Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The song Auld Lang Syne, usually attributed to Robert Burns, was not composed by him, for he says expressly in a letter to Thomson, “It is the old song of the olden times, which has never been in print… . I took it down from an old man’s singing.” In another letter he says, “Light be the turf on the heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious fragment.” Nothing whatever is known of the author of the words; the composer is wholly unknown.

Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne?

We twa hae rin about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl't i' the burn,
Frae mornin' sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.

And here 's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine;
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

PB Shelley
'There are plenty of ruined buildings in the world, but no ruined stones.'
Hugh MacDiarmid

'A poet understands Nature better than a scientist.'

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Police in Lincoln, Nebraska have arrested a woman for posting nude pictures of herself on the web. They were taken in the Marz Intergalactic Shrimp and Martini Bar. 'It's unlawful to be naked in public in Lincoln,' said police chief Tom Casady.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Saturday, December 27, 2003

'I've had a wonderful evening, but this wasn't it.'
Groucho Marx

Thursday, December 25, 2003

'Both Testaments are full of pundits, prophets, disciples, favorite sons, Solomons, Isaiahs, Davids, Pauls- but, my God, who beside Jesus really knew which end was up? Nobody. Not Moses. Don't tell me Moses. He was a nice man, and he kept in beautiful touch with his God, and all that- but that's exactly the point. He had to keep in touch. Jesus realized there is no separation from God... Who else, for example, would have kept his mouth shut when Pilate asked for an explanation? Not Solomon. Don't say Solomon. Solomon would have had a few pithy words for the occasion. I'm not sure Socrates wouldn't have, for that matter.'
JD Salinger, from 'Franny and Zooey'

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Season's Greetings to both my readers

Monday, December 22, 2003

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Wodabe tribesman, Niger

Hundreds of nomadic West African tribesmen are competing in a beauty pageant to celebrate the end of the rainy season.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Modesty Panel: Showcase
Modesty Panel: Lomo

get a free windows lomosaver here

Friday, December 19, 2003

Carl Jung

'Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.'
Carl Jung

'Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all,
Where truth abides in fullness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception—which is truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error: and, to KNOW,
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.'
Robert Browning, from ‘Paracelsus’
The Amazing Mind Reader

and Susan's explanation
Yippee! I've worked it out!! There must be a mathematical formula whereby the answer is always a multiple of 9. Each time you click on Try Again the chart of symbols changes. Each time all the multiples of 9 are the same. All the rest are just camouflage!
Subject - Re: GHOZKS, the procurator understood
dauphine equipotent admitting onlooker such spinach gratuitous suppression modesto rug elute walkway beach seraphim galley monsoon regime nationhood savonarola agrimony danube cartilaginous response decompress flu aloof wilbur strop embraceable scandium sketchbook foggy consulate proven halt upswing axiom there'd implantation rooky loincloth mare bakelite berkowitz anastasia tablecloth michaelangelo restrict applicable zeiss atheism bespoke felix diversionary shave bravery coronado intemperate equipping bawd eighth sovereign molybdate declarator bush aggressor aseptic lascivious got referred hardhat bankrupt gregg danube sewn dreamboat automatic delicti leash tetrahedral concourse presumptive binge motley sallow carib cervix impair chaos fivefold cerebral hoyden admittance thiocyanate armenia

(which made me do this, until I got bored ...)

Dear Sir,
Concerning Ghozks. The Procurator recognised that the Dauphine and her brother were equipotent, while admitting that - to an onlooker - they were virtually identical. He was confused by similarities such as the spinach colour of the robes they wore. Nevertheless, the gratuitous suppression of all statements attributed to Modesto had effectively pulled the rug from under his feet, and he had singularly failed to elute the memory from his brain, whether taking the air on the walkway, on the beach, alone, or in the company of his beloved seraphim. His time on the galley had left both him and Cosgrove in a state of exhaustion, not least during the monsoon. However, a new regime was emerging, a reinvention of nationhood as predicted by Savonarola in his prophecy of 1809: 'When agrimony blooms by the Danube sovereignty will prove cartilaginous to all but the snails'. Chalmers and Burtt WS, on behalf of the Dauphine, issued a response which they hoped would decompress the balloon of unsubstantiated suspicion that hovered over their client, at that time indisposed with 'flu, and unable to testify.
Yours etc

rock 'n' roll
gonna knock it right out

'A rock 'n' roll band needs to be able to get under people's skin. You should be able to clear the room at the drop of a hat.'
Paul Westerberg
The commander of a US Army Base near Southampton has warned staff they face disciplinary action if they miss their Christmas party. In a memo to staff Commander Raymond Langlais wrote: 'If you feel like I am trying to force FUN upon you, then you are correct.'

A woman had twins, and gave them up for adoption. One of them went to a family in Egypt and was named Amal. The other went to a family in Spain, and they named him Juan. Years later, Juan sent a picture of himself to his mum. Upon receiving the picture, she told her husband that she wished that she also had a picture of Amal. 'But they're twins,' said her husband, 'If you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal.'

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Mademoiselle Dufour was trying to swing herself standing up, but she could not succeed in getting a start. She was a pretty girl of about eighteen; one of those women who suddenly excite your desire when you meet them in the street, and who leave you with a vague feeling of uneasiness and of excited senses. She was tall, had a small waist and large hips, with a dark skin, very large eyes, and very black hair. Her dress clearly marked the outlines of her firm, full figure, which was accentuated by the motion of her hips as she tried to swing herself higher. Her arms were stretched over her head to hold the rope, so that her bosom rose at every movement she made. Her hat, which a gust of wind had blown off, was hanging behind her, and as the swing gradually rose higher and higher, she showed her delicate limbs up to the knees each time, and the wind from the perfumed petticoats, more heady than the fumes of wine, blew into the faces of her father and friend, who were looking at her in admiration.
Guy de Maupassant, 'A Day in the Country'

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


6000 women in north-western Cameroon have called off a two-month sex strike. They had refused to have sex in protest against the destruction of crops by cattle.

Of 1000 American tourists interviewed, one third believed that haggis could be hunted in Scotland. One thought it was a wild, nocturnal beast about the size of a grouse; another claimed it was similar to a fox and sometimes ventured into the cities.

In a recent poll of 100 wealthy celebrities, 98 of them didn't know they'd been born.
lords a leapin'
A peer has told the House of Lords that Britain's radioactive waste should be buried in the middle of the Sahara desert. Lord Hylton's suggestion follows a recent proposal by Viscount Simon that nuclear waste should be blasted into outer space.

beam me up
Think tank consultant Dr George Forster says human teleportation will be possible within 100 years. 'The problem is the sheer volume of data in the body. A computer more powerful than any yet built would be required, but it is entirely possible.'
Desolation Peak - Jack Kerouac's Lookout

Jack Kerouac tuning into the radio

A little story about Jack Kerouac
When I was about 15 I read 'Desolation Angels' and wrote to Kerouac, via his publisher, to say how much I'd enjoyed it. I was naturally in awe of him, and certainly didn't expect a reply - but one arrived. A typed postcard with his big bold signature at the bottom. He thanked me for writing, saying how nice it was to be appreciated, and how he felt like 'a prophet without honour in his own land', then signed off saying he'd like to visit Scotland some day - 'maybe the island of Kerrara'. I kept that postcard for years till one day it just vanished from my possessions while moving between flats at University. I still wonder what happened to that precious little piece of history.

Somewhere along the line
I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.
Jack Kerouac, 'On the Road'

... the mad ones
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'
Jack Kerouac, 'On the Road'

Monday, December 15, 2003

Who owns these women with perfect skin
in low-cut T-shirts, who leaves them sitting around
all morning in cafés?
Charles Boyle, from 'West One', 'The Age of Cardboard and String'

Sunday, December 14, 2003

'tis the season to be merry
'Amid a clatter of bowls and spoons, the feast began. Tables had been joined together to form a large cross shape, and there were five centrepieces. A Redwall jubilee trifle of pears, damsons, greensap cream and hazelnut trifle truffle was on the north end. Opposite at the south trestle stood a magnificent blackcurrant pudding, swimming in a peach-covered cream of whisked beech-nut and strawberry topped off with a sugar-preserved sprig of maple. The east side was graced by a high wobbling redcurrant jelly with flaked almond and chestnut suspended inside like a sunset snowstorm, and it was wreathed in yellow-piped meadowcream. At the west board was a golden honey-crusted confection of latticed pastry with mintcream and candied chestnuts oozing from it onto a bed of purple plums. In the centre stood a wide diamond of sweet arrowroot shortcake with all the fruits of summer piled on it, fixed there by stiff comb honey blended with a puree of apple and raspberry. Salads of ten different kinds ranged amid the wedges of white, yellow, and beige cheeses, studded with nuts, herbs and celery. Oatfarls, cottage loaves and batons of ryebread, all hot from the ovens with their crusts gleaming brown, lay scattered between vegetable flans, shrimp and hotroot soup and massive deeper 'n' ever turnip 'n' tater 'n' beetroot pies beloved by moles. Redcurrant tarts, bilberry scones, plumcakes, latticed apple pies, strawberry flans and damson puddings radiated out into patterns, dotted by bowls of nutcream, meadowcream, Abbeycream, rosecream and buttercup fondant. Pitchers, flagons and jugs overflowing with October ale, strawberry cordial, dandelion and burdock, berry wine and cowslip cordial jostled for position amidst bowls of warm scented rosewater and embroidered napkins standing by for sticky paws.'
Brian Jaques, 'Salamandastrom' - kindly submitted by Terry

and a word of advice
'Never eat more than you can lift.'
Miss Piggy

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Al tiaj ideoj, kiuj al la samtempuloj sxajnas senenhava fantazio kaj al la posteuloj sxajnas natura afero apartenas ankaux la ideo de enkonduko de komuna lingvo inter diversaj popoloj.
Ludoviko Zamenhof

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Germany's self-confessed cannibal killer Armin Meiwes has been sent a vegetarian cookbook and a Christmas hamper full of veggie burgers and tofu by animals rights group Peta. The group says it would be a major coup if it could convert Meiwes to vegetarianism.

Victoria Beckham says her husband's latest haircut makes him look like Jesus. Coincidentally, her latest video makes her look like Mary Magdalene.

A Canadian mayor who secretly stripped off in council offices and had her photo taken wearing just her ceremonial chain says she is mortified after the pictures went on public display.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

A woman who breastfed her baby while driving at 65mph on a motorway has been sentenced to three months house arrest. Catherine Donkers, 29, from Michigan, said her husband had ordered her to breastfeed their seven-month-old daughter to save time. Donkers told the court she had done nothing wrong because the couple's religious beliefs require her to obey her husband, and that as head of the household he was the only person entitled to punish her. The couple belong to the First Christian Fellowship for Eternal Sovereignty.
The Sombrero Galaxy shining with the light of 800 billion suns. In the centre is a black hole one billion times the mass of our sun.

Monday, December 08, 2003

A UK couple who gave up their jobs for a round-the-world trip have flown home from Australia after being told their cat was missing. Mandy Lewis and Adam Fumagalli had just arrived in Sydney when they heard the news and immediately booked a flight home. Adam said: 'I wouldn't have been able to lie on Bondi Beach in the sunshine thinking about Molly lost and shivering in a bush somewhere.' Despite an intensive search they were unable to locate the cat.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

'There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.'
Hermann Hesse, 'Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game'
Diane Arbus - Puerto Rican Woman With A Beauty Mark, NYC 1965

'A photograph is a secret about a secret.
The more it tells you the less you know.'
Diane Arbus

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Having dined upon capon, neat’s tongue and udder, and basted the maid with a broom I fell a reading The Blog of Samuel Pepys, most excellently rendered on the Interweb with multitudinous annotations, which in turn led me by a curious route here

Friday, December 05, 2003

Nigeria was at its colourful best yesterday as the Queen met traders in a perfect little dust-free market place. Instead of visiting a real market, she was forced to tour a pretend one inside a heavily-fortified government compound. As her official car arrived a loudspeaker sounded out: 'Market traders, please take your positions. Drummers, thank-you', and while she chatted to the 'traders', many of whom were actors, the real people of Karu remained outside the huge locked gates.

The Thanksgiving turkey George W Bush served to troops in Baghdad last week was a fake. The photograph was shown around the world of a smiling Mr Bush apparently offering a platter with a huge, succulent turkey to US soldiers, but it has emerged that the turkey was artificial.

turkey 2
A man in Australia was buried up to his head by a brush turkey after he fell into a hole belonging to the bird. The bird is believed to have tried to bury him in a mating ritual. The incident happened in the Burleigh Heads National Park, and the man was trapped for some time before a passer-by alerted emergency services. Wildlife ranger Sergio Norambuena said December was the frisky season for brush turkeys. 'Male brush turkeys build a massive mound or hole to attract the opposite sex and the mound is later used to incubate the eggs', he said.

mysterious ways
A German vicar has given 300 members of his flock hardcore porn videos instead of a video about God's message at Christmas after a mix-up at a copying factory. Father Frithjof said: 'The project has received enormous publicity through the mix-up. God moves in mysterious ways, and best of all, the people who ordered the porn now have our religious films about Jesus in their video recorders.'

soul trader
A Dutchman is auctioning a 'soul in good condition with no serious damage' on eBay, claiming it would be 'an ideal and unusual Christmas gift'. The starting price is £6. If the new owner signs the contract and seals it with blood, the soul transfer occurs automatically, the seller claims.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

See how carefully life is arranged.
I approve of it completely.
It is written.
Paul Bowles

'As if by chance, although I have sneaking suspicion there is no such thing ...'
Hermann Hesse

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

The Weekly - sorry, I've dried

'I am the spider in your salad.'
Paul Bowles

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

who knows?
' ... as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know.'
Donald Rumsfeld, US Defence Secretary

'TV is more interesting than people. If it were not, we would have people standing in the corners of our rooms.'
Alan Coren

Monday, December 01, 2003