Sunday, December 29, 2013

Santas Little Redhead

A special double Christmas edition of the monthly book cover, Book One and Two of The Santa Claus Chronicles by Robert Devereaux.  Santa Steps Out and Santa Claus Conquers The Homophobes.

On the cover of Santa Steps Out, Santa is "stepping out" with a fiery redheaded woman in the embers of her fireplace. It is a well documented fact that Santa (much like Satan) is quite fire resistant. The same can not be said for the smouldering redhead who is already showing signs of burning and may well burst into flames at any moment.

The cover of Santa Claus Conquers The Homophobes depicts yet another naked redheaded woman who has the power of financial defecation.  Not necessarily the greatest power to possess, but probably not the worst, especially in difficult economic times.  Red relieves herself on the belly of a pregnant woman as Santa watches proudly. This may be the same redheaded woman he "stepped out with" in the previous book and imbibed her with his magical spirit of charity and giving. Which would go a long way towards explaining why she can poo gold coins.  Hopefully they are gold coins and not those foil wrapped chocolate ones popular at Christmas time, especially considering their place of manufacture.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa Slay

Santa kicks arse!

Santa Claws is Coming to Town by Alice Cooper with scenes form the movie Santa Slay.  If you feel the need to know more about Santa and his gang of evil helpers you can read a previous years blog post on the subject here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sogland Evidence

Take it to the crime-lab, I suspect The Captain left his DNA all over everything.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Card Etiquette

Oddly Christmas cards originated long before they could be printed and, even more oddly, before the tradition of Christmas. In pre-Christian Europe it was common to send good luck gifts for new years.  In Rome at the time, theses gifts were often accompanied with written cards. The cards were often sent on December 25th to ensure they arrived by January 1st.  When Christianity took over in Rome the tradition continued, though these cards still did not make mention of Christmas. The card tradition eventually migrated through Europe and to England, where these home made cards combined well wishes for both Christmas and the New Year and were delivered before Christmas Day.

Later in the fourteenth century with the advent of wood-block printing, small scale mass production of New Year's cards appeared in Germany. By the fifteenth century, religious Germans were creating New Year gifts called 'Andachtsbilder'. These cards still focused on the new year but were often decorated with a picture of the baby Jesus.  The lithograph was invented at the end of the 1700s and further promoted the printing of Christmas themed holiday greeting cards across Europe, but the final leap of the Christmas card was tied to the scocial etiquette of the early 1800s.
During the 1800's the practice of visiting one’s friends and relatives was a middle and upper class social convention with it's own etiquette revolving around the calling card.  Every well to do gentleman kept a ready supply of calling cards with him to distribute upon his visits.  A married man had a medium sized card, while an unmarried man had a smaller card. Men’s cards were always smaller than women’s.
On a first visit to a household a servant was often sent to deliver a calling card as it was not expected to be invited in.  A gentleman would give one card to each lady of the house.  If the lady of the house was not home, but her daughter was, the gentleman sent in his card and departed as a young lady did not receive calls from a gentleman unless they were very intimate friends.
When calling upon a friend, a gentleman gave his card to the servant answering the door. The servant would be holding a silver tray and the card would be placed upon it. If the person the gentleman was calling upon was home, the servant would take the card to them and they would come meet the gentleman. If the person being called upon was not home, the servant would leave the card for when they returned.
If a card was left with a folded top right corner it indicated that the card had been left in person rather than by a servant, and often other corners were folded down to signify the nature of the visit. For a congratulatory visit, the left hand upper corner was turned down, the left hