Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tsunami Disaster

001 (177)
Originally uploaded by jamieimus.

To my shame, it took until today for me finally to donate some money to the Red Cross towards relief of this cataclysmic event.

Listening to the radio driving in to work this morning I heard another report of the mounting death toll. John Bell of the Iona Community did Thought for the Day on Radio 4, and reminded me how driven we are in the West towards acquisition of material possessions when events like this should demonstrate to us what the really important things in life are.

Finally, I saw a patient this morning. He is a nice man with severe arthritis who has just come back from Sri Lanka. He is fortunate to have only minor injuries, but he knows how easily things could have been different for him. He mentioned the fear that everyone there had at the time of a further earthquake, and how kind the locals had been towards the tourists: even locals who had lost family and friends themselves.

I believe people in the UK have so far donated around £25 million to the appeal. This sounds a lot, but it's a tiny fraction of what we all just spent on Christmas.

If a tightfisted, procrastinating cynic like me can be galvanised into activity by this disaster, maybe you should be too?

Links (from Ken Phillips' Blog):

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Dangerous Domestic Appliances

For those of you who yearn for the day when robots will relieve us of every task we find irksome, I would remind you that even current domestic appliances can sometimes "bite the hand that feeds them". The Register article has further links to reports of dangers from machines of various sorts (See: "The Rise of the Machines").

Perhaps after a heavy dinner on New Years Day you should hand dry the dishes. Do you not think that dishwasher is eyeing you up in a strange sort of way?

Monday, December 27, 2004


Gdog bought me a couple of DVDs for Christmas. One of them was the film Monster starring Charlize Theron. I've just watched it, and I think the performance by Theron was thoroughly deserving of the Best Actress Oscar in 2004. She gained 30 lbs for the role, transforming in the process from this ravishing creature to this slightly less attractive individual.

My brother-in-law has commented that most of the favourite films listed in my Blogger Profile are violent, which is an interesting observation that Gdog can explore further when she gets her psychology degree! Monster is certainly violent, but not, I think, gratuitously so. It is essential to see something of the the brutality to which Aileen Wuornos was exposed if we are to try to understand the reasons why she did what she did. Whether she was justified in behaving as she did is open to question, but the film certainly implies that her options in life were limited.

The physical resemblance between Theron in Monster and the real Aileen Wuornos is quite impressive, but I don't think that alone is enough to explain the success of Charlize's performance. It is the total conviction with which she plays the part from the first frame of this excellent film.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Food For Thought

The Independent on Friday had some fascinating figures related to The Cost of Christmas. Apparently, in the UK alone, we will have spent £30 bn celebrating Christmas this year, including £4.2 bn on cosmetics. The latter figure is slightly higher than the UK's aid budget for the developing world in 2004.

The average of £813 per adult Christmas spending in Britain is approximately 16 times the per capita annual income in Ethiopia.

Every 16 hours the nations of sub-Saharan Africa pay the so-called developed countries £20 m in debt.

The average Briton will have consumed 7000 calories on Christmas Day. A refugee child in Dafur could survive for 7 days on this number of calories.

An excellent post from Monkeyc details how little progress we have made in Feeding the World since Band Aid 20 years ago.

Still feeling smug about those Charity Christmas Cards you bought?

Saturday, December 25, 2004

A Merry Christmas To Both Our Readers

Dear Sog and Wosog it's such a pleasure to write for such an attractive, cultured and perceptive audience.

I hope you both have the Christmas you deserve!

PS If you run out of things to do try this (click on the presents to score).

Friday, December 24, 2004

You Must Be Getting Old!

Santa Jack asleep
Originally uploaded by dcpiii.

They say it's a sign of getting old when the Policemen, Traffic Wardens, etc., etc., all look like schoolboys. Well if this is what Santa looks like to you, you must be pretty ancient.

But seriously, is this kid from FlickrBlog cute or what?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

He Hates Christmas

This guy has several good reasons for disliking the Festering Season!

Monday, December 20, 2004

He's A Great Guy Isn't He?

I was reminded recently why I don't subscribe to Time magazine when I heard that they had named George W Bush their Person of the Year 2004. This seemed bizarre behaviour until I realised that the winners in 1938 and 1942 were Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin respectively!

