Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Samhain

Samhain is pronounced Sah-ween if you're wondering how it transmuted into Halloween. These days Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday in the world (the first is Christmas), even outselling Easter.

The witch is a central symbol of Halloween. The word comes from the Saxon wicca, meaning wise one. Some witches rode on horseback, but less financially wise witches went on foot and carried a broom or a pole to aid in vaulting over streams. When setting out for a Sabbath, witches rubbed a sacred flying ointment, that contained toad poison, onto their skin. This created feeling of flying, if they had been fasting the hallucination was even stronger. In England when new witches were initiated they were often blindfolded, smeared with flying ointment and placed on a broomstick. The ointment would confuse the mind, speed up the pulse and numb the feet. When they were told "You are flying over land and sea," the witch took their word for it.  Apparently if you want to meet a witch, put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night.  Try it at home then make accusations of your wife and threaten to put kindling under the bed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Inspecting Wood

Wood is what allows trees to stand up firm and grow large, so if it's not standing erect it's not true wood.  Good wood can have some spring to it but is never flaccid.  A particular type of imperfection in a piece of wood is a knot. knots in your wood will affect its durability and performance, but can be exploited for visual effect with expert polishing.  Professions that work with wood are: carpenter, swamper, lumberjack, sculptor, and call-girl.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Abba Kung Fu

Abba was way ahead of their time, if you listen closely to their song Take a Chance on Me you will realise that it's about Jackie Chan. The lyrics go:

"If you chance your mind (Jackie Chan)
  I'm the first in line (Jackie Chan)"

Quite surprising considering at the time of the songs 1976 release, Jacky was still only being cast in supporting roles after much uncredited stunt work. On further listening it turns out Abba had a strong kung fu theme in several of their songs like in their song Dancing Queen:

"See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen"

And also, if you listen carefully to their song Chiquitita they sing:

"Kick her teeth out, tell me what's wrong"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scheming Seabiscuit

The truth behind the legend is that Seabiscuit was a bit like Lassy or Skippy but with evil supervillan tendencies.  What is Superboy doing talking to a horse anyway?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Phoenix Five

I've recently been made aware of an extremely low budget Australian Sci-Fi Series called Phoenix Five made in the 1960's.  And from what I can ascertain it's as absolutely as awesome as that sound.  I can't believe no one ever told me about this before, and it turns out it was the third in a trilogy of related TV sci-fi serials.

Phoenix Five has been accused of ‘cheaply going where Star Trek had boldly gone before’, but that acutely does it an injustice.  To understand Phoenix Five you have to first understand the preceding two serials of it's trilogy, The Interpretaris and Vega 4.

The Interpretaris aired in October 1966 and was in production before Star Trek went to air that September.  Filmed in black and white, the Interpretaris was set over 500 years in the future, with the Earth at the centre of a peaceful federation of planets. The title refers to the spacecraft, ‘The Interpretaris’ the flagship of the World Council fleet. The story centres around the crew returning alien specimens to their home worlds while outwitting an evil scientist.

It's interesting to note that The Interpretaris featured a Russian crew member from its start, significantly before the Star Trek series introduced Chekov.  It also featured a cumbersome computeroid (robot) called Henry.  The Interpretaris was not what your would call a sophisticated production but it was decided to make a sequel the following year called Vega 4.

Vega 4 was filmed in colour and featured all new evil scientist antagonist, set on an all new spaceship, the Vega 4, which looked exactly like the Interpertaris, and had an upgraded and improved computeroid called Henry which looked exactly like the Henry on the the Interpretaris.

The third series in the trilogy was Phoenix Five. The same basic formula was applied: the title referred to the spacecraft (which also resembled the earlier model), with a crew of two male, one female and a computeroid (this time called Karl).  The major difference was in the structure. Phoenix Five was not a serial, but consisted of self-contained episodes.

Here's the titles and groovy sound track. Enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Irish Twins

From The Urban Dictionary
Irish Twins

Siblings born within 12 months of each other.

"They were like rabbits. Now their Irish twins are six and seven."

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Space Excapade

Les Baxter and his sidekick toast suspicious beverages with suspicious coloured babeliens, while in the background a nice silhouette shows Baxters rocket primed and ready to blastoff.

Judging by his expression, it would appear to be Baxters sidekicks first close encounter with a clutch of multicoloured babliens but seems to be happy to dive right in.  Baxter himself appears to be well versed in alien affairs and appears to already have a bulge in his space suit to the amazement of the yellow babelien.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Insidious Purple Carrots

Found some purple carrots while getting groceries the other day.  They have a much more insidious appearance than the common orange variety, resembling some sort of evil zombie carrot. I decided to give them a try and they taste like... well, like carrots.

Thought I'd find out a bit more about these diabolical purple carrots to find that they aren’t a new strain or a hybrid but are actually the most ancient variety. The purple carrots predate the orange variety by many thousands of years.   Turns out these undead purple carrots are even higher in vitamins, beta-carotenes and antioxidants.  You can find out more on the history of carrots at the World Carrot Museum website. (Yes there's actually a carrot museum).

If you eat too many carrots (or other foods with lots of carotene) your skin can go yellow or orange. With that knowledge it was my hope that an excess of the evil purple carrots would lead to an inhumanly wicked skin shade. Disappointingly overdosing on carotene from purple carrots will still turn you orange not purple.

Is the next step to make an evil purple carrot cake?