I’m a sucker for card tricks. Ricky Jay is some kind of sinister genius. I think I’d rather be a great card manipulator than a concert trombonist, or a seed merchant. Or an alcoholic podiatrist. Plus also, he’s lent his dark presence to some great movies. Do you enjoy a magic trick, readers? Perhaps you might find a YouTube clip of your favourite, or have an anecdote to share (without giving away any Magic Circle tricks – because you would be sawn in half with a real saw). Perhaps the whole business leaves you cold, except for Doug Henning. Or David Nixon. He was an odd cove, wasn’t he?
This’ll cheer you right up: “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race” by Shanna Swan.
“If you look at the curve on sperm count and project it forward — which is always risky — it reaches zero in 2045,” says Swan, meaning the median man would have essentially no viable sperm. “That’s a little concerning, to say the least. The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival.”
“Of five possible criteria for what makes a species endangered,” Swan writes, “only one needs to be met; the current state of affairs for humans meets at least three (destruction of our environment, inadequate regulatory mechanisms, and man-made factors that affect our continued existence).”
All together now!
“Twenty-four years, stuck on my eyes Twenty-four years, what a surprise We’ve got twenty-four years, my brain hurts a lot* Twenty-four years, that’s all we’ve got”
*like a warehouse, apparently.
It’s not widely known that resident Afterword mascot Mike Thep has a secret past as a “rock ‘n roller”, but Colin H’s official biography “I Could Of Been The Next Terry Dene – The Mickey Genial Story” sets the record straight! As a willowy young lad with a cowlick and a curled lip, Mike Thep was noticed by pop impressario and physique enthusiast Larry Parnes in a public house of ease. “I was surprised by his approach, as I was just zipping up, but his persistence, and encouraging manner, soon won me over” laughs Mike today from his Belmont North Nissen hut. What Parnes glimpsed, perhaps reflected in wet porcelain, was potential. He had already established a stable of willowy young lads, giving them virile names (Billy Fury, Vince Eager, Duffy Power etc.) and flashy cufflinks, and saw young Mike Thep as an exciting addition. “But Mickey – I called him Mickey from the get-go – had something different – a kindly, almost avuncular quality, so I dubbed him Mickey Genial, and we went straight into the studio – my back room in dear old Romilly Street – and sweated long and hard into the night on his seven-incher.” That » Continue Reading.
If you’re a “pure sound” (pardon my mirth) weirdo, please do not read this, or reply with a comment. This is a topic for people who don’t look on tone controls as an evil on a par with sacrificing babies, or find the idea of tweaking sound in itself repulsive (I may be doing you an injustice here, fentonsteve).
The equaliser in iTunes makes everything sound slightly worse, but it’s high-end hi-fi compared with the equaliser on the iPod touch, which turns everything it touches to mush, shrill and/or boomy. Over the years I’ve tried various apps which claim to enhance sound, and trashed them all. But a week ago I stumbled over Boom 3D at the Eel Market, and decided to give it a whirl. Imagine my excitement on finding it actually works, does what it says on the tin, and is a quantum improvement in sound from the external speakers/headphones attached to my Mac. Unfortunately you have to register to be able to transfer it to another device, which I am understandably loth to do. The USP with Boom is the surround-sound option, for which they recommend headphones, but I’ve found it improves the sound so much the » Continue Reading.
I’ve recently had the battery in my iPod Classic replaced, but it’s been so long since I used it I’ve forgotten some really basic stuff.
1 How the heck to I get the green battery status picture (above) to show on the screen?
2 When recharging (hooked up to my Mac), in the top right menu bar of the iPod screen is a battery icon, showing a black plug on a white battery shape – what does this mean? It’s charging or just connected, or both?
3 At the same time, in the relevant iTunes pane on my Mac, there’s a solid green battery icon top left, to the right of the iPod icon, with a tiny lightning flash icon to the right of that. Does this mean it’s charging, or at full capacity?
The two icons not being the same is shorting a valuable brain circuit, and coupled with the elusive battery status screen icon/picture, I’m knocking back sedatives.
Enter your post here. You can use some HTML tags including b, blockquote,i, a, img and sub
Let’s get this damn business settled once and for all. Steve T’s alarming claim that Hymns To The Silence is the great man’s “best album” cannot – must not! – go unchallenged. List yer Top Five and we can all go home with a sense of satisfaction that the issue has at last been laid to rest.
If we’ve done this before, and it seems more than likely we have, please link to the results and we can accept those and save ourselves a lot of bother. If not, roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Five for your top choice (at the top of your list), one for the bottom.
Here’s mine (which is of course definitive):
Astral Whelks (I KNOW! I KNOW! SHUT UP!) St. Dominic’s Preview Veedon Fleece Too Late To Stop Now Tupelo Honey
I have to “enter my post” here, apparently.
In the Oz tennis thread Dan P quotes his twelve year-old as saying someone is “a bit of a Karen.” This is brilliant (I do know what a Karen is). Not knowing any young, English-speaking kids, I’m probably missing out on a wealth of teenspeak. If you have kids, what are they saying?
And she’s going to be President. Just the first minute or so of this clip is what she’s all about. Smart, funny, and milftastic. No, you can’t have her. I bagsied first.
помните этого человека? он не делает.
Curry That Wight
A beaming Donald Trump, dressed in traditional Santa garb, dispensed festive pardons from the balcony of the White House today. Reaching into his sack for another seasonal get-out-of-jail-free card, he said “Merry Covfefe from your favourite president! Here’s that long-awaited pardon for Pol Pot!”
A packed crowd of up to a dozen faithful White House staff sang (I’m Dreaming Of A) Trump Christmas as their President essayed a few waist-up dance moves before being stretchered off.
Nigel Farage gave a triumphant press conference from the open roof of the Covexit Bus yesterday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for a National Covid Referendum. “The Great People of Britain will have their say!” He said to the crowd of maskless Covexit supporters filling the Winnersh, Berks, car park. “Vote LEAVE, vote COVEXIT, and we sever all ties with the pandemic, freeing five million billion Great British pounds to restart the economy and rescue the NHS! A vote for leave is a vote for health and prosperity! For too long the Great British people have suffered the unnecessary and criminal restrictions on personal liberty caused by this immigrant virus! Claim your birthright freedom and vote LEAVE on January ist for a New Year like no other!” Farage was borne aloft through the swelling crowd as impromptu renditions of Rule Brittannia and (Simply Having) A Wonderful Christmastime filled the air. Johnson said later from an undisclosed location he was “confident the Great British People will make the right decision.”
You must have known at least one. I mean almost mythically great with something extraordinary about it, not just an acceptable local boozer.
Many years ago (*harp glissando*) I used to frequent the Miners’ Arms at Greenhow, near Pately Bridge. This was great for the following bullet-proof reasons:
1 Free house. As I haven’t lived in the UK for a long time, I have no idea if they still exists. It meant not being owned by a brewery, and able to sell what the hell the landlord wanted to sell. This resulted in 16 taps along a fairly short bar, because he wanted to sell a lot.
2 One room. None of this fancy partitioning or different levels or what-have-you. It was basically the front room of a house, with bench seats around two sides.
3 Darts. None of that southern nonsense, either – no trebles. One of the locals, humourously nicknamed Butch, threw from the hip – never seen that anywhere else. He also wore a stetson. All the time.
4 House mild, correctly mixed by John the landlord from the slops and allowed to ferment a little. Jesus fucking christ.
5 Lock-ins. Regular, whenever there was a demand, » Continue Reading.
When we all fall asleep, where do we go? – Billie Eilish Have you ever seen the rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand? – Bob Dylan
– Keep a couple of Halls Mentholyptus lozenges in your mouth as you drink a cold glass of milk
– Put your head inside (empty) washing machine and mystically chant “OM”
– Rub muscle strain liniment into scrotal sac, then as eyes begin to water, into eyes
The “post a review” thing was too baffling for me to cope with, so here it is.
I was a little – what’s the word? – trepidatious? coming to this. Steve – I call him Steve – hasn’t really been on songwriting form for a while. But this is possibly his best solo album, like, ever. Colour me astonished, really. We’ve exchanged emails about it – I am Friend To The Stars – and he’s chuffed with it (as much as he can be – he’s the driest, slyest bloke I ever talked to), as he should be. Because songs. Not the usual mid-paced semi-ambient monotone stuff I was expecting. I think the democratic composition technique in the Church had led to songs-by-numbers. Here, he shows what he can do, and what he can still do. I was also concerned – that’s the word I was looking for – that this was going to be an *ulp* “lo-fi” production, which it ain’t. Everything was done in a couple or three takes, and there’s an energy here I haven’t heard from him for decades. But it’s not a punk album, it’s beautifully produced without being polished to a gleaming shine.
What do you have planned that your government won’t fine you for?
One of the reliefs of living Out Here is not having to deal with Christmas, neither having to opt out nor opt in. It’s a horrible, venal, stressful “festival” that should die anyway – will covid help to kill it off?
(Two arguments that are way past their sell-by date; People who don’t like Christmas are bah-humbug Scrooges who seek to abolish a wonderful heart-warming time of the year, and “it’s for the kids”).
D’you know, readers, as I was shaving this morning with my GILLETTE© MACH III™ razor, it occurred to me that a thread featuring favourite Name Brands might prove not unpopular! Yes, as the triple blades of the GILLETTE© MACH III™ sliced easily through my stubble, even after five weeks of daily use – I ruminated pleasurably – you can do that in the shower (@Moose) – on the sheer performance of the GILLETTE© MACH III™ razor! They promise a week’s worth of shaving with every blade, but I get up to a couple of months out of every GILLETTE© MACH III™ blade cartridge! I have what I imagine is a “reasonably sized” (@MC Escher) beard growth, and find that the GILLETTE© MACH III™ razor is not only a pleasure to use, with its sleek lines and weighted and balanced handle, but also surprisingly economical! I bought a starter pack GILLETTE© MACH III™ razor + cartridge at half price, but even at full price the GILLETTE© MACH III™ will prove at least as economical as those flesh-slicing disposable razors! Yes, readers, as I rinsed off the precision blades of the GILLETTE© MACH III™ after yet another successful facial grooming exercise, I » Continue Reading.
The weird thing is, after being totally enraptured by this for oh-so-many reasons – wait – let’s have that list in full –
– No “hi guys! wasup?” YewChewb commentary – No generic music soundtrack – Sounds flat-out hilarious even when not on drugs – Deeply satisfying skills/toolage – Impeccable filming/editing – Gives flattering impression you could do actually this, with her skills. And tools. And wood. – Adorable text interjections – “Actually I screwed up here” – Rocks out to earbuds at one point – How Bellows sees the world
– the weird thing is, even after all this, I still don’t want the stoopid guitar, beautiful tho’ it be.
The man has the warm charm of polar bear shit. If you can bear it without wrenching up hot yellow bile from the pit of your stomach, watch the latest self-adoring, utterly sterile, laughably up-itself promo “event” that somehow manages to be hopelessly out of date and out of touch already. Watch professional young actors pretend to be edgy, creative and diverse Mac users (in grungy black n’white, natch). See boring guys in monochrome casual clothing read from autocues and move their hands “expressively” as they speak in a weirdly empty and airless corporate environment that would give me a headache to walk through. “How cool is that?” It’s cool as a corpse. Comments are turned off, mirroring Apple’s on-line help stance, but if you feel up to it, you can leave one here.
The Isley Mothers
The Four ZZ Tops
The Richard Thompson Twins
My first box set was Soft Machine’s Triple Echo, which may be the first, historically, with rare studio and live tracks rounding out a career overview to that point (already long in ’77!), together with a nice book. It set the form and the standard for all subsequent box sets, of which I bought quite a few. The advent of the CD made the concept more attractive, less cumbersome, and a regular feature of most acts’ back catalogue. Demos were expected, maybe interviews, anything that could be marketed as new, with the added value of remasters. And the bloat factor came in like gangbusters. Six discs, eight … there seems to be no limit.
But all of these lavish and satisfying collections stayed on the shelf. The act of owning them became enough in itself. What was the point of going to all the trouble of opening the box, choosing which disc you wanted to hear, and ejecting it after thirty minutes or so? When the alternative was simply to play an album, it all seemed too much hassle.
These days, I have no physical recordings at all, so the idea of a box set is redundant (as it is » Continue Reading.
When I shake my mouse (@moose) in the morning, I hit the same half-dozen or so pages to see what’s happened since I fell into bed. These are they:
– Fastmail email account. I’ve had Fastmail for a long time. Bulletproof, plain and simple. Last year they lowered my already low sub because I’ve been with them so long.
– palmerreport.com. Bill Palmer is a rabid anti-Trumper who consistently devalues language (Trump is always “destroyed” by a mild critical tweet) and rarely carries any original news pieces, but for a headline-only update fo what’s happening (you really don’t need to need the short pieces attached, although T.R. Kenneth is a thoughtful contributor), the site works well as an instant catch-up. Use adblock.
– The Daily Beast, rawstory, and huffpost. If I venture “below the fold” on any of these sites I start to get irritated, but for headlines and short news pieces while you’re having a coffee they’re ideal.
– newzit.com. You can focus on UK or US news, seeing all the front web pages of a large number of news sites which you can click to bigly. The Drudge Report is arms-length fascinating – once tin-foil pro-Trump, it’s now » Continue Reading.