Last year's winner was, believe it or not, The American Soldier. Time obviously values GI Joe more highly than Donald Rumsfeld.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Him Robot

It seems that the world portrayed in the film I Robot is not as far away as we imagined. Honda has produced a robot called Asimo that can not only interact with humans and find its way round obstacles, but it can also run. From the style of the running I suspect it's capable of getting constipated too!

Apparently, however, it's not the first robot to run: Sony's quirkily named Qrio beat them to it last year! Who knows, in a few years time we might have the Robot Olympics to bore the pants off us as well as the old fashioned human kind.

The BBC news article also refers to the fact that Asimo attended a state dinner in the Czech Republic in 2003, travelling with the Japanese Prime Minister. It's a pity for the British Conservative Party that the General Election is so close. Otherwise they could have put up a couple of Asimos as Tory electoral candidates! They would certainly be more inspiring than their human counterparts.

I had no idea that Honda was involved in this type for development, but I'd still rather have a Civic Type-R!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Isn't the Internet Great?

Isn't the Internet great? Without it how would eccentrics like Sam Blomberg be able to entertain us with their collection of pictures of mailboxes of the World (example above)?

We'd also never find out that Sam (US Army retired) can fly and is just as barking as these guys.

It's so reassuring to know that however flaky you may be yourself there's always someone madder than you!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

One for the Workaholics

"Hard work never did anyone any harm!" Isn't that what they used to say? Evidence from a recent study suggests, in fact, that working to tight deadlines increases your risk of a heart attack.

So next time your furiously tapping away at your keyboard, combining a rushed takeaway lunch with trying to meet your latest target, consider that the pain in your chest might not just be heartburn!

Parental Controls

Not what you expected. This animation for youngsters (now there's a word I've not used for a while) gives the little blighters advice on keeping their parents off the Net. "Sourced" from bifurcated rivets.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Caption Competition

This is a little experiment that will probably fail miserably. What do you think Blunkett has just said to Prescott? Photograph is from The Scotsman's website. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Time Gentlemen (and Ladies) Please!

The subject of alcohol overconsumption is often treated as a source of humour but the reports of binge drinking among teenagers should be a reason for concern for us all. An interesting aspect of this is the fact that the problem seems to be particularly bad in young women.

Gdog is no angel, but she certainly drinks significantly less than some of her friends. I listened to some of the sixteen year olds interviewed about their alcohol and drug use on the radio yesterday. The striking thing was how unconcerned they all were. They seemed to feel that they could get away with even the most risky behaviour just because they were young.

Apart from the long-term health hazards, alcohol is clearly a factor in the UK's high teenage pregnancy rates.

Alcohol is great if used sensibly, but I already see enough of the effects of alcohol abuse. I don't particularly want to see these appearing in an even younger age group.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Graecophilia Is Good For You

Wosog has been somewhat glum recently. Like most teachers, in my experience, she tends to get a bit morose if she doesn't have at least one holiday to look forward to! With this in mind, we decided to book a holiday in Kefalonia, Greece in July next year. We've been there once before, and it is truly a beautiful island.

The Greeks have really made doing nothing into an art form, and it's hard to know how the Ancient Greeks got around to doing all that Cradle of Civilisation Stuff.

Roll on July!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Attractions of Christianity

As a devout atheist, I have often felt that it must be quite comforting to have a faith of some kind. In times of trouble it probably would be quite handy to have some omnipotent superbeing to step in on your behalf.

I knew that Christianity in general had the attractions of being a well established religion with lots of well qualified and friendly, if somewhat earnest, employees as well as lots of large buildings where one could wile away many a Sunday morning. However I didn't, until recently, know about the even more tangible attractions of the Landover Baptist Church (The Largest, Most Powerful Assembly Of Worthwhile People To Ever Exist. Unsaved Are NOT Welcome). It's a pity Gsog already has a Playstation 2 since he could have accepted Jesus Christ and got one free! Its also a shame to miss out on the customised version of Tony Hawk's Undergound. Anyway, I've more or less decided to buy Wosog a "What Would Jesus Do?" Thong as a "stocking filler" this Christmas.

You know, I'm no expert but I suspect this may not be a genuine Christian site.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Put Your Thinking Cap On!

Some American Boffins have apparently designed a cap with 64 electrodes that allows the wearer to control a computer in a limited way.

Who knows, with advances in this technology Gsog may some day be able to use his Playstation 6 without having to move his arms at all! Unfortunately, that still leaves the problem of getting his Hula Hoops from the bag to his mouth. Thank goodness there are still some mysteries in the Universe! Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 09, 2004

House of the Rising Son

I was interested to discover today that Our Esteemed Leader's early childhood home is up for sale, and for a mere £155,000! Surely it should be bought for the Nation, and kept as a shrine to The Great Man? Future scholars could then visit there, and marvel at the fact that an individual who came from such humble origins could rise so high, mastering the art of lying to the electorate in the process!

I see the house Mr Blair plans to occupy after leaving Number 10 is a somewhat more expensive affair. The cost of the stamp duty on it would almost pay for his childhood home! Who says crime doesn't pay?

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Wonderful BombDog

5000 mph bus
Originally uploaded by BombDog.

One of my favourite photographers on Flickr is a designer from London whose "Flickr Name" is BombDog. This picture is called "5000 mph bus", and is part of a set of photographs called Motionography. His ability to capture movement in still pictures is really impressive.

His other photos are really interesting too.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Friday, December 03, 2004

What's In It For Google?

Have you ever wondered why Google, via Blogger, supplies thousands of people with free web space for their idle rantings? This little video looks forward to 2014 to speculate how Google may ultimately take over the planet and permeate every aspect of our lives, however trivial they may be.

Although one feature is a kick in the teeth for Microsoft, which will please some, the whole thing seems a bit sinister and almost apocalyptic to me!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Now Wash Your Hands

The Register reports a probe into "the nutritional content" of the average computer keyboard. This predictably, perhaps, includes bread crumbs, crisp fragments, meat, sugar, salt and jam. Less savoury contents, however, include toe and fingernail clippings, grit, glue and pubic hair (now how did that get there?).

So put that keyboard DOWN --- you don't know where it's been!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

More Pictures from Rome

St Peter's Cathedral, Rome
Originally uploaded by Son of Groucho.

St Peter's Cathedral, Rome. It's difficult to retain in your head how huge the place is.

Trevi Fountain, Rome
Originally uploaded by Son of Groucho.

Trevi Fountain, Rome. Yes we did toss a coin in. No we haven't been back yet, but maybe next year....

Monday, November 29, 2004

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

I just think this little animation is so funny. I especially like the little dog. It was stolen from bifurcated rivets.

Not speaking German, I have no idea what this is supposed to be about, but it sure cured my constipation. Thanks to the excellent octupus dropkick!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

One for the Nerds

Having only recently installed Firefox, I have found the following extensions extremely useful:

  1. ScrapBook: This is a superb tool for saving web pages, or parts of web pages, in a searchable hierarchy that you define, like the Bookmarks tree in Firefox. This is extremely helpful for hanging onto things that you discover while surfing, but want to keep for later use, eg in a blog.
  2. Sage: This is a extension for reading RSS and Atom feeds from websites. For example, if you are keen to monitor a whole list of blogs, and they have feeds, Sage can scan them and alert you of new posts.
  3. All-in-One Gestures: This extension allows you to navigate using your mouse, including opening new tabs and new windows. Once you've start using it you'll wonder how you managed without it!
  4. Super DragAndGo: This helpful little tool is another boon for the lazy web surfer. If you point to a link and then move the pointer to a blank bit of page the link opens in a new tab. If you do the same thing with an image you automatically download the image. If you do the same thing with a piece of text it is automatically entered into whatever search you have set up on the right of the Firefox window, be it Google, or whatever. How neat is that?
All these extensions installed without a hitch, and have worked perfectly. I can highly recommend them all.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Pass the Sick Bowl

Don't people like this make you want to throw up?

Terrible shame about the Guinness Book of Records thing though!

