Filler by Proxy X: The Ten Greatest Songs To Listen To While Making Sweet Love If You’re A Premature Ejaculator

Thursday 10 February 2005

This invaluable public service provided courtesy of TMFTML. To which I would add The Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing”, Black Flag’s “Fix Me”, and Yoko Ono’s “Toilet Piece/Unknown”. Please note that, like Pele in his TV ads for Viagra, I used the word “would” in the previous sentence.

Designations of Geezerhood

Thursday 10 February 2005

Unsolicited emails, recently received:
After the 24 age, our trunk tardily desists carries out a important internal secretion known as Someone Increase Internal Secretion. The decrease of it, that governs levels of other internal secretions in your trunk is at once liable for many of the largest prevalent designations of geezerhood, for example furrows, gray light hair, subsided energy, and diminished intimate role.

So spammers trust Babelfish to translate their spiel for them, it would seem. But wait, later the same day I get…

Since the 24 years, our trunk sluggishly desists carries out a weighty hormone known as Mortal Increase Hormone. The decrease of it, which governs grades of another internal secretions in our physical structure is shortly liable for all of the greatest general designations of eld, as crinkles, light hair, declined power, and weakened sexual function.

Best spam poetry ever! Magniloquent verbiage one might expect from Sergeant Fottrell after a sharp blow to the back of the head. Google lists another dozen or so variations on this theme. What happened here? My guess is an original message in English got Babelled into a dozen different languages and now spammers around the world are trying to Babel it back. Alternatively, somewhere in China is a basement full of 500 geeks each individually translating and sending each spam by hand.

Nightmares in demography

Wednesday 9 February 2005

Having gone off on that brief frolic about Sorabji the other day, and while thinking about middle-aged guys fretting in public about who listens to classical music, I remembered a recent review by David Hurwitz at Classics Today about a CD of music by Havergal Brian. Brian was a self-taught composer from a working-class background who was never fully recognised by his peers, let alone an audience, during his lifetime but has since attracted a small but (overly?) enthusiastic following. It was some of these fans Hurwitz encountered when queuing at the cash register fifteen years ago, waiting to buy the first CD release of Brian’s monumental “Gothic” Symphony:
Standing in line before me was the New York chapter of the Havergal Brian Society. There were about 10 of them, average age about 70, men with bald scalps and lanky shoulder-length white hair hanging limply in the latest Benjamin Franklin style. All wore thick glasses, and a few had conditions that I thought had been cured by the turn of the last century: goiters, a harelip or two, and various poxes and skin diseases. None had credit cards, or a majority of their teeth, but most had, to put in kindly, olfactorily obvious personal hygiene issues.

He left the shop and bought it by mail-order. If you’re interested, you can get it for about 18 bucks at JB or “you can order on line and never be seen with it in public.”

The London Review of Books personal ad of the month, February 2005

Monday 7 February 2005

Dancing on the table impresses no-one. Except my mother, but she’s in a home and not allowed to watch the news. Straight-laced guy with low aspirations thinks you’ll do. Box no. 02/09

Trailer: Who Killed Classical Music Again?

Sunday 6 February 2005

Coming up this week. BLAD dives willy-nilly into the issue exercising minds all over western civilisation: the fate of classical music. A genre which has died almost as many deaths over the last five hundred years as hip-hop has in the last five. There will be tears, recriminations, baseless pontificating, and a sigh of relief.
To tide you over, Kyle Gann plays coroner…
Nobody here had anything to do with classical music getting waxed. It was a suicide… Tried to starve itself to death. A tiny, self-imposed diet of the same German and Russian food over and over. Cholesterol in the high 600s. Didn’t want to grow. Refused to eat anything new. Kept trying to pretend the 20th century never happened. Severe personality disorder. It never established any roots here anyway — still obsessed with the old country, and acted so hoity-toity to cover up its insecurity. Suicide was the only way it could save face.

“there are more things / twixt the vermiform appendix / and nirvana than are dreamt of / in thy philosophy horatio”

Sunday 6 February 2005

Two quotes from the unbridled phantasmagoria that are my dreams:
  • “Hmmm, gonna have to buy some more socks soon.”
  • “Wow, the Cash Converters in Dandenong stays open really late!”

Fun with Farsi, Pun with Parsi

Sunday 6 February 2005

In my extensive research of that last posting I had to look up ‘Farsi’, to make sure I wasn’t confusing it with ‘Parsi‘. On the way I found the wonderful site farsijoke.com, for all the Farsi jokes your funnybone can handle. WARNING: looking at this site may break your monitor, or your brain.
I only remembered Parsi because it was the religion of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988)*, the loony British* composer of the notorious Opus Clavicembalisticum – a four-and-half hour long work for piano of ridiculous difficulty – and other works of similar dimension and complexity. Many passages of his keyboard music (for two hands) require the performer to read and play four, five or even, in one case, seven staves at a time.
In the 1930s he withdrew his music from publication, dismayed by musicians’ inability to play it accurately, and guaranteeing his obscurity, albeit with a growing cult following. He resented people making superficial inquiries about himself or his music, regarding them as intrusions on his work. He would also get very cross if you called him Leon Dudley**. On the other hand it is unlikely he would deign to meet you, given that he seldom left his castle in Dorset, with its sign on the gate:

Visitors Unwelcome.
Roman Catholic Nuns in Full Habit May Enter Without An Appointment.

* “TO THOSE WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, IF ANY, AND OTHERS WHO MIND ANYBODY’S BUSINESS BUT THEIR OWN. Dates and places of birth relating to myself given in various works of reference are invariably false.”
** “Certain lexographical canaille, one egregious and notorious specimen particularly, enraged at my complete success in defeating and frustrating their impudent impertinent and presumptuous nosings and pryings into what doesn’t concern them, and actuated, no doubt, by the mean malice of the base-born for their betters, have thought, as they would say, to take it out of me by suggesting that my name isn’t really my name.”

If you’re talking to me your cult must be in trouble

Sunday 6 February 2005

Remember the Raelians? Two years ago they were telling the world they had cloned a human baby – hell, they’d cloned thirteen of the little suckers. So, what have they been up to lately? Sweet bugger all, other than sending me one unsolicited email a month telling me that “Extraterrestrial Elohim created life on earth!” and asking me to download a free e-book. In Farsi.
They send it to my work address. My workplace gets inundated with spam but as far as I know I’m the only one who gets the Raelians. If they think an email address ending in ‘.au’ is Persian, it makes me wonder if they really, truly have the technical smarts to clone kiddies. Perhaps they expect me to rely on the dedicated team of native speakers at Translation Express.
Funnily enough, the website of Clonaid doesn’t mention anything about having successfully cloned people. They’re pretty vague about where they are and what they do, too, which makes me imagine the Clonaid laboratories to be a series of empty white rooms with a few people in lab coats wandering back and forth. Kind of like the Ponds Institute, only without all the science.
For anyone else having trouble remembering the day the world changed:
The president of a firm that doesn’t formally exist said yesterday that she still can’t prove that her “human cloning company” has cloned any humans.

Does this count as Binge or Purge? (Summer Fun Pak*)

Wednesday 2 February 2005

It’s summer, so I haven’t been going anywhere or doing anything. It’s too hot. At least I expect it’s too hot, because since new year I’ve been hiding in the dark under the bed with some 1.5 litre bottles of Kirov and a pallet of Tiny Teddy biscuits, waiting until it’s finally March. But I did find a power point for my laptop, which means I cd fritter away my downtime tinkering with the layout of the site. So in the meantime you can…
1. make your own joke about a clueless rock dude whose name is “Bassman”;
It’s partly because I’ve already mentioned Dimebag Darrell getting shot onstage, and partly because rather than write my own stuff I’d prefer to swipe it from No Rock&Roll Fun, or any website that updates daily. How on earth do they manage it? Do they all have servans? What with all the hours I have to spend staring into the bottom of bottles and testing the patience of phone sex operators I have barely enough time to brush my teeth once or twice a week, let alone write rubbish for this stupid site. Anyway, here’s the quote.
Paul Bassman, manager of Damageplan, is still puzzled about the whole thing. “How this man got onstage without encountering security is the most puzzling question,” Bassman says.
That’s right, I’m sure nobody has ever been at a gig before where people have ever got on the stage, run about, hugged the bass player, sung two lines of a song, kissed the singer, trod on the effects pedal, danced about like a pansy-boy or simply dived off the stage back into the crowd. It just never happens, does it?
2. make your own joke about this kid getting wedgied to death next day at school;
The BBC has reported that a 12 year old boy has discovered five mistakes in the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Lucian, who attends Highgate Junior School, spends several hours a week reading through the encyclopaedia’s 32 volumes.
3. amaze your friends with your ingenious plan to drive McDonalds out of business;
Just eat lots and lots of Happy Meals! Next time you rock up to CERES with a gob full of french fries you can look your feral friends in the eye and tell them you’re sticking it to The Man because Maccas loses money on every one sold. Of course if they do go out of business, where is there left where you can still score a good old brown paper bag?
… if you are on a high street and feel heart palpitations, a shortness of breath and an extreme feeling of anxiety, pop into McDonald’s, tell the waitress you are having a panic attack and a staff member will immediately issue you with a paper bag in which to breathe.
These and eight other reasons to stop worrying and love the Ron at AK13.
4. not bother reading The Age;
It’s only just February and they’ve published their third column for the year about how Melburnians are obsessed with coffee.
5. suck all the fun out of people’s inane prattle about the Oscars.
Tell them the best film award can be determined by a formula. Download the spreadsheet. Hand out printouts of the spreadsheet to your coworkers. Explain the calculations to them. Mark the important parts with a highlighter pen. Show no interest in telling them what’s actually going to win this year.
Now for no reason at all I’m going to post a picture of an angry baby and then I’m done. Enjoy.

* Does not contain actual fun.

Filler by Proxy IX: Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Brain

Monday 17 January 2005

Why didn’t anyone tell me* that Marc Almond was in a coma last year? I know, you’ll just say “Because, Ben.H, we know you don’t give a shit about Soft Cell, let alone Mr Almond’s solo career,” but that doesn’t mean I’d have laughed dismissively at the news of his terrible motorcycle accident. Thankfully, he’s getting better. Anyway, I’m only mentioning it now becuase of his miraculous parrot-assisted recovery, as reported at No Rock & Roll Fun:
The range of benefits of keeping a pet bird have expanded by one, with Marc Almond revealing that he was roused from his coma by someone playing him the CD that he usually played to his parrot. We’re not entirely sure why he made a specific compilation for his parrot, and we don’t know what was on it – Chicks on Speed, we suppose. We’re also not sure who had the idea of playing Marc the parrot’s CD – we like to think it was maybe the parrot – but it worked.
Athough he’s recovering, Almond has got a way to go – in addition to the physical injuries, he’s discovered his childhood stammer has returned, and his hair has, Leland Palmer** style, turned grey overnight.
* Yes, Australian celebrity babe ASCII art.
** Or maybe Leland Palmer.

Filler by Proxy VIII: Lost in Translation

Wednesday 12 January 2005

Are you the Pope? Are you not the Pope, but still over 1500 years old? Translation Express has your translation needs covered! Their team of experienced, qualified bilingual and multilingual native Latin speakers is waiting for your call….
If you require professional, high quality Latin to Latin translations and Latin to Latin translations or translations from other languages into Latin or from Latin into other languages, our Latin language translation services will help you achieve your global strategy.
Latin to Latin to Latin. All of Translation Express’ work is carefully proofread for errors. Latin Latin Latin. Excuse me, I think there’s a echo in here.
Judging by their use of the term ‘global strategy’, I guess their target demographic really is the Pope. Or Caesar.
Don’t ask them to do Harry Potter, it’s probably been done. Yeah, thought so.

Since you asked: yes, this site runs on self-indulgence and stale jokes

Tuesday 11 January 2005

Just in: an addition to the list of people or things I have been mistaken for, or allegedly physically resemble, in increasing order of ridiculousness. Russell Crowe is the new entry, but I wd welcome your input about whether he shd go above Ben Lee (but below Harry Potter) or below Ben Lee (but above shit). I’m pretty sure Ben Lee represents some line of truth.
In other news, I got a digital camera. It was a gift: I think the donor was trading up and wanted to get rid of his old one. It may not work at all. Otherwise I haven’t figured out how to use it, because all my shots so far look like this:

The BLAD artist interviews, no.2: Ricky Swallow

Monday 10 January 2005

After November’s trenchant, incisive interview with Stelarc some readers thought I’d run out of artists to interview, but long-term readers knew I was just too lazy to upload more treasures of Australia’s cultural heritage.
Ricky Swallow became a household word after he handcrafted Melbourne’s Crown Casino complex entirely out of cardboard, balsa wood and carpet remnants, complete with a fully-working model of Steven Jacobs. After being named “Australia’s Most Collectable Young Artist” by Cleo magazine for three years running, he has now fled the country. This interview was conducted at 200 Gertrude Street last year.
BLAD: Hello.
SWALLOW: Hey there! You know, you look more like Jim O’Rourke every time I see you.
BLAD: Huh?
SWALLOW: Whoops, gotta go!
Ricky Swallow has been selected by the Australia Council for ritual sacrifice at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Articlus stupidium

Wednesday 5 January 2005

Inspired by the British Museum’s publishing coup in printing The Tale of Peter Rabbit in hieroglyphs – the perfect tale for busy mummies who want to unwind with a nice story about bunnies after a hard day punching holes in the chests of character actors and overwhelming the world with an army of the undead – I am now working on translating Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix into cuneiform.
This is no easy task, even after successfully neogtiating the rights with J.K. Rowling’s publishers and several earthmoving contractors. There are the difficulties of finding equivalent terms relating to an anachronistic British boarding school that will make sense to the average Babylonian, how to translate all the cod Latin into an even more ancient context and, most of all, how to live with myself as a fully-grown adult ploughing through a children’s book only slightly shorter than the collected works of Jane Austen.
The new edition should hit the streets in time for next Christmas, and is expected to take up about 12,000 clay tablets. Customers are advised to pre-order to avoid disappointment, and to hire a truck to take it home. Please take care not to drop a page, or get it wet: tablets will not be sold separately. For vision-impaired Sumerians, a large print edition is in preparation.

Filler by Proxy VII: A square, a semi-circle, and an ellipse

Tuesday 4 January 2005

From the BBC: “Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been translated into ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs by the British Museum.”
Two choice quotes: the obvious…
“Beatrix Potter’s words sometimes do not readily fall into ancient Egyptian,” they wrote in the foreword.

and the not so obvious…
The “time seemed appropriate” for the hieroglyph version, due in April, translators said…