Chris Cross'll make you... goosestep?

I was doing some careful research today into top boarding-school, unspecifically mid-atlantic, teen-themed sitcom, "Chris Cross". I'm still wondering whatever happened to head honcho D J Mac/Mc Hale (did he join the navy?). But I was rather more disturbed by the abject failure of IMDB's similarity matching algorithm.

If you enjoyed Chris Cross, why not try The Nazis: A Warning From History?

Perhaps this is a deeper comment on the nature of the boarding school experience. I wouldn't know. I was a grammar school boy.

Online quizzes

I really love online quizzes. For years I have wondered in vain which Star Wars Ewok I most resemble and now thanks to the wonder of the internet I can finally find out. Here's the results of the latest test I took:

Which Unary Digit Are You?

You are 1!

Standing tall, you are bold but not daring. You are unique yet one of group. People can depend on you, most of the time. You are spontaneous, but only very occasionally. Your friends all know who you are.

Why don't you take it too and tell me what you come out as?


Support Our Troops Posted by Hello

WWJD PUT IT BACK Posted by Hello

WWJD Put it back

For the last few weeks on my way to work I've been passing a "support our troops" ribbon lying in the road.

For those not familiar with contemporary united states vehicular adornments, a "support our troops" ribbon is somewhat akin to a fridge magnet. It is usually made up to resemble a "yellow ribbon" (or sometimes a "red white and blue ribbon") and stuck to the back of a car (like this). I think the idea is to emphasize that the driver of the vehicle truly believes that people who are paid to be in the army are fundamentally better people than anyone else in the world. In order to make this they buy these magnets which are mass produced in Korea or Taiwan or somewhere similar.

Anyway, there was this fading magnet lying in the road, and on friday I stopped to pick it up. I'm thinking of making a collection of these faded and fallen emblems, I already have a couple on my fridge.

As I picked it up and turned it over, I noticed that it had tape on the back, and someone had written "WWJD Put it back". This confused me for a while, not least because it took me some thinking to figure out what WWJD stands for.

[It's "What would Jesus do?"]

I paused for a moment. Did someone really want me to leave this lying in the road where most people wouldn't notice it (it'd been sitting there for at least a fortnight, probably longer)?

Eventually, I reconstructed a story. Someone felt very strongly about their "support our troops" ribbon. But they had lost ribbons in the past. So, on replacing a ribbon, they put this message to the person they imagined was stealing the ribbon of the back of their car, implying that Jesus, were he suddenly reincarnated on earth 2000 years after his death and who, after assimilating all the changes that had gone on since he was last on earth, decided that it would be a jolly jape to steal "support our troops" ribbons from the back of people's parked cars, would, on sober reflection, decide that such petty theft was not becoming of the second coming of the son of God, and would lovingly reaffix it to the vehicle.

That's quite a lot to swallow, and I'm not sure that I particularly care for this depiction of the messiah as one prone to juvenile ribbon stealing pranks, even if he is beset by pangs of guilt and puts it back straight away. And if he did come back in 2005, I think he would have other things on his mind such as the last battle with Satan, the rise of the antichrist, and all that other weird shit from Revelations that my Religious Studies teacher used to swear blind was the absolute literal truth.

But anyway, the discovery of the ribbon lying on the road with its cryptic message leads to a other conclusions. The owner of this ribbon who wrote the "WWJD put it back" with a felt-tip pen is now most likely under the impression that their solemn invocation of their one true god Himselves to protect this car magnet has been ignored by some godless tyke, who has again taken away this most precious of emblems. It makes you wonder if the first magnet which we must suppose existed but was also remove (hence, the need for the WWJD message) may actually have succumbed to the same fate as this one --- that is, no one ever stole a ribbon from this good Christians car, but the first ribbon also fell off in the street. The magnets on these ribbons aren't very strong. So this unfortunate god fearing individual is now tortured by thoughts of lawless individuals half-inching "support our troops" ribbon magnets when in fact no such people exist, they just fell off. That's rather sad.

One final irony is that because the magnet is so weak, the fact that the author of the WWJD message needed to stick tape to the back of the ribbon in order to write on it meant that there was extra distance between the magnet and the car, and this most likely weakened the strength of attraction between the two, and hastened the demise of the ribbom. I also find that rather sad.

I like to think that, when the next book of the bible is finally released (and I know people complaing about JK Rowling, but this really is taking the mickey...) some version of this story can be included as a parable. "The parable of the car driving, troop supporting Christian, and thief that didn't exist". Something like that, anyway.

Pictures should follow in successive posts.


Ah diddums

Noted spammer and self-publicist Nagib Callaos gets an unreasonably sympathetic ear from the WaPo.

Next week: the orphaned children of the former dictator of Eastern Eritreya are interviewed about how much difficulty they are having shifting this $25 million from their father's bank account, and why no one in the west will take them seriously.