PS What the Hell is a math museum, anyway?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Don't Bear a Grudge

I'm on holiday this week (What do you mean "Again?"), so I met Gdog in Glasgow and we went to see The Grudge. Despite some of the negative comments made by others about this film, we both thought it was genuinely scary and thoroughly enjoyable. My daughter delighted in telling me that I "screamed like a girl" at one point. Our bums definitely left our seats on several occasions!

There clearly is a fad at the moment for Hollywood remakes of Japanese films, but this movie was unusual in that the same Japanese director also directed the second film. It seems to be an automatic response in some people to say that the remake is not as good as the first film. I haven't seen the original version of The Grudge, but I have seen both versions of The Ring. I definitely preferred the new version---and you can call me a Philistine if you like!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Come And Get Me!

For those of you applying for a new job, the way this French computer programmer presents his CV is definitely not the way to go (via memepool)!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Not Too Successful Please!

Isn't it nice that Microsoft is at last getting some serious competition on various fronts? The phenomenal success of Firefox is not just because it's a superb browser. It's got a lot to do with the fact that it's free and, most importantly, not made by Bill Gates' Boys.

Google's designs on our desktops seem another one in the eye for MS, but the clever Google guys better watch out. If they end up being too dominant a player in the market place then maybe we'll end up hating them too!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Holiday Plans

St Peter's Square, Rome
Originally uploaded by Son of Groucho.

Sog and Wosog are hoping to get away again next Easter: possibly visiting Rome for the second time.

Some other people obviously fancy going further afield!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Congratulations Dr Death?

Wosog went out today to buy a congratulations card for Dr Death and Wodd on the birth of their daughter Dodd. Sog thought that wording such as "Beware the End is Nigh" would be appropriate, but Wosog got something a bit more traditional.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Teatotal Bondi at Christmas!

Even the Australians are going soft in these politically correct times.

What's the world coming to?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Baby Dodd Has Arrived

Dodd has finally arrived. Mother and baby are both well.

Now the fun begins....

Monday, November 15, 2004

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Never Again!

Sog woke today to the sound of Gdog, as we say in this part of the world, "talking to Huey on the giant telephone"*. She had turned a delicate shade of green and, without any prompting from him, voiced the immortal words "Never again!" with reference to her alcoholic excesses of the night before.

It's amazing the excuses people come up with for vomiting after alcohol excess. People rabbit on about "mixing my drinks", "drinking on an empty stomach", "it was the curry that did it", "I had a bad piece of lemon/ ice cube" etc. The fact is alcohol is a poison....but we like it! OK?

*IE Vomiting down the toilet.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Just a Virus

Patients attending people mechanics currently are accustomed to being told that practically any of the symptoms they present with are "probably due to a viral infection", and that there is basically nothing their hard pressed GP can do about them. With this in mind, I was intrigued to read on CNET some predictions from the slightly wacky Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading.

Our Kevin, who's a bit of a cyborg himself, can see the day, hopefully when I'm dead and gone, when most humans will be networked in some way to a computer. He sees this as a form of upgrading for humans (!), but admits that this form of cosy symbiosis might well make the resultant hybrids prone to computer viruses and hackers, just like the pc's of today.

I can just imagine the GP of the Future being visited by his third heartsink patient of the morning and saying "Well Mrs Confusion I'm afraid you've got a touch of the latest MyDoom virus, but it's not as bad as it sounds: just download this prescription from the McAfee website. But while you're here, why don't we just defrag your hard drive?"

Friday, November 12, 2004

Searching for the Meaning of Life

The other day I was talking to Gdog about some obscure actor and the previous films he'd been in. I told her to look him up in the Internet Movie Database, and casually opined (good word, don't you think?) that the answer to any question could probably now be found on the Web.

This episode prompted me to wonder how effective the Internet would be at answering the most fundamental queries: like "What is The Meaning of Life", for example. My decision to use Google was not at all influenced by the latter's ownership of (honest).

A standard Google search for Meaning of Life and The Meaning of Life produced 19,300,000 and 19,900,000 pages respectively: not too helpful if you want to avoid repetitive strain injury in your mouse-clicking finger! Doing an advanced search for the same things as exact phrases narrows things down to a mere 1,080,000 and 768,000 pages respectively: still a bit of a needle in a haystack. Restricting the last search to pages in English only reduced the number to 728,000. I won't go on: the main point is that searching for The Meaning of Life in the 21st Century may be harder than I thought.

The lists include the inevitable links to the Monty Python film and an excellent Wikipedia article on Douglas Adam's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". There's also a rather intriguing link to FAQ about the Meaning of Life! I've not chased up all the leads yet, but as Captain Oates once said "....I may be some time." .

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Accordions from Hell II

Here's one of the little blighters! Posted by Hello

Accordions From Hell

As a fan of Gary Larson's Farside Cartoons, I can well remember one that is split into an upper scene depicting Heaven and a lower scene depicting Hell (I can't show you this for copyright reasons). St Peter is saying "Welcome to Heaven....Here's your harp", while The Devil is saying "Welcome to Hell....Here's your accordion". With this in mind, I was truly horrified to discover via Boing Boing that Roland has produced a digital accordion.

Now that's just WRONG!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Many A True Word....

Here is my final comment on the 2004 American Presidential Election. One of my favourite sayings is "Many a true word spoken in jest". This little gem from Soapy Goldfish I think amply illustrates the point.

Incidentally, after one failed attempt I seem to have grasped Trackback. So today has not been a complete waste of time!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Is There No Justice?

Like Jasper Gerard in the Sunday Times yesterday, I was aghast to discover that Salman Rushdie's gorgeous fourth wife, Padma Lakshmi says he's "handsome, beautiful, and very sexy".

Is it not bad enough that he's smarter than me, more famous than me, and richer than me! Up till now, I'd been able to reassure myself that despite all that he was an ugly bloke who was probably crap between the sheets.

It's an ill divided world, right enough!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Baby Sog

Baby Sog
Originally uploaded by Son of Groucho.

Hints of his true origin were present from and early age.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Visit to Mosog

Went to visit Mosog (Mother of Son of Groucho) last night. She's getting on in years, and her memory is not what it was. The closely guarded secret of Sog's origins is very likely to remain unrevealed. In view of his strong resemblance as an adult to Mr Marx, Sog can only assume that he was, in fact, Groucho's love child. Even though the signs were there from an early age, his apparent father somehow didn't make the connection, and the family has lived a lie all these years!

It's secrets such as these that tear families apart, and Sog and Wosog have vowed to always be honest with each other, thereby setting a better example to their beloved Gdog and Gsog.

On that serious note, I leave you tonight dear reader....

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Trying Essay III: Success At Last!

Guess what? Gsog's essay has finally made the grade! A temporary calm descends on the Sog household.

Gdog seems to be a bit more sensible again! Spooky isn't it?

Unfortunately, we're stuck with Dubya for another 4 years....

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Why So Glum, Dante?

Dante in Florence
Originally uploaded by Son of Groucho.

This is another picture from Florence posted from my new Flickr account. Here goes...

Is There Anybody Out There? II

Many thanks to David Smith of Deleting a little rogue tag in the template HTML seems to have brought the little graphic in from the cold.

I feel SO much better now! (but I still don't understand Trackback).

Is There Anybody Out There?

Have just installed a Site Meter, but was dismayed to find the graphic placed right at the edge of the page, which was a little irritating, and instantly marked me as a blogging neophyte. Tried e-mailing, and they very efficiently e-mailed me back. They said what I needed to do was to go into the template and "move the HTML for the counter to the position where you'd like it to go." I really don't think they appreciate how ignorant I am! Dare I come clean, and ask them to spell things out in a little more detail? If you're really interested you can check back later and see if the little blighter has migrated!

Today I decided to add Haloscan Commenting and Trackback, but, to be honest I'm not sure I completely understand what they are all about! Commenting fair enough, but what is this Trackback business? Installation went like a dream, I'm glad to say.

As far as I currently understand it, I will now be able to show comprehensively not only that nobody is visiting my site (apart from me), but also that nobody is linking to it.

Now that is progress!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Drop The Hate?

Isn't it interesting that Osama bin Laden chooses now to threaten further attacks on the USA? This appears to have had the fairly predictable effect of enhancing Bush's chances of victory in the imminent election.

Considering the fact that Al Queda is supposed to abhor the policies of the current regime, one might ask why the leader of that organisation would want to make a Bush victory more likely? The current president must be one of the most unpopular holders of the position, outside the USA, that there has ever been. A USA that continues to be led by Bush is far more likely to be the subject of continued antagonism from various factions overseas, and the hatred that people like bin Laden need to thrive will continue to ferment.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Who Cares?

In case anyone in Scotland who lives outside a city has failed to notice, NHS Scotland is disintegrating---and under a so-called Labour government too! Even under the Tories' divisive Internal Market Sog saw his local hospital develop, and the Trust kept close to its budget.

In the last few years Sog has seen the same local hospital steadily declining through chronic lack of investment as a larger hospital, miles away, basically bled it dry. People in the area who have no cars now face an extremely difficult journey in order to access the services that they helped pay for. We have already lost acute surgery and our accident & emergency department. Today we find that we are losing the psychiatric ward in the hospital, a facility that transformed the care of patients in the area with mental health problems. The proposed "service" provided by a Glasgow psychiatric hospital sounds totally unsatisfactory.

We are told that all this centralisation is necessary because of increased specialisation, and other factors including the improvements in junior doctors' hours and the European Working Time Directive. So-called "consultation exercises" gather the views of the public then totally ignore them. The bottom line is the Health Board's large deficit, and the basic unfairness of offering a completely inadequate service to a large proportion of the population doesn't seem to matter.

The scandalous lack of imagination shown in tackling these issues, and blindly applying models that only work well in areas of high population density, will cause years of misery to many of the most vulnerable people in our communities, but who cares?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Lessons In Democracy

I thought this might be the only blog in the world that had no comments on the Election in the USA, but this report in Boing Boing finally prompted me to vent my spleen. The fact that children who declared themselves to be Kerry supporters at a school visited by the President were being threatened with expulsion speaks volumes about Democracy According to Bush.

It is frightening to think that this dangerous lunatic will probably be re-elected the Most Powerful Man on the Planet. How can anyone support him when he stoops to desperate tactics like these?

Bush claims he sent troops into Iraq to give that country democracy, but this story is but one small example of how his political machine tries to stifle democratic debate at home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Dr Death's Undoing

One of Sog's partners in his people mechanic business, Dr Death, previously seemed a relatively sensible chap, apart from a penchant for hanging off ice covered mountains. About 8 months ago, however, he told his partners that he had finally decided to do something really risky: to become a father for the first time at the age of forty.

If only he had divulged his intentions to Sog before Wodd (Wife of Dr Death) became pregnant! Sog could have arranged psychiatric treatment, under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act if necessary, to try to cure this madness.

Doesn't he know that babies, who have their own sleep-disturbing, soiled nappy-generating disadvantages, grow into TEENAGERS with all their attendant miseries?

Anyway, as they say, it's too late now. We're all on tenterhooks awaiting the arrival of Dodd (Daughter of Dr Death). No doubt she'll look angelic when she finally appears, but don't be deceived DD: the worst is yet to come....

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Rediscovering the Web

Finally got around to installing Firefox last night. Extremely impressed. Seems to me to be as fast as Opera with a much less cluttered interface. Tonight installed the Sage extension, and got it to read the feed from this very blog. To my astonishment it worked without a hitch. Brilliant or what?

Proudly showed Wosog the results of my efforts. I KNOW she's excited about it really....

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Gdog Slightly Less Than Totally Sensible Shock!!!

When Sog was at the University of Life he was nicknamed "Captain Sensible" by certain fellow trainee people mechanics who had a racier lifestyle than he. Apart from a brief spell of teenage rebellion 2-3 years ago, it seemed to the adult Sogs that Gdog had inherited her father's sensible gene.

However, since turning 18 and leaving school, Gdog has been showing disturbing signs of being, well, slightly less than totally sensible. She has been led astray by two not very sensible friends, and has on some weeks consumed more than 14 units of ALCOHOL. Last night, before her first (admittedly not too critical) exam at university she went out to watch yet another film. She then went drinking, missed her last train, and arrived home at 1.30 AM. I ask you, are these the actions of a sensible girl?

If these trends continue, there is a worrying risk that Gdog will become a normal well balanced individual rather than a neurotic, angst-ridden wreck like her father! We cannot stand by and let this happen!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A Trying Essay II: The Torture Continues....

Guess what? Gsog's teacher says his English essay is still a fail. He's got to rewrite it!

Do you think it's too late to put him up for adoption?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

What Would Groucho Have Said?

These are my favourite quotes from The Great Man:

  • "From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it."
  • "Here's to our wives and girlfriends....may they never meet!"
  • "I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception."
  • "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
  • "Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped."
  • "Military justice is to justice what military music is to music."
  • "She got her good looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon."
  • "Remember men you are fighting for the lady's honour, which is probably more than she ever did."
  • "Marriage is the chief cause of divorce."
  • "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing....if you can fake that you've got it made."
  • "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
  • "Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy."
  • "I don't have a photograph, but you can have my footprints. They're upstairs in my socks."
  • "Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot."
  • "The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his cheque book open."

Friday, October 15, 2004

A Trying Essay

The week, so far, has been overshadowed by an essay that Gsog has to write for his Higher English---not his favourite subject. This is to be a critical analysis of how Pat Barker's book "Regeneration" communicates an anti-war message. Periodically, various friends phone up with plans for skating expeditions. This doesn't help Sog and Wosog's attempts to persuade Gsog that passing Higher English would be A GOOD IDEA.

In a way it's ironic that an anti-war book has, at times, generated near warfare in the Sog household. Wosog has been trying her level best to encourage Gsog to buckle down to the task, but it's certainly been an uphill struggle. Hopefully we'll get the essay finished today, then we just need to persuade the reluctant scholar to study for his Maths test....

The joys of parenthood, indeed!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Man on Fire

Man on Fire. Posted by Hello

A Night at the Cinema

Went with Gdog last night to see Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington (see picture). It was quite a late showing (started at 8.30 pm), and the cinema was packed for once. I thought it was a really enjoyable film. The reviews that I had read suggested that the first hour was good, but that the second half basically consisted of Our Denzel shooting most of the rest of the cast! I don't think this is fair. There is quite a lot of violence, but I don't think it's excessive. There is a decent plot, and the movie comes to a satisfactory, credible conclusion: what more can you ask for?

I haven't mentioned before that Gdog is a major movie fan. One of the local cinemas has an arrangement where you can pay £10 per month and see as many films as you want. Gdog certainly makes sure that she gets value for her money, and a spin-off is her growing DVD collection. She doesn't like going to the cinema on her own, and is always looking for someone to accompany her. I like films too, but Wosog and I can rarely agree on which movie to go and see. Gdog has very catholic taste in films, so we've now gone to see several together.

I'm still wakening too early, and I'm not sure this holiday is benefiting me as much as it should. If not a Man on Fire, I'm certainly not as cool as I'd like to be....

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Monday, October 11, 2004

An Unusual Week

This week is a little unusual in that Sog, Wosog and Gsog are on holiday while poor little Gdog has to get up early to travel by train to the University of Life. Unfortunately, no one has told Sog's body clock about this, and he still switched on like the proverbial light bulb at some ungodly hour. On the plus side, this did give him the opportunity to witness first hand how unimpressed Gdog is about being the only "worker" in the house! To say she is unhappy about the situation is like stating that Al Queda has certain reservations about US foreign policy!!

On a normal day in the Sog household Sog gets up first and reminds Gdog of the dreadful significance of her bleeping alarm. While Gdog showers in an attempt to convert her zombie-like state to something akin to consciousness, Sog has a leisurely breakfast then shaves. By then, Gdog has emerged from the shower and Sog can fight his way through the steam to shower himself.

