Archive for March, 2012

The cancer in the human heart

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

We all know that the world can be a fairly ghastly place..

… and it’s no use blaming this on any of the many human monsters, the various political ideologies and religions…

… though all of them have their blighted moments in the sun.

No, it’s just us – all of us. The human heart and all of that…

… and almost any news story will do to expose man’s inhumanity to man…

… though this one serves exemplary well:

‘Studies in mice in the 1960s showed that aspirin slowed the spread of cancer, but the research never made it into clinics, partly because aspirin was off patent, so companies had little to gain from funding trials.’

The rude colossus (or: Rick Santorum, not giving a tempest toss and lifting his middle finger to the huddled masses, beside the firmly closing golden door)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

We already knew Republicans aren’t really that much into poor people – especially poor people who want to do an Eddie Murphy, so, their veneration of the founding fathers notwithstanding, this is one of those quotes that doesn’t feature highly in their from C to shining C Convention alphabet:

‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

Even so, the following story takes the Republican ‘Fuck off to where you came from – and die – and rot in Hell’ policy a tad far:

‘Rick Santorum is facing some awkward questions after footage emerged of a radical evangelical preacher opening a campaign rally with calls for all non-Christians to “get out” of America.’

We’re all Olympic medalists in hypocrisy

Monday, March 19th, 2012

(… and
saluting old masters…!)


This from Marina Hyde:

‘Come late August, you won’t be able to move for government ministers lavishing patronising praise on our paralympians, apparently able to reconcile this position with cutting the living allowances of other disabled people to the point where incontinence pads become an unaffordable luxury.’

Okay, that story appeared in the Guardian ten days ago but I was reminded of it (and not for the first time) while reading some other old & new news stories.

Like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one

and this one, obviously…:

‘While the IOC has criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to send women athletes to the Olympics, it has not conditioned the kingdom’s participation on ending discrimination against women in sports. In July 2011, IOC spokeswoman Sandrine Tonge said that the IOC governing body “does not give ultimatums nor deadlines but rather believes that a lot can be achieved through dialogue.”’

Apart from when the IOC governing body does so, of course…:

With time running short before the 2000 Olympics open in Sydney next month, the ruling Taleban is still trying to get an International Olympics Comittee (IOC) ban overturned.

Yes, where would the whole news industry be if the default position of most politicians, priests, sports players, tabloids and celebrity parasites (and, of course, the rest of us – but we don’t make the news that often) wasn’t that of the rankest hypocrisy…?

(One of the true champs…!)

It was hundred years ago today: With Keynes interest

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

(John Maynard Keynes)

With thanks to Atticus, of the Times*, this marvellous quotation, more than worthy of Quote Of The Day status:

 ‘[H]ow long it will be necessary to pay City men so entirely out of proportion to what other servants of society commonly receive for performing social services no less useful or difficult[?]’

Yes, I know; it’s not exactly a novel thought, these days.

Point is, speaking here is no other than John Maynard Keynes…

… a cool hundred years ago!


*Paywall, I’m afraid.

(Just a little bit late, boys…)

Silk stockings brushing across upholstery (+ 5 x Doo Wop)

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Here’s my Quote Of The Day for you, with thanks to Bruce Springsteen and the Telegraph:

‘[T]he most sensual music ever made, the sound of raw sex, silk stockings brushing across upholstery, bras popping, running mascara, tears on your pillow. [Doo wop] dripped from the late night gas stations and pool halls, the temples of life and mystery in my home town.’


The Temptations: My girl

The Marcels: Blue moon

Spaniels: Goodnite, sweetheart, goodnite

Barry Mann: Who put the bomp

It’s Angelina Jolie & Kate Moss versus Muammar Gaddafi & Bashar al-Assad (or: Gimme a pizza & sod the little children!)

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

It’s one of the oldest games around.

I mean, when us people still hang low-fruitily from trees one protoprimate would ask the other, ‘Would you rather get bitten by a poisonous spider than eaten by a leopard?’ or some such.

Today, people (and tabloids) still play this game enthusiastically, with questions like:

-Would you rather ‘do’ Angelina Jolie (or Angela Merkel) than Kate Moss (or Kathy Bates)?
-Would you rather be ruled by Muammar Gaddafi than Bashar al-
Assad or, to combine the two categories:
-Would you rather be fucked over by David Cameron than by David Miliband?

This following news story, obviously, also belongs in that ‘Would you rather have/do/be A than B’ category:

‘An enterprising Massachusetts doctor is marking America’s ‘March madness’ basketball season by offering a free pizza with every vasectomy.’

Now, I’m Dutch, so I would, indeed, rather have a highly indifferent or even plain bad supermarket pizza than watch a game of basketball…

… but have a vasectomy rather than watch this bore fest for an excruciatingly slow-moving afternoon? Perhaps not.

Then again, if I really-and-gun-against-my-head-y had to choose between a vasectomy and a whole bloody season of watching bloody basketball, I would, no doubt, with Jesus*, say: ‘You know what, sod & suffer the little children’!


*I know, I know – but if you think I’m callously & mischievously misquoting Jesus, just look what the Roman Chatholic church did with that ‘suffer the children’ remark…

Ninjas, common birds, bourgeois luxuries & other sexually transmitted diseases

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Right, time to do another one of those ‘Who said that?’ columns.

Again, these quotes are perfectly unrelated but you can have a perfectly agreeable time connecting them and knotting them into your inner Zentrails.



1) ‘Most serious novelists are wary of including ninjas in their writing. That’s a shame, because many much-admired works of modern fiction could benefit from a few.’

2) ‘[I]t is one of those strange facts of life that there are more common birds than rare ones.’

3) ‘Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.’

4) ‘Life is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.’

5) ‘In Europe and Japan, bourgeois life lingers on. In Britain and America it has become the stuff of theme parks. The middle class is a luxury capitalism can no longer afford.’

6) ‘People don’t die from the old diseases any more. They die from new ones, but that’s Progress, isn’t it?’

7) ‘Well, allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of Ornamental Knowledge. You like the mind to be a neat machine, equipped to work efficiently, if narrowly, and with no extra bits or useless parts. I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself beautifully to its new position.’


1) Nick Harkaway
2) John Barnes
3) Terry Pratchett
4) Neil Gaiman
5) John Gray
6) Harlan Ellison
7) Robertson Davies

Wallis Simpson and Imran Khan: Now starring in Madonna’s Divine Comedy

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

You can see why Madonna loves Wallis Simpson so much.

This from a memoir by Charles Pick, who worked as a publisher and literary agent during seven decades:

‘As she rose to greet me [W.S.’s] opening remark was, ‘Can you please tell me who Marilyn Monroe’s publicity agent is?’ ‘I had to confess I had no idea but enquired as to why she wanted to know. ‘Look,’ she said, ‘I have all the newspapers each day and I was generally on the front page. But now I see that Marilyn Monroe is on the front page. Well, somebody has pushed me off!’’

Of course, stupidity, priggishness, a lack of humour and a monstrous sense of entitlement & self-centeredness didn’t die out with la Wallis.

It will take more than a few swimming pools filled with Kabbala water to remove those character traits from the (celebrity) gene pool…

… and that leads us, as ruthlessly efficient as Varus led his three legions through the Teutoburg forest, to this burning question:

Which of the two parties described in the following stories should walk away with this month’s Moron Of The Month reward?

It’s by no means an easy one – both candidates are equally qualified, I’d say and, in their own way, perfectly loathsome.

Well, judge for yourself:

1) ‘Human-rights organisation calls for Dante’s ‘racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic’ epic poem to be removed from classrooms’


2) ‘Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician, has pulled out of a conference in Delhi because of the expected attendance of Salman Rushdie. Shireen Mazari, who advises Khan on foreign affairs, said: “He categorically rejected participating in any programme that included Salman Rushdie, who has caused immeasurable hurt to Muslims across the globe.”‘

Useless wankers of the world, unite – and all of that.

There is only one God and you are not it

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Today’s Quote Of The Day comes from a Guardian video, with Irshad Manji, author of ‘The Trouble with Islam Today’ and ‘Allah, Liberty and Love.’

After you’re done here, go watch the video:

“I am not looking to do away with fundamentalists. I’m looking to remind them that there is only one God and they are not it.”

(And now go buy the book…)

Taking LSD with Rick Santorum and Jack the Ripper – for a fresh perspective

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

(A fresh perspective: Before and after…?)

Have you ever considered curing a migraine by swallowing a Colt .45?

Then the following definitely is a news story for you.

To be honest, I missed this article when it appeared, a week ago, but it’s too lovely to let go unsavoured:

‘Taking LSD could treat alcoholism because the resulting “trips” give people a new insight and fresh perspective on their drinking problem.’

There’s nothing wrong with a fresh perspective…

… said the rabbit who’d just been swallowed by a python…

 … but really? Taking LSD because that will teach you something (more) about addiction?

That’s like rehabilitating prostitutes by paying them to have therapy sessions with Jack the Ripper…

… or voting for Nick Santorum to get yourself over your Obama blues.

(Then again, who needs LSD when you can take in these two…?)

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