Archive for June, 2007

This seriously scares the hell out of me.




Save The Internet

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Warming up Paris

Naturally 7 singing live on a Paris metro train. Watch the Parisian guy who insists on continuing with his crossword throughout most of the band’s performance (he wasn’t fooling me).


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Pure Genius

sidis.jpg   I was having a quick look at the Estimated IQ’s of some of the Greatest Geniuses (as one does on a Sunday night, whilst waiting for the latest instalment of Big Brother 8) and became pretty fascinated by the story of (possibly) the most intelligent person who has ever lived: William James Sidis.
With an estimated IQ of between 250 and 300, he ‘out-brained’ even Einstein (a measly 160), yet at the end of his life (he was 45 when he died) he was earning a living in fairly routine and relatively menial jobs — through he was (privately) working on some heavyweight projects during this time.

calend1.jpg   That’s a copy of Sidis’s Perpertual Calendar on the left. There’s a lot more information here and here. I’m not too surprised that Sidis had some trouble interacting with other people, or that there was some threat to have him certified at one point. I’d love to find out what happened to his lost manuscripts.

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_38040325_baggytrousers.jpg   So the mayor of Delcambre in Louisiana is about to sign a law making it a criminal offence to wear baggy trousers which expose the wearers undergarments. When I first heard about that, I thought it had to be some sort of a joke – criminalising people because of a fashion choice. In the Land of the Free.

Seemingly, the rationale for the ban is that some people find it offensive for others to have their underwear on display in public. And there may be some support for the ban among Delcambre residents, as a recent online poll revealed that a majority of respondents were in favour of the ban — though it may be the case that any potential trouser-criminals were too busy enjoying life to take any notice the poll. I can understand that some people are not too keen on the sight of other people underwear being on display but I can’t see how that ‘dislike’ can be stretched to a situation where one group’s disapproval of a fashion preference is enough to criminalize another group of people.

There seems to be a distinct trend for this form social interference in recent years: one group of people take a dislike to a particular activity and then seek ways justifying sanctions aimed at eliminating the targeted behaviour. The number one tactic (which has recently overtaken the ‘it’s-for-your own-good’ approach) is to bleat on about how detrimental someone’s lifestyle choices are to the controlling group. In the case of baggy trousers, the law is ‘justified’ because it is supposedly offensive to the eye and moral sensibilities of onlookers (the ‘because something can be perceived by one of my senses, I have the right to outlaw your behaviour and impose my will on you’ phenomenon). Live and let live doesn’t come into it.

If the Fashion Police hit the UK shores, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and lobby against the various fashion disasters that insult my eye on a daily basis.  Middle-aged men in over-tight jeans will be the first on my hit-list. I know there’s not that many of them out there and I that don’t have to look — and that I invaribly avert my gaze from their offensive ancient trouser-packets – but that’s not the point. They’re out there and they have to be stopped – six months in the slammer may well put a stop to their tight-slacks shenanigans.

nose-hair.jpg   Nose hair, too. Not strictly fashion-related but highly offensive to my sensibilities and there’s no excuse for it, as every man of a certain age has surely been presented with at least one nose/ear hair trimmer device during each and every festive season. I know it is my present of choice for every male acquaintance over the age of thirty.

I want cropped trousers banned too, not only because they only look good on an infinitesimal percentage of the world’s population but because some moral deviants insist on wearing them with socks (dirty beggars) and I’m offended by the sight of other people’s socks (socks should be private, socks pollute the air, socks howl at the moon…).

purdey.jpg   I can see how this Banning Everything can get to be addictive. I’m becoming quite power-crazed just pondering on what I could ban next. I think I’ll make a start on hairstyles that don’t meet with my approval. Yesterday, for instance, I had to put up with standing in a supermarket queue behind a little old lady who was sporting a hideously inappropriate Pageboy haircut, no doubt a leftover from her heyday in the1960’s.

This latter-day Purdey had also omitted to fasten the top two buttons of her blouse, thus exposing me to the sight of her underwear (a thermal vest, if I’m not mistaken). I could also detect a slight whiff of lavender fragrance emulating from her. I detest lavender, yet the Jezebel had the nerve to inflict it on me – it near-enough drowned-out my own delightful Gaultier scent. That woman’s days are numbered in more ways than she can imagine.

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I’ve got a bit of a fascination with old photographs – not just family photographs which have some direct meaning to me but ‘lost’ photographs of anonymous strangers. I’m not much interested in formal portraits (though I make an exception with Disfarmer, who was a pretty unusual professional photographer) and prefer amateur snapshots and photo booth images. I find those photographs poignant and intriguing — captured moments of time and a keyhole into lives now long gone.
I’ve just discovered Nicholas Osborn’s Square America, which has hundreds of photographs from the first three-quarters of the twentieth century. I love the site and I’m going to link to it every chance I get – even though the photographs make me feel kind of sad and remind me of the fleetingness of life. You can tell I’m in a kind of morbid reflective mood of late, but sometimes I think it’s good to think about how brief this all is and to remind ourselves that we should squeeze in every little bit of happiness while we can.

ch12.jpg   Old photographs also bring out my instinctive curiosity; I sometimes try to piece together the story behind the image. The person in the lake (?) – female or male, I’m not sure – to me there seems to be a sense of foreboding about that image, as if that person was going to come to some harm. But it is much more likely to be that it is just someone enjoying an innocent swim (boys playing around on a rope swing?) and that my perception is influenced by my mood and general disposition just now.

ny14.jpg  The couple at a New Years Eve (?) party: I think they’ve staged that kiss for the camera – the man’s mouth may be saying one thing but his left arm is saying something else. The room looks cramped and I get the impression that there was not much money around but I don’t think that was their house – I don’t know why.

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Soul Food

What do you think of my new ‘header’ image? Pretty spooky but I like the picture — I took it in my garden last night, on the spur of the moment, just as the light was beginning to die. Doesn’t go with this blog, though, so I’ll have to change it at some point. I might put it on one of my other blogs or do a swap around.

I’m making a big effort to do something rather than work/blog, work/blog, work/blog. All this sitting about at a computer is not good on so many levels. The human body was not meant for this — I’m going to become a recluse. A fat recluse. A short fat recluse.

So I’ve been working on my creative side: taking pictures, making things, and reading something other than blogs. I’ve been digging out the poetry books again — a great deal of poetry is unbearable but when it’s good, it really is food for the soul. I just realised tonight that all the poetry I like is about loss but it somehow does not make me feel miserable. Go figure.

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