Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marcel Marceao

This LP cover is like salt in the wound as just recently the publishing company’s have decided to turned down my book entitled “Great Mime Quotes of the 20th Century”.

A mime is a terrible thing to waste.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Photographic Illusions

While looking for images to appropriate for the post on Tetris a few days ago, I stumbled onto the website of a photographic artist from Sweden called Erik Johansson.  In addition to the Tetris picture, I quite like some of his other stuff, especially the optical illusion pictures, so I thought I'd post a sample and link.

Erik is neither a Viking nor half a bee.  You can view more of Erik Johansson's portfolio at his website alltelleringet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Tetris is the largest selling game in history, although it's profits are still exceeded by Pac-man.  It can be found on more than 60 platforms, including mobile phones, ATM machines, and handheld electronic organisers.

When someone plays Tetris for a significant amount of time it can incur upon their other thoughts, mental images and dreams and they can develop Tetris Syndrome.  People who play Tetris for a prolonged amount of time may then find themselves thinking about ways different shapes in the real world can fit together, such as buildings on a street or boxes on a shelf.  I recall having Tetris Syndrome in the late 80's.  I remember picturing what shape brick would best fit between various parked cars and between the edge of the TV screen and the News readers head!

A similar effect occurs with other computer games and can occur with any prolonged visual task (such as sorting fruit, driving long distances, etc).  It also manifests in the other senses, like that tune you can't get out of your head or sailors still walking with "sea legs" on land.  In more extreme cases people also see images of falling Tetris shapes at the edges of their visual fields or when they close their eyes, they may also have dreams involving falling Tetris shapes. 

Despite Tetris Syndrome the impact of the game on the human brain isn't all bad.  A 2009 Oxford study suggests Tetris-like video games may help with Post Traumatic Stress.  If the game is played soon after a traumatic event, the preoccupation with Tetris shapes is enough to prevent the mental recitation of traumatic images.  It specifically interferes with the way sensory memories are laid down in the period after trauma and reduces the intensity, accuracy, frequency and overall number of flashbacks that are experienced afterwards.  So keep a Gameboy in the first aid kit to treat traumatic shock.

Developed in the Soviet Union in 1985 by Alexey Pajitnov at the Computer Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  Based on an ancient Roman puzzle Pentamino, the game  was called  Genetic Engineering and shaped pieces made of text characters were moved about the screen with cursor keys into spaces.  Alexey came to insist the pieces should fall from above into a well and began calling the game Tetris.  As the developed the game, Alexy and his team had trouble finishing the code as the testing process was so addictive.

At the time in the Soviet Union individuals were prohibited from engaging in private business.  Additionally, the Russian Academy of Sciences technically owned the game, since the code was written on the Academys computers.  Alexey showed Tetris game to Vladimir Pokhilko a clinical psychologist who was experimenting with the use of puzzles for psychological tests.  Vladimir instantly saw the mass appeal of the puzzle.  Alexey and Vladimir began leaking the game outside the country in an effort to bypass Soviet politics.  Tetris became the full focus of Alexey's time, and the game evolved into the full graphical version complete with sound and music based on Russian folk songs.

When the CEO of British software company Andromeda saw the game in Budapest he behaved like a 17 year old software pirate and started selling copies to companies (like Microsoft) around the world without any legal rights to the game.  When Andromedas activities were discovered by the Russian programmers they hesitated at revelling their project to their Government.  Before they decided what to do, Andromeda wired contracts for the rights to Tetris directly to the Russian Academy of Science itself, then the CEO flew to Moscow to sign the deal.  The Academy had no idea who he was or what he was talking about.  Meanwhile Tetris, already released by Spectrum and Microsoft, was causing a sensation.

In 1986 the government created a new department, Elektronorgtechnica (ELROG), The Russian Ministry for the import and export of software and took over all rights to the game.  Alexey and Vladimir considered selling the game to software companies directly, but were sure they would end up in a Soviet prison.  Over 10 years, ELROG brokered deals with Nintendo and Atari and Alexey saw none of the $40 million in royalties.  ELROG ruled that Andromeda had been selling rights to a product they never owned, however by this stage Mirrorsoft and Spectrum had already sub-licensed their rights to the game, causing their licensees to engage in legal battles around the world.  Nintendo, Tengen, Bullet-Proof Software, Blue Planet Software and Sony were in all shapes of interlocking litigation with each other, leaving the original programmers effectively blocked out.

In 1996, the ELORG restrictions in the Soviet Union expired, and Tetris rights reverted to Alexey. Together Alexey and Vladimir launched AnimaTek International.  Under the name The Tetris Company, AnimaTek claimed to hold copyright and took out trademark registrations for Tetris in almost every country in the world.  In 1998 the company began experiencing difficulties brought on by economic upheaval in Russia.  Alexey believed he would be the fall guy if he could not find capital somewhere and went on tour to see what he could drop into place.

Thinking he was unsuccessful Vladimir Pokhilko snapped.  One Monday evening at his home, he apparently took a hammer and bludgeoned his wife in the back of the head a dozen times and stabbed her in the back repeatedly with a hunting knife killing her.  He then went into his 12 year old son’s bedroom and stabbed him some 30 times while he slept.  Finally, he slit his own throat and died on the floor face-down in his son's bedroom.  He left a less than coherent suicide note which read:
The police investigation was brief, after discovering the note all the pieces fell into place.

In a cruel twist of fate, representatives from the Japanese computer giant Squaresoft, unaware of the deaths, showed up Wednesday in AnimaTek's offices. They were ready to wire $200,000 to AnimaTek's accounts for the next day.  Since then The Tetris Company has sent cease and desist letters to web sites that misused the Tetris trademark as well as to Google insisting that 35 Tetris-clones be removed from the Android Market.

But if you want to get more involved in the game, you can try First Person Tetris and experience the game from the tetrominos perspective.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jozin z Bazin

I couldn’t not post it.  Here’s Jozin z bazin (Joseph from the bog).

The internet has given the group to newfound fame (just over 20 years later) and they even sometimes do tours around Europe performing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Black Bun

Went out and had yum cha today (yum!) then stopped by the Chinese bakery and picked up among other things a Charcoal Bamboo Bun.  I’ve been wondering what they were like since I saw them.  Unfortunately I can’t eat it myself due to a food allergy, so I acted like a gastronomic voyeur while my wife tried it.  Here's the black bun on a black plate on a black table. 

It’s sort of a mild garlic bread.  It’s The Garlic Bread of DarknessOr maybe it's The Bread of Garlic Shadows.  Or The Yin Bun of Garlicness.  Either way I wish they made a gluten free one I could eat.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sexy Saucer People

I’ve decided to do a book cover review.  Not a book review, a book cover review.  “Those Sexy Saucer People” is a Greenleaf Classic book by Jan Hudson, which I’ve discovered is an alias.  The authors name is actually, George H Smith.  Apparently he wasn’t all that proud of what he’d written in this novel.

The brunette on the right looks like she is drugged, possibly by the red (sexy?) alien who has a syringe in one hand.  The Blond in the foreground appears to have a severe hangover and “morning after" regret.  The (sexy?) red alien in the centre appears to be contemplating his urine therapy treatment.  Possibly because it was donated by the blond, which could also explain the morning after regret.  The (sexy?) alien in the background has a square behind that has a similar shape to a small television.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have this good idea for a new social networking site.  It’s called Arsebook.  It’s like Facebook but arse.  I have no doubt it will very popular.

Why do the Cybermens pants resemble stockings and underwear...?

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Medical Uses of Urine

OK so this is part two of the post a couple of weeks ago regarding The Domestic Uses of Urine.  There's also a wee bit of an update to that here.

Urine has been used as a healing substance, both externally and internally in all parts of the world through history. Urine contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and amino acids, steroids, thousands of compounds in all.

One of the prescriptions the Damar Tantra, an ancient Sanskrit text is massaging one's skin with fresh, concentrated urine.  The Sahih Bukhari Islamic text, quotes the Prophet Muhammad advocating drinking camel's urine as a medicine in several verses.

In Roman times, there was a tradition among the Gauls to use urine to whiten teeth, both as a rinse and a tonic.  In 17th century France, wrapped urine soaked stockings around their necks to cure strep throat.  Aristocratic French women reportedly bathed in urine to beautify their skin. The details as to who's urine this was is open to speculation, aristocratic French women reportedly did a lot of things.

In the early 1800s, a book titled One Thousand Notable Things describes the use of urine to cure scurvy, relieve skin itching, cleanse wounds, and many other treatments. An 18th century French dentist praised urine as a valuable mouthwash and tooth whitener. In England during the 1860-70s, the drinking of one's own urine was a common cure for jaundice. Alaskan Eskimos used urine as an antiseptic to treat wounds.

Peeing on a hand towel and applying the urine directly to the face has been known to reduce acne. Some sports professionals and even dancers have used urine to treat athletes foot, simply by urinating on the feet will cause the athletes foot to reduce or even cure completely.  Madonna has admitted to using this method, apparently it worked like a prayer.  Dolores O'Riordan from The Cranberries admitted on a music TV show that when she was first learning to play guitar she had a serious problem with calluses on her fingers which she treated with this method under instruction from her band mates.  This may have been the influence in deciding the title of their 1993 album "Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?".

Urokinase, an enzyme extracted from human urine, is being used to treat victims of heart attacks.  But where is all this medical pee coming from?  Well it is being collected by pharmaceutical companies in association with porta-loo companies. That's right, the ingredients for the pill millions pop on their tongue is collected from those reeking portable toilets that we all hate to use.  When you take a wiz at your favourite outdoor concert you may be making a donation. The Porta-loo features a filtering system that collects the pee proteins for later manufacture into urokinase.

Horse urine from pregnant mare's has high amounts of estrogens, which is isolated and sold as Premarin hormone therapy for women.  Ingestion of urea has been found to increase the antibacterial activity in urine itself against urinary tract infection.  Other compounds in urine used in medication are gastric depressants for ulcers and allantoin in ointments to promote wound healing.

The tonic of first morning urine is prized widely by pee-drinking advocates many of which believe that because the resting body uses less vital nutrients than during the daytime, it releases the unused excess into the morning urine.  Kind of like a do it yourself vitamin supplement with your breakfast toast.

The hormone melatonin is present in morning urine in significant quantities but much less during the day due to its secretion being shut off by the eyes exposure to bright sunlight.  Melatonin, when ingested, provokes tranquillity and heightened visualisation, working as a mild analgesic.  Why bother with finding an opium dealer when you could be drinking pee.

Despite the positive fizz of urine therapy, urine's ability to concentrate substances is not always a beneficial one. A diet high in salt leads to urine high in salt. And slurping down extra salty piss will give you diarrhoea.  In a similar but more deadly vein other toxins can become harmfully concentrated in the urine and pee recyclers with toxins creeping into their diet will soon find them selves on a much faster downward health spiral.

Know your supplier! You may be guzzling down a great deal more than you bargained for.  If the pee you choose to drink is your own, wash down below thoroughly and then collect the urine mid-stream.  If the urine belongs to another person, consider that there are certain viruses and bacteria that can be carried in and transmitted through the urine (such as Hep-B).  Drugs and hormone pills (birth control) leave traces in the urine, so feel free to accuse anyone with man boobs of being a pee drinker.  Taking a drug test after drinking the urine of someone taking performance enhancing drugs could cost you your victory.  Then again if you fail your next sports competition drug test you could try blaming your wee lifestyle choice.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Count On Dracula

Must be time for a new LP cover.  This one is Count on Dracula by Birth Control. 

I like how it has elements of Sesame Street overstated undertones (or it could be understated overtones I’m not sure which).

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sushi Lightsaber

Several months ago my wife purchased a sushi maker, it roles the rice and filling of the sushi so all you have to add is the seaweed exterior.  The device absolutely looks like a kitchen lightsaber. 
As you can see in the picture, it could be either Obi-wan Kenobis lightsaber from The Phantom Menace or Obi-wans from the original A New Hope.  It depends on which way round you hold it, but it's definitely of a Kenobi design.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Wee Oversight

I made a wee oversight in my post the other week on the domestic uses of urine. Plastic manufacture! Mixing urea and formaldehyde creates urea-formaldehyde (sometimes know as urea-methanal) which is a non-transparent thermosetting plastic resin.  It was commonly used from the 1950s to the 1980s to make plastic casing of electrical equipment.  Heaps and heaps of things in your grandparents house was made from urine, desk lamps, light fittings, radios it was everywhere.  Urea-formaldehyde is still sometimes used as a bonding agent in marine plywood.