel content with your life and yourself.

Cos' it's not getting better any time soon for the fat, stupid guy, huh?

You are, perhaps, a little too critical of yourself -- ...

WTF - I'm critical! I like that! I've just been called a virtual no-hoper by some dumbass quiz questionnaire that doesn't know me from Adam and now it tells me I'm the one that's critical!

... and of others -- while maintaining an "openness" which tempers that tendency. Indecisiveness is a problem and your creativity may not be in keeping with your potential. Being a pragmatist, you downplay this aspect of yourself and focus on the more immediate, obvious and the more functional.

And, just to cap it off, I'm an underachiever.

I'm not doing any more quizzes.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Thursday, June 17, 2004

It was a dark and stormy - and windy - night. 

The wind raged like a shrieking demon all night.

The house next door has a set of those 'tinking bells' on its back porch, the kind that tinkles gently when a zephyr or a light breeze stirs its stringed bells.

Those bells rang out all goddam night. They rang themselves into my dreams. Now a flying fire engine, bells ringing madly as the truck screamed across the sky; now a manic altar boy ringing the communion bells incessantly and laughing like a lunatic from the choir loft; now a herd of belled cows stampeding across some field; now a nineteenth century schoolmaster ringing a bell at the doorway of a tumbledown schoolhouse, leering horribly at the poor children and then locking them in, never to let them out again; and now the bells in the belfry of some old town hall in a lonely isolated village, ringing of their own accord and warning of impending doom.

When I woke up, the wind was stilled, the bells were silent.

Then next door's parrot made its daily greeting to the dawn.




I love that parrot. I'd prefer to hear its rasping call any day instead of those hellish jangling bells.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

What's with the flickering? 

I've just gotten over the crickets chirping in my computer, now Blogger is flickering like a turbo-charged butterfly.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Monday, June 14, 2004

They didn't interview me. 

And they got the name wrong.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Some one is walking around with caramel flavoured tea. 

I can smell it.

I totally do not not get caramel tea.

Tea is tea and caramel is caramel.

There should not be such a thing as caramel tea.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so


I can still barely believe that I can pick up a telephone handset and speak to someone on the other side of the world (given that I have dialled their number).

Okay, so it's electrical impulses, you say. Electrical impulses pick up the noise at the source and reproduce it at the other end, via some satellite in like, the next galaxy. Whatever.

Then how do electrical impulses convey the tone of someone's voice so that you recognise it?

Answer me that one, telephony dudes!

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Sunday, June 06, 2004


I went for a lunchtime stroll by the busy square in the city where there are hundreds of pigeons.

They have been there forever, eating bread crusts that folks throw down.

Times change. Today I saw one pecking at a sushi roll.

Pigeon thinks to himself: 'I'm likin' the rice, very tasty, but no way am I touching the seaweed, man. Like, you think I'm a seagull?'

Itadakimasu, Mr Pigeon-san!

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Friday, June 04, 2004

Help a beautiful elderly dog, please? 

I just read this at this dog shelter in NYC, and because I am not in the US, I am appealing for anyone who reads this who may be in the US to help find an owner for this dog.

It is a Golden Retriever/Brittany cross (the article does not mention Brittany, but it clearly is part-Brittany) and were I in the US I would take on this poor old guy this minute.

Please, if you know anyone in the area, urge them to take on this dog. I have owned two Brittanies and they are the best dogs in the world - second only to Golden Retrievers! It is the perfect combination.

The report says:

'Golden Retriever Size: Medium
Age: Senior
Sex: Male
I.D: D1215031 Notes: Rusty is a very special dog. After 14 years of loyal service this beautiful Golden Retriever mix was found tied up in a building that was about to be destroyed with garbage, and glass piled as high as Rusty's neck. Rusty's owner (Roy Ruiz) abandoned Rusty in this building after selling it, the real estate agent in charge of the sale has been taking care of Rusty for about 2 weeks now. Rusty is an incredibly special dog, he is gentle beautiful and loving. Although Rusty is an elderly 14 years of age, he is in tip top health and is ready to go into a home. If you are interested in fostering or adopting Rusty please e-mail Todd from Hearts and Homes for Homeless Dogs at lbleier@nyc.rr.com

We realize Rusty's age is an impediment, but if you have a home where he can live out his final years in peace, there's another brick in your palace in heaven.

This pet is: up to date with routine shots and already house trained'

That 14 year old age is so NOT an impediment, as the article says. My last Brittany reached one day before 14 years and was a regal, loving, superb, dignified dog.

Someone save Rusty. Please.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I wanted to read every book in the world. 

When I was a kid.

I used to wish people would like slow down writing books so I could catch up.

Now there's all this blog stuff to read.

* sigh *

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Songs of the 1990s # 5. 

Over and Over
From Ragged Glory, 1990.

Two Neil Young tracks in the top ten. And he can't even sing.

But they are two very different songs. Over and Over, with that trademark Crazy Horse barrage of electric guitars, is to the acoustic Music Arcade as an Ilyushin is to this.

There is no doubt that Ragged Glory, released back in 1990 - right at the beginning of the decade of grunge - influenced many grunge acts throughout the decade.

So - Over and Over:

After an opening guitar salvo that sounds like it wants to go on forever, Young's declamatory whine cuts in:

At night when the sky is clear
and the moon is shining down
My heart goes running back to you
I love the way
you open up and let me in
So I go running back to you,
Over and over again.

The song is really a sad nostalgia trip tinged with regret and the guitars are just an attempt to deafen the pain. It works. They deafen the listener too.

Remember the nights of love
and that moment on the beach
That wasn't really too long ago
But we paid the price of time,
and now it's out of reach
And so the broken circle goes,
Over and over again

What happens next? Another endless guitar break, making loop-the-loops and generally having a rollicking good time. Deaden that pain, Old Black!

Somewhere in a fire of love,
our dreams went up in smoke
We danced beneath silver rain
Upon the fields of green,
where time was just a joke
And now the feeling's
just the same,
Over and over again.

And then the guitars fuzz out to one long, sustained, distorted note - finally dying away like the embers of love's fire.

Over and over again my love
Over and over again with you
Over and over again my love
Over and over again with you.

If you are lucky enough to have a good sound system, there is only one way to play this track. Loud.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Sorry, we're outta chickens. 

This is the stupidest conversation I ever had in a take-away food outlet:

- Can I help you sir?

- Can I have one medium roast chicken, please.

(It was late, I had my children to feed, I had the vegetables on at home and I just needed a roast chicken, right? So I drive over to Red Rooster, the country's biggest take-away chicken chainstore, right?)

- I'm sorry, sir, we're right out of chickens.

(A moment's shocked pause.)

- You're outta chickens?

- Yes sir. We ran right out of chickens just an hour ago.

- But ... but ... you're a chicken store, right?

- Yes sir, but we just ran out of chickens.

- I can't believe you ran right out of chickens, because, like, when you're getting low don't you, like, call someone up to send over some more chickens?

(I don't know, a central just-in-time ordering system or something, whatever, I'm not Ronald McDonald, I don't know how these things work, I just know they SHOULD! Like, it's a national chain with a store in every other suburb, they totally need to not run outta chickens, right?)

- We've ordered more sir, but they won't be here until tomorrow.

- But you're open until midnight, what are you going to sell until then?

- We still have fries, thickshakes, chicken nuggets, soft drinks, potato salad, mashed potato ....

But no chickens. DUH.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

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