Gsog relies on his parents to wake him up, never seeming to have grasped the concept of an alarm clock....or any other sort of timepiece, for that matter! The first attempt to raise him from the dead is made by Sog, but this practically never gets him out of bed. Sog next attempts to wake Wosog. After several episodes in which she dreams about being awake in response to Sog's increasingly unsympathetic entreaties, her body catches up with her brain, and she stumbles, blinking into the light. Now almost completely in contact with reality, Wosog, with the righteous indignation of an ex-smoker berating an unreformed nicotine addict, verbally blasts Gsog out of bed!

This morning here I am tapping away at my keyboard while a scowling Gdog wings her way to work, and the other two remain firmly fixed in suspended animation. Does anyone know the address of a body clock repairer?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

An Old Friend from Med School

In the he olden days, when Sog was a trainee people mechanic, students were loaned a half skeleton to help them learn the names of the bony prominences etc. This is the skull from Sog's half skeleton. I'm not sure how they got over the fact that each skeleton had only one head: maybe 50% of graduates from those days have only a hazy knowlege of the anatomy of the skull! Worrying isn't it? Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Teenagers....Who would have them?

Isn't it amazing how lazy teenagers are?

Only a teenager could let the bin in their room overflow rather than pick up the blessed thing and walk the short distance required to empty it. Only a teenager could let the floor of their bedroom get so cluttered that an adult trying to walk across it feels like they are attempting to negotiate a mine field!

Why is it that teenagers walk out and leave the door lying wide open, or have a shower and leave wet towels all over the floor? Why do they expect the stressed, exhausted wage slaves that fund their cosseted existence to pick up after them?

Up until now, Wosog has felt that it was more efficient overall for her to do the washing and ironing for all the Sogs. Recently, however, Wosog and Sog decided that Gsog and Gdog should shoulder their share of the burden of washing and ironing, and learn to be more independent in the process. What consternation this seemed to cause! How could they be expected to fit doing their own laundry into their busy schedules? Where could Gsog accommodate it between sleeping, eating, skating, reading skating magazines, Sky television (extreme sports channels), surfing the Internet (for skating sites), playing computer games (skating mainly), and....oh yea....studying his school work? Where could Gdog fit it in between sleeping, eating, surfing the Internet, studying for her degree and partying?

We're now in an uneasy transition period where both junior Sogs are waiting to see if Wosog really means it! They have each operated the washing machine once, and ironed the items that they consider essential. The other items needing ironed seem to be waiting for the services of the Ironing Fairy. Unfortunately, she doesn't appear to have visited yet. Watch this space....

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Meet the Sogs: only the names have been changed to protect the guilty!

The Sogs stay, appropriately perhaps, in a rather wet region of Scotland. Sog and his wife Wosog had 2.4 children, but 0.4 died some time ago in mysterious circumstances.

The remaining two children are 20 year old Gdog (grand-daughter of Groucho), and Gsog (grandson of Groucho), who is 18 years old. Gdog is studying for a degree at the nearby University of Life. Gsog is studying at a different university about an hour's drive away. It must have been something we said!

Sog has been a people mechanic for over 25 years, while Wosog is a teacher. They have been happily married for almost 25 years.

So, there you have them: The Sogs---a microcosm of contemporary Scottish life!

Monday, September 27, 2004

My Wife Thinks I'm Mad

My dear wife, who is somewhat sceptical about the Internet, can't understand the point of me blogging. I certainly seem a rather unlikely individual to "bear my soul" in cyberspace.

I heard about blogging a long time ago, and I must admit it seemed to me a rather strange thing to do, even then! I suppose if you have a huge intellect, and an even bigger ego, it's a perfect way to get your valuable insights instantly to the masses....but only if they know your address, and happen to visit it. Maybe you'd be better writing to the Times after all!

Looking at some of the existing blogs it's not any easier to understand why most people do it. Some blogs are very bizarre indeed and, dare I say it, barely coherent. Very few seem to have any comments, so if you can't be sure that anyone is "out there" reading what you write, why not just talk to yourself in the bath and save the typing?

But blogging is, by all accounts, an expanding global phenomenon, and I understand even Tony Blair is enthusiatic about it. Despite the latter aspect, I think I'll keep going a little longer....

Friday, September 24, 2004

A pathetic first attempt...

This blogging business is new to me, so this is my first, painfully banal posting just to see how the whole thing works...or maybe doesn't in my case!