Saturday, December 31, 2005
Friday, December 30, 2005
Dear New York Times, & Richard Feast in particular,
Are you in fact an automobile writer? I ask that, because I’ve just stumbled across your pathetically unimaginative write up of the new Bugatti Veyron. (Dec. 25th)
“It would be nice to relate that this reporter's driving skills are capable of wringing the maximum from the Veyron. They are not, but they were enough to determine that at really high speeds the car is quiet, comfortable, refined - and as easy to drive as Mr. Bscher says. The car's everyday top speed of 234 m.p.h. is enough to make it a king of the road. To be the performance emperor, though, the driver must resort to a second ignition key to the left of his seat.”
Wow! Richard; that left me panting harder than an asthmatic ant, carrying a small leaf up a very gentle incline, at a leisurely pace, stopping off to read last Tuesdays obituaries, while waiting for a double mocha decaf latte, as he checks his blackberry for e-mails sent earlier about how to get the best deals on figurines on QVC. You get the point? Dull! Dull, Zzzzzzz…
How in God’s name did you get this job?
Psst! you want to know how a real motoring journalist writes about the world’s fastest production car? I suggest you start by reading Car Magazine’s story by Jason Barlow, on page 120 of the December 2005 issue.
In fact, I suggest you read all of Car Magazine’s stories, and hopefully become enlightened by the art of the true motoring hack. That way, at least i hope you won’t continue to murder the Queen’s English with such a dull quill.
With due deference, I await your next article. Or response.All gripes aside: - Happy New Year to everyone at the New York Times!
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
The California governor has said he no longer wants to be honoured by Graz, where he has been criticised for denying clemency to a death row inmate.
death penalty views aside; how reassuring for californians that their governor wants to cut his ties with his hometown, the cultural capital of europe, 2003.
like they say: "you can take the trash out of the trailor park......"
i don't think austria has an equivalent....
we exchanged details, and rebecca phoned the insurance company, so i guess it will all eventually sort itself out. we were lucky that we were able to drive the car and didn't have to wait for a tow. but we both have really sore necks and headaches from the whiplash, which isn't exactly what you expect on christmas day. tomorrow, or tuesday, i guess we'll go to the doctor and spend the morning getting checked out - (you never really want to go to hospital on christmas day unless you absolutely, really, really have to).
rebecca didn't get to see her family, or exchange presents, and we had chinese food delivered for our dinner (many thanks to khan for the suggestion and peking garden for actually being open), as we had no food in the house.
here's hoping tomorrow will be ever-so-slightly better :)
Saturday, December 24, 2005
there's hardly anyone moving around d.c. this morning.
tonight, we're heading over to science club for open turntables, and some decidedly non-christmas music. wednesday night was great! a very good night was had by all.
we walked past rumours on the corner of 19th. you couldn't have paid me enough to go in. lots of drunk people to accompany the musical commercial banality.
i paid the price on thursday at gazuza, where there was maybe 30-odd people, and i didn't know anyone apart from the staff.
from the new york times:-the national security agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and internet communications.....the volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the white house has acknowledged, the officials said. it was collected by tapping directly into some of the american telecommunication system's main arteries.
this is very different from the line being doled out by the white house. i doubt that terrorists are making large volumes of telephone calls about anything, so data-mining, much like trawling for fish is a catch-all vehicle.
makes you feel all cosy, doesn't it?
i live a few blocks from the white house. this national symbol now resembles some sorry, whitewashed fortressed garrison. freedom? anyone know the color code for terrorist threat for today.....
executive power? i wouldn't put bush in charge of making me a cup of tea. he can't do anything else right...
Friday, December 23, 2005
intelligent design got the thoroughly good kicking its proponents deserved. how arrogant and insular from the real world about them that they want the very definition of science changed so as to accommodate their beliefs. refusing to acknowledge or accept any line of reasoning that goes against them, the director of communications at the discovery institute's center for science and culture had this to say of the recent ruling by judge john e. jones:
robert crowther II: "the recent ruling on intelligent design is rife with false assertions and mischaracterisations of the theory of intelligent design." really? i read what judge jones said and it sounded very thoughtful and reasonable. unlike your complete and utter devotion to "intelligent design" - religion dressed up so as to further its own aims.
i say: it's precisely because intelligent design is not a valid theory that you lost. you and your experts have yet to even make a case for a valid hypothesis, let alone a theory. in science, a successful theory must stand up to scepticism and observation. theory is continually honed to provide a better explanation of observed phenomena. schools around the world have this as the very bedrock of education.
i have many theories about a lot of things i feel strongly about. no doubt some are near the mark and others are way off. very few of them should be considered anything more than ideas. i certainly don't want education to be changed to 'fit in' with my ideolegy.
science's greatest and unassailable strength is that it doesn't care whether anyone 'likes' it's results; especially those that would corrupt the way children are taught in an environment, hopefully free from radical intervention by extremists who don't possess the capacity to admit any wrong.
just what evidence would you accept mr. crowther? or isn't there any.......perhaps that's why sanity prevailed. i bet the fact that it was a bush-appointed judge didn't go down well, either!
after all, as your response so eloquently shows, if you've already made your mind up, what's the point of debate?
Monday, December 19, 2005
from the daily telegraph (uk): "11/25/05. George Best, one of the world's greatest-ever footballers, has died in a west London hospital after a long battle with alcoholism. He was 59."
unlike david beckham, george was universally loved by everyone. it was impossible not to forgive him for being a drunk.
today, where everyone's got an ipod but no-one's looking happy, where it's 'coo'l to be this, and it's 'cool' to do that, and it's 'cool' to go there, and everything's cool, blah, blah, blah...' i.e. 'name dropping'......
o.k. ladies; beckham may be both 'hot' and 'cool' (eh?), but george was the real thing. and there's not a bloke in england that would disagree, whether you supported man. u or not.
cheers to you, george! i'll have a few beers tonight in your honour, because as a kid, i spent countless hours glued to the tv, watching your magic on the football field.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
every weekend, when i watch an nfl game, i hear the same, tired, line from the commentators: 'these fans are the best'. 'these fans, blah, blah, blah...'
nonsense! from what i've seen, the majority of american fans can't even deal with losing.
so as to avoid confusion, here's what a true fan is in my book:
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watched your team lose...
by home, i mean actually in attendence at the stadium; not sitting on your couch, watching tv.
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing...(because there aren't any seats...)
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing - in the cold...
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing - in the cold - when it's raining...
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing - in the cold - when it's raining...with no cover...
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing - in the cold - when it's raining...with no cover...when they're in the 4th division...
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing - in the cold - when it's raining...with no cover...when they're in the 4th division...with the season lost...
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing - in the cold - when it's raining...with no cover...when they're in the 4th division...with the season lost...and gone home very depressed...
when you've stayed to the end (at home) and watch your team lose - standing - in the cold - when it's raining...with no cover...when they're in the 4th division...with the season lost...and gone home depressed...and then gone out for some beers with your mates.
and yes: i have done all of the above. and on more than one occasion (most regrettably).
the team: cambridge united. (they really were crap) the sport: football.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
we walked to dupont circle this morning to get a coffee, and was heading to cvs, where we have to stop, along with a couple of others as the cars have the green light. three girls, the one in the middle talking, walk straight across into the path of on-coming traffic, not once looking at the lights and two cars have to stop because of them. the guy next to me is shouting to the girl in the middle: "watch the traffic!", pointing at the stop sign we (the pedestians) have.
indignant, she starts berating the guy for shouting at her. the guy (quite rightly) replies that he was only trying to stop her from being run over. she reponds "i'm not stupid. i'm not a retard!", at which point i butt in and say "i'm with him. he's right. and yes you are!
we all go our way as the lights change. i'm sure the idiot of a girl, full of an air of self-entitlement, goes on to complain about us to her friends, instead of thanking the guy for looking out for her. the amazing thing was that she never even acknowledged that she wasn't in the right, let alone that she caused two cars to brake in the middle of the road, just because she was unaware of the situation.
i always allow comments (profanity-free, as i have family members that check it out) to my blogs. it seems reasonable to me if i'm allowed to say whatever i like, then people ought to be allowed to respond freely.
however; i received one this morning about a blog i did on september 15th, about president bush's job approval hitting a low of 41%. amazed that 41% of americans actually thought he was doing a good job, i wrote something sarcastic and included an image of a tipped balance - to represent the biased news media fed to most cable subscribers. does anyone actually think that fox news is a news provider? i also included an image of a painting done by my friend, katie didreksen, showing bush and cheney in an amusing setting - this was long before they wanted to keep torture legal on detainees.....i'm sure the whitehouse lawyers are busy at work writing legalspeak definitions that will save the use of inhuman practices outlawed by most of the western world
the response i received from that post (no names, as this person isn't spamming me) :
"Mmm.... so what?"
come on! i'm looking for biting, scathing, intelligent, sarcastic, witty retorts from those that disagree. i don't consider "Mmm... so what?" to offer any of those. Mmm: i can only presume this individual is one of the 41%......that's what.
one other thing: it's great to look up and check someone elses blog when they reply to your blog and all you see is: "this account is closed". that's it! pistols at dawn! :)
last, but by no means least: here's rooting for tampa bay against new england, and for the colts to beat the chargers. as for the redskins-cowboys game: it's do or die weekend for washington.
as that affable texan says:
bring 'em on!.....
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
i don't know who this cowboy is, but i strongly suspect he hasn't really thought the whole climate/planet/future thing through...."kyoto? heck; that's not even in america!"
The best that can be said of the recently concluded meeting on climate change in
At least the Americans' shameful foot-dragging did not bring the entire process to a complete halt, and for this the other industrialized countries, chiefly
For its part, the Bush administration deserves only censure. No one expected a miraculous conversion. But given the steadily mounting evidence of the present and potential consequences of climate change - disappearing glaciers, melting Arctic ice caps, dying coral reefs, threatened coastlines, increasingly violent hurricanes - one would surely have expected America's negotiators to arrive in Montreal willing to discuss alternatives.
They did not. Instead, the principal negotiators, Paula Dobriansky and Harlan Watson, continued to tout the benefits of an approach that combines voluntary reductions by individual companies with further research into "breakthrough" technologies.
That will not work. While a few companies may decide to proceed on their own, the private sector as a whole will neither create new technologies nor broadly deploy them unless all countries are required to do their share under a regime that combines agreed-upon targets with strong financial incentives for reaching them. To believe that companies will spend heavily to reduce emissions while their competitors are not doing the same is to believe in the tooth fairy.
The Europeans are finding solace in the fact that the Americans - after much kicking and screaming, and after public rebukes by Canada's prime minister and a surprise visitor named Bill Clinton - finally agreed to join informal "nonbinding" discussions that will try to entice developing countries like China and India into the process. It's certainly true that without the developing nations on board, any effort to keep greenhouses gases at manageable levels will be for naught.
But talk is cheap, and nonbinding talk is even cheaper. And talk alone will not get the developing world into the game. Why should
Monday, December 12, 2005
Ford Motor Co. has dropped advertising in gay-oriented publications after the threat of a boycott by the conservative American Family Association. The group has criticized the car manufacturer for supporting what it considered an immoral lifestyle.ford - american innovation......
i googled 'american family association' and i found this within 30 seconds:
(AgapePress) - A new poll shows more people in Alabama adhere to the biblical account of creation than to Darwin's theory of evolution. Of the more than 400 Alabamians surveyed between November 28 and December 1, about three out of four identified themselves as "born-again Christians."
The survey conducted by the Mobile Register and the University of South Alabama found that about 70 percent of the state's residents believe creationism and intelligent design should be taught in public school science classes. Fewer than half of those polled said the theory of evolution should be taught in schools.
Dale Younce, a Christian Studies professor at the University of Mobile, says he was "delightfully surprised" by the survey's findings. The result is particularly unexpected, he asserts, considering that evolutionism "holds the floor" in secondary and higher education classrooms, even in Alabama.
"I would like to think that the conservative Baptist churches throughout the state have an effect in causing the church members to think thorough the question of creation and evolution, but I have no evidence to support that," Younce says. Personally, he feels both creation and evolution should be taught in science classrooms nationwide.
"If you're going to work in any kind of scientific circle, you've got to know the world in which we live here," the religion scholar says. "You've got to know -- not necessarily believe in, but know -- the mechanics of the evolutionary theory. So I have no objection to teaching students evolutionary theory; [but] let's just teach it as it is: as a philosophy and a way of thinking, and not something based in fact."are you out of your mind dale? must be the water (holy, i presume)...
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
a puzzled look appeared on their faces. i told them to @#$^%& and waved them away. rebecca told them that they had insulted me. then they asked me for michael jackson.....
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
can anybody from buick please tell me what, by stating on your home page, 'grace and sophistication meets performance' has anything in common with 'the apprentice' and 'martha stewart'? does buick think these individuals epitiomise grace and sophistication?
but even better; exactly what do you mean when you say 'beyond precision'?, what; engineered like a maclaren f1 road car for instance? what industry accepted international standards does buick build its cars to? and how, if it satisfies those standards, does buick then build a car beyond those standards? does buick actually have a new set of standards all the other auto manufactures are ignorant of?
i think not.
conclusion: total bollocks
Thank you for taking the time to send us an email regarding your questions about purchasing a Buick. We value your input, and will make every effort to respond to your email within 48 hours.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
good to have a new place to go. interesting and quirky space.
adams morgan is best avoided; especially at weekends.
seen the buick ad; 'beyond precison'?
'beyond precision' that's buick's brave new ad?
that's the best the ad guys can come up with? i suggest they watch 'crazy people' with dudley moore.......
the words don't even make any sense...
just stupid. the car looks like all the other sedans coming out, and i doubt very much that it's the best made car in the world, which is what 'beyond precision' implies.
i predict that buick as a car company name will die within three years; probably less.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
try a sandwich shop, dude.
conclusion: in england, the word rhymes with 'banker'....
if i see him next week, i'll get him a shot glass of water and ask him what he's listening to :)
Thursday, December 01, 2005
anyone notice how in every tv ad, everyone's face is ridulously illuminated as if by the sun?
they can be absolutely anywhere indoors. makes no difference. but when there's a drama, the whole area is in darkness, (hospitals, etc) yet by some miracle, the actors' faces are lit from beneath. this is most strange. i've been in operating rooms. they are not dark.
also, i'm puzzled by the shaving commercials. ever seen a normal looking guy shave in a tv advert? nope. he's a full-on gym rat (never bald) that immediately after shaving, an attractive looking female comes up to and strokes his face with the look of a lobotomised cheerleader. but if it's a cold remedy commercial, not one gym rat in sight. just a couple of normal, tired-looking, suburb-dwelling 40 somethings in pyjamas that are all grayed out until after a restful nights sleep, where behold! the ridiculously illuminated sunshine face reappears......................... :)
conclusion: bald, non athletic-looking men shave, and gym-rats get colds. and it's never sunny on their faces when they do either.
it's worse if you go out at the weekend. why would a man who wears a formal shirt to work all week, tuck a similar shirt in to go to a bar or a club?
and before you say 'dress code' let me veto that by saying i can't imagine any club i'd want to go to that has a dress code....
anyway, why am i even awake this time of day?
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
er, nothing against charlize theron, but there's no way i'm going to pay to see this film. it looks utter rubbish. has to be by the way they're relentlessly advertising it.
why is it that the only truly powerful transition from comic to film is sin city. now that's a film.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
as soon as the report shifts to a clip from an al jazeera spokesman, condemning the possibility of civilians being deliberately targeted, the tv goes dead, i see a still frame from the cartoon network, and we lose all internet connection in our apartment. it comes back, some five minutes later and there is no mention of the lost transmission and no report.
some coincidence! the bbc news america is taped and i have never seen this happen before.
makes you feel all cosy inside........
just in case you've thought about an impromptu visit to d.c and fancy a quick tour of the washington monument...
here's what you have to wade through first. nice and welcoming, isn't it?
makes you feel the true fist of a butchered democracy.
in web-speak, using all capitals is universally recognised as SHOUTING!
MUST READ - ALL VISITORS ENTERING THE
MUST READ II - PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE
IMPORTANT INFORMATION - PARKING IN DOWNTOWN
SPECIFIC INFORMATION - RESERVATIONS MADE AT LEAST TEN DAYS PRIOR TO THE TOUR DATE WILL BE MAILED TO THE CUSTOMER. RESERVATIONS MADE WITHIN 10 DAYS PRIOR TO THE TOUR DATE WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP ON THE DATE OF THE TOUR AT THE
SPECIFIC INFORMATION II - GROUP TOUR GUIDES WHO ARE CERTIFIED/LICENSED WILL NEED TO PROVIDE THEIR TOUR OPERATOR LICENSE NUMBER WHEN MAKING ADVANCE RESERVATIONS. NON-LICENSED AND SCHOOL GROUP GUIDES WILL NOT NEED TO PROVIDE A TOUR OPERATOR LICENSE NUMBER WHEN MAKING ADVANCE RESERVATIONS. WHEN PICKING UP "WILL CALL" RESERVATIONS, GROUP GUIDES WHO ARE CERTIFIED/LICENSED WILL NEED TO PRESENT THEIR VALID GUIDE CERTIFICATION/LICENSE WITH PHOTO ID, AND THE RESERVATION CONFIRMATION NUMBER. WHEN PICKING UP "WILL CALL" RESERVATIONS, NON-LICENSED AND SCHOOL GROUP GUIDES WILL NEED TO
IMPORTANT INFORMATION 1 - THE
IMPORTANT INFORMATION II - THE
IMPORTANT INFORMATION III - THE STAFF AT THE
GENERAL INFORMATION - GOLDEN AGE PASSPORTS, GOLDEN ACCESS PASSPORTS, GOLDEN EAGLE PASSPORTS AND
DIRECTIONS 1 - THE
By clicking on the Accept button, you acknowledge that you have read and understand all conditions and requirements associated with this tour.
if you could have any toy, what would it be?
a full 'works' subaru rally car would be mine.
i will publish a list of all respondents' answers (minus names)
so far i have:
bicycle (a really good one...)
p.s. ..i'm writing this eating tiramisu and drinking a cup of tea before i go to bed. mmmmmmm!
Monday, November 28, 2005
perhaps paul duchene, writing for the new york times ought to do his homework before pretending to know anything about jags.
he fails to mention browns lane by name. no excuses. every jaguar fan in the u.k. knows this name is the (holy grail) home of jaguar. since shut down by ford...
failing to mention the mkII, possibly the most famous british sports car of the 1960's (when it was launched, capable of 125mph, it was the fastest production car in the world paul, on our then speed limit-free motorways) cannot be forgiven. ever been to coventry paul? do you even know where it is? it would seem not.
last but by no means least, this car became an icon for another reason. because it was the fastest car one could by, it became the most desirable car used in britain by two very different sectors of british society: the cops and the robbers!
that's right. armed robberies were committed by villains using this as their getaway car and were being pusued by our lads in blue driving the very same vehicle. as for ultimate bragging rights at the pub, this car was it!.
conclusion: your article suffers because you gleaned all your information from some photo-pretty coffee-table book. omission of the markII proves this book was not written by an englishman....
do your homework, dude...i suggest watching some old 'the sweeney' broadcasts as a starter...
instead of the ludicrous practice of footballers praying, (ever seen anyone pray after committing and losing a fumble, not making a game-deciding catch, or after taking a really hard hit, and especially after losing a close hard-fought game?...) perhaps the washington redskins ought to have a team therapist in the huddle. anything to stop the 4th quarter melt-down that has now reached three in a row...
or perhaps daniel synder can get together with comcast and offer free fan-counselling sessions for the legions of long-suffering redskins fans with every ticket sold, and every game watched on tv.
Friday, November 25, 2005
q: why does america have this crazy love affair with celebrating a national holiday, that is typified with families driving to depressing malls (that all look the same), only to line up hours before some crap store opens it's doors, then behave like selfish, spoilt brats, caring only for themselves, sometimes fighting!, in order to save some bucks, presumably on gifts for people they care about?
a: greed. a most unattractive quality.