Guardian coverage of HHGTG also somewhat "middled" Posted by Hello

Chicken soup

I had some chicken soup this evening, which reminded me that I have long intended to write "Chicken Soup for the Vegetarian Soul". But, checking the internet, it seems like lots of people have thought of this already. So, instead, I decided to produce "Chicken Soup for Our Souls", and discovered that no one else seems to have thought of this except for a few people who haven't said it out loud to themselves often enough.


These are the news...

A new feature... the news according to Cory Doctorow

Hundreds of Catholic fans gather at ClaveCon

This week, hundreds of crazy fans of the catholic faith are gathering in Rome, France Italy [thanks, Mario!] to celebrate an event called "ClaveCon". The greatest fans, or "ordinals" take part in an ornate cosplay ritual by locking themselves up in a hall for days on end to vote on who is the best catholic of them all. The winner is called the "pipe", since they take the costume of each contender and burn it in a big pipe: if the smoke in the pipe is black, then he loses. Else if the smoke is grey then the owner of the costume is chosen as "pipe" and is awarded with a new set of robes with which to rule the catholic fantasy universe for the next ten years!

If I weren't battling the WIPO in geneva this week then I'd be there in a flash, but juding from the photos it seems like a bit of a male geekfest...

Update! John Paul III writes to say, "Apparently the game is a whole lot more complicated than Cory thought: there's an entire version of the Wikipedia devoted to this game where ardent fans have created a complicated backstory to explain the whole catholic universe. They've got up to about two thousand years ago so far, can't wait to read how the rest of it turns out. Link.


Boing-boing, meet stick. No, other end.

Boingboing breathlessly reports the latest stage of Nagib Callaos-baiting, and manages to completely get the wrong end of the stick. Again.

Let's be clear on this. WMSCI is not a conference. It is a scam. They spam academics, then accept almost any old crap, and charge fees for including the paper in the conference. Getting a randomly generated paper accepted there proves what a complete and utter scam it is, not that the random generator is so sophisticated that it can fool serious reviewers. Anyone looking at the paper can tell it's incoherent nonsense. That's the point.

For someone who claims that bloggers should be treated as journalists and accorded the same rights and respect, CD/BB shows a quite staggering disregard for such things as journalistic research and standrards...

What? Who needs satire when a prospective MP gets into trouble for photoshopping a photo because it wasn't racist enoughPosted by Hello

This is how mad Tokyo is: they have a theme park in the middle of the street. Posted by Hello



Many thanks to Alexybeetle for hosting me in Osaka/Kyoto (OK!). Weirdly though, no one seems to have heard of "get's", which I assumed was a massive cultural sensation. Maybe it hasn't reached the suburbs yet...

This is what happens if you keep waving a digital camera around in your hands while walking: lots of random action shots of the ground. In this case, this is somewhere between Senri-Chuo monorail and subway stops in Osaka.  Posted by Hello

In Japan, it is Cherry Blossom Time (until it rains). This is absolutely the most important thing going on anywhere in the country right now, and consequently the locals do nothing else except celebrate cherry blossom time. They celebrate by sitting under the trees and getting absolutely steaming drunk; this is the ancient tradition, which has a name that I can't remember. Posted by Hello

Traveller in Time and Space

I had my first exciting time travel experience today, by crossing the international date line for the first time. Well, technically the second time, since I went forwards in time last week, but today/yesterday I went across the good Phileas Fogg way, and went back in time 24 hours. Thinks: if Phileas Fogg had gone around the world in the opposite direction, would he have been completely screwed? And also, how come he didn't notice till London -- didn't he read the newspapers while he was in America and spot he was a day ahead. Or maybe the IDL used to be in the atlantic back then?

Much to report from my trip to the land of the rising sun (though still not entirely clear why it gets called that, since most places I've been the sun has risen). As I speak I have manga scattered on the floor, the new Halcali CD playing on my stereo, and photos downloading. However, it's also about 4.78am in my head, so don't expect too much tonight. Travelling from Osaka to Tokyo to Narita to Newark in one day was maybe not as good as an idea as it seemed at the time. Although, it should have never seemed like a good idea. Still, the lowlight of the whole trip was probably the one hour wait in line for immigration back into the US, just for the old left finger, right finger, smile for the camera routine. While I was waiting, I noticed that the room off to the side where you really don't want them to escort you (it was populated by various depressed looking travellers clasping insufficient travel documents) is called officially "INS Pass -- F.U. 170". I wonder if this is deliberate. I would have taken a photograph, but to be honest you really don't want to do anything that has any chance of pissing them off, and getting snap happy on the secure side of an airport that has a direct flight to gitmo is probably not a good idea.

Now let me see if I can summon up the energy to post some pictures.


Squeaky Deaky

Am off to Tokyo for a week. In the meantime, something to remember me by:
Squeaky-deaky, a song designed to appeal to dogs...


Lirp Aloof

I say chums, here's a jolly jape. Over the course of the next twenty four hours, I'm going to post a succession of blog entries. Each one of these will be correct in every detail --- except one, which will be completely made up for April Fool's Day. It's your job to pick out the lie from the barrage of truth. So, gird you loins and get set for this hilarious inslaught of tomfoolery and wackiness!