Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Come fools and philosophersMessage from old Oxford mucker with results of a donnish Dylanesque competition. Rather funny, just for its Englishness.
Yonks back as grimey Eng Lit undergrads, we never missed an oration by star lecturer Christopher Ricks. Had I known then that he was such a Bob Dylan fan, I'd've orchestrated a casual crossing of paths when I was toting my Santos Beirão guitar ... but I digress.
By way of celebration of the election of the Prof as Professor of Poetry at Oxford, my buds held a comp for a suitable song, with passable results:
I was heading for the campus
In my, luxury machine
It was full of dictionaries
You know just what I mean
The outlaw and the cardinal
With Rose the Choctaw Gypsy Queen
I let them get inside
We drove up to the college
That looked just like a jail
I asked the warden where to park
She said 'follow that whale'
Then they led me to the podium
He said 'we’re gonna doctor you'
And I just said 'adios'.
Come fools and philosophers wherever you are-
You all suffer by stretching your logic too far.
Stop thinking, chill out, and go to a bar.
There you'll find some commons sense lurking
Or follow academia's star,
For at least it's better than working.
To lecture just read some text word for word
to hung-over students who give you the bird
then do some research that's completely absurd
and of course there’s occasional marking.
A few students might even manage a Third,
but at least it’s better than working.
Oh, professors draw their pensions
Head down a dreaming spire.
I’d ask them what their chatter was
And how come they all retire,
But their conversation wanders
And it tangles up my thought
To see a senior common room
So deep in vintage port.
Oh, mama, can this really be the end
To be punting down the Cherwell
With the Oxford blues again?
Drunk after lunch- now they tell us ...
This is exactly what I've been saying - and railing against - for years.
Control RoomNineteen months after the actual invasion of Baghdad, and in the final week of electioneering, it was not easy to watch this remarkable Al-Jazeera documentary, knowing what we all know now. The contents alone are powerful, now evoking tears, now bringing a surge of bile to the gullet.
How even to walk the same earth as this bunch whose moral compasses have so long pointed south that the next self-serving sound bite is all that matters?
- The glib mendacity of the military spokesmen
- The squirm-making performances by Centcom press officer, Josh Rushing - particularly in his burbled briefing of the Libération correspondent, reminding me of me as he stuttered on about 'mosaics' of information and the need to stay imprecise lest the enemy, too, be informed.
- The odious Rumsfeld - increasingly resembling some poisonous toad with every TV appearance - dissing any press reports that contradicted or threatened to expose. Le Bon Dieu will have him down for an unmarked grave, but mere mortals are vindictive: this movie should play non-stop over his disgraced catafalque (and let the spitoons be liberally placed about).
- The heroically long-suffering A-J snr producer, Samir Khader
- The well-informed, articulate and outspoken Hassan Ibrahim, whose presence in any made-for-TV movie would need watering down for verisimilitude
- ... and my pinup, the beatific Deema Khatib
- Lootings: the gloating satisfaction with which an army spokesman countered an American journo's protests with the argument that, despite the city being on and under fire, it was up to local Iraqis to repel the looters and defend their museums
- The utter farce of that soldier holding up a - nay, *the* - pack of 'Wanted Poster' playing cards, and then telling the assembled press that it was the only one and there wasn't a spare even to pin up on a notice board
- The gall of the invading troops to use non-Iraqis in their "triumphant" advance into the main square and the laughable likelihood that one of them just happened to have on him a flag of pre-Saddamite Iraq. As Deema said, "What? Like he's had this flag for 10 years and just happens to be in the square when the tanks come in?"
Towards the end, as the press corps are packing up, comes a fierce and sudden rain squall, soaking equipment and scampering reporters alike, clearing the air in an almost laughable cliché of cleansing, admonitory tears.
GrumpyCurses, grrr, foiled, etc.
I'd rather been fancying *moi-même* as El Grumpo de Livres.
Faugh! It's what I've been all these years, anyway.
Rancid Pips bleat: It's not like the dude isn't like totally channeling me ....
Cute LinksI'm asked, don't I have a weblog for all these cute links I send along?
"These" meaning the wondrous and life-saving guide to T-shirt folding from Mark Hurst's incomparable Good Experience, freely subscribable to here.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Seems that the busy-body 'Grauniad' launched Operation Clark County to help *British* readers have a nosey-parker say by writing to undecided voters in Ohio.
In the first three days, more than 11,000 Brits requested addresses.
Here are some of the hilarious and rightfully indignant "reactions" to this arrogant project.
Friday, October 22, 2004
(versus Halloween Wets)Who shall cast the first stone?
Hapless Boris Johnson - editor of the Speccie - speaks out against the recent pathetic blub-fest by some uncharacteristically drippy Liverpudlians.
I don't know why Johnson thinks he used outdated stereotypes - if anything, it's the stiff upper-lipped son of Albion that's outdated and the garment-renting 'let it all hang out' drip who now represents us. Makes one blush for ones country.
And I'll tell you when this American-style public mewling and emoting began: 17 June 1998, when Boston-based babysitter Louise Woodward beat the murderess rap and was allowed to fly home. TV viewers round the world were treated to the pathetic spectacle of grown Britishers - northerners, to boot, not even pooftah southerners - losing all control and flinging their arms round each other in the sort of bawling spectacle more expected from soccer players or a pack of continentals.
But who are we to mock? The good teachers of Puyallup also set a fine example of maturity and common sense: no Halloween knees-ups this year; don't want to offend any real witches out there ....
This sort of craven nonsense joins the 'Freedom Fries' file and will be gleefully reported round the world. You read it here first.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Thursday, October 14, 2004
I give up... how's it done?
O'Reilly SuitPlease tell me that oaf O'Reilly, he of the shifty eyes and visage ravaged by porcine bloat; please tell me he has come at least something of cropper ....
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Celtic comings (and goings)First, bravo those Irish rebels giving the 'V'-sign to the smoking ban. Is it still the good old 'V' - or have we all degenerated into using the appalling American middle finger?
Silly habit, anyway. A killing one, allowing a neat segue:
Obit for the splendid Pete McCarthy:
Farewell, then, to the author of The Road to McCarthy and McCarthy's Bar.I always liked the tale about PM tracing the real boozers to a theme park 'fake' bar.
Very Small AmoebasDetouring via Union Street, I come across The Triple Door and see to my incredulity that none other than the debris of The Incredible String Band is playing *next* Tuesday, Oct 13, as ever is.
I buy a ticket from a lad who doesn't have much difficulty finding me one, then scurry home and wrench Minnie Driver from the playlist to fling on The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter.
Do we all look so ancient and washed out?
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
25 Toughest Interview QuestionsFor looking into and over and askance at ... I've met them all before, prepared for them and been utterly routed each time ... and tremble to make their renewed acquaintance.
- What do you know about our organization?
- Why should we hire you?
- Your resumé suggests that you may be over-qualified or too experienced for this position. What's Your opinion?
- And - most loathsome of all, What is your management style? Oh bleaggh!
Best Brit Flick of All TimeI'm as surprised as you: Michael Caine's Get Carter voted tops by Total Film mag readers. Not that I disagree - specially after that parody by Sly Stallone.
"Gritty 1971 movie sees Caine as a London gangster seeking revenge for the death of his brother in Newcastle’s underworld."
Last say for the Grauniad.
And none more adored - or even lusted after - than the statuesque Mary Travers, with her blond tresses and chiseled features.
Last night, idly running through the TV channels, I came across some KCTS tribute to them, including shots of them now - both the men balding and a little stooped but recognisable as their originals. But Mary ... I let out a howl of despair and horror. Oh my Lord - who *was* that tank-like bloated creature?
How could I even think that of the lady over whose LP pics I had drooled and yearned? And only 66?
I tried to find some current photo to support my cruel comments but, while P and P seem to have no problem with current portraits, mary and her management wisely resistricts the press photos to the earlier years.
But ugh - they seem to have a tour planned for 2005: someone must fore-warn the fans lest their audible gasps send our Mary wobbling from the stage in tears.