Archive for December, 2008

Suck in the guts…

December 30th, 2008

I’m in Copenhagen and today I visited Tivoli Gardens and went on a roller-coaster for the first time in twenty years.

The reason it has been so long is that I don’t like roller-coasters, at least, I didn’t until today. I never liked them because I hate getting that feeling in m’waters.

However, when I was last on a roller-coaster, I had not studied Qigong and so knew nothing about lifting the dantien. For the uninitiated among you, that basically involves pulling in the lower abdomen. So I sucked in the guts and, lo, no more getting the willies.

Now I realise that roller-coasters were actually meant to be fun.

I also realise that those clever ancient Chinese foresaw the invention of the amusement park and invented special exercises to help people like me train for such situations.

I get those two confused all the time

December 24th, 2008

Gay and lesbian organisations around the world have been up in arms this week because of comments made by Liza Minelli which could be interpreted as homophobic.

It seems that in her end of year address Ms. Minelli said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. Naturally, the gay icons legions of fans felt shocked, horrified and betrayed and their reaction was understandable considering the high esteem in which they previously held the singer.


This just in: it wasn’t Liza Minelli at all. It was the Pope!

Well, what the hell did you expect, gays and lesbians? He’s the Pope. He’s supposed to come out with stuff like that.

Get over it!

More support for parents travelling with toddlers

December 20th, 2008

Regular readers of my ballog will be aware that I am sensitive to the plight of parents travelling with small children.

Last night I was on a flight from Luton to Madrid and there were several couples with small children on board. I assumed they were Spanish people, living in the UK and heading home for Christmas.

Anyway, most of the children were content for the initial part of the flight, but as time went on, of course, they got cranky. They were bored, they couldn’t run around and they were tired (although I think they could have shown some appreciation for the fact that every seat is an “extra leg room” seat in their case). Naturally, several of them started crying and I felt sorry for them. I wouldn’t be happy in their circumstances either.

Then I thought, “Toddlers are around the same size as carry-on luggage, and seeing as they are already miserable anyway…”

If the shoe fits…

December 17th, 2008

I have been reading with amusement the stories about the Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at George W. Bush.

There were two key points about the journalist’s actions. Firstly, he threw footware, which is highly insulting in Arab culture. Secondly, he called Bush a “dog”, which is highly insulting in Arab culture.

Of course, it’s not as insulting perhaps as blowing somebody up, so it left Mr. Bush with enough room to be magnanimous and “harbour no hard feelings.”

My view is that if you are going to bother insulting someone, you have to do it in their own cultural terms, not yours. Waving your shoes at a Westerner and calling him a dog makes you look like a character in a bad 1950s Foreign Legion movie, Mr. Zaidi. The President and his staff were probably laughing themselves silly all they way home. “And then he said ‘You dog!’, the President probably guffawed as his staff rolled around Airforce One in hysterics.

All except Dana Perino, of course, she was too busy applying a steak to her eye.

To properly insult Mr. Bush, you need to shout something like:

  • Yawl’s about as welcome as a skunk at a lawn party


  • The engine’s runnin’ but ain’t nobody driving

The one thing that Mr. Zaidi perhaps did not consider in his fury is that had he pulled that stunt with Saddam Hussein, he would have ended up wearing his shoes… on the inside.

It would appear that subsequent to his arrest, Mr. Zaidi suffered broken ribs and internal bleeding. Well, that’s what happens when you go throwing heavy shoes around.


December 17th, 2008

I have often described myself as a practising agnostic, joking that this involves kneeling by my bed each night reciting “Fucked if I know” one hundred times.

Crude humour aside, my agnosticism is not simply down to my being too lazy to go to church. I have thought long and hard about it and have reached certain conclusions through reasoning, not laziness. I can also tell you that it takes more strength than you might realise to go through dark times in your life without being able to turn to a god. I have heard people telling me I simply need to open my heart to Jesus, but that is a conceit, because to open my heart to Jesus, I would have to believe in him in the first place.

I’m not even sure that the term “agnostic” is entirely appropriate. While I do not have any belief that there is a thing as “God”, I do have beliefs and I thought I would share some of them with you (in no particular order).

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More bitter orange

December 14th, 2008

I was in the supermarket today and as I passed the biscuit section I felt the urge to buy some Orange Pim’s.

To my delight, I saw them only feet away. I approached atremble but as my hand reached out for that box of spongey, chocolatey oranginess, I saw a notice that said “Second Pack Half Price”. Imagine my delight! Now I had no choice but to buy two boxes, for to buy only one would be a waste of my hard-earned money.

But anticipation soon turned to disappointment when I realised the offer only applied to Raspberry Pim’s and Chocolate Pim’s. Orange Pim’s were not discounted.

This is where their marketing plan fell to pieces. Moments before I was eager to buy Orange Pim’s, now I knew that if I did, each delicious, mouthwatering bite would be marred by the bitter twist of the blade of irony burying itself deep in my nethers. I walked away, empty-handed, cursing the day I had ever heard of Orange Pim’s.

Or maybe I’m just weird.


Irish Republic recalls all pork

December 6th, 2008

Irish Republic recalls all pork

I have trouble remembering what I had for breakfast yesterday, yet they expect us to believe that everyone in the Republic of Ireland is going to remember every bit of pork they have ever eaten?

I have been living outside of Ireland for some years now, but I am surprised I have not heard of any plans to inaugurate Pork Remembrance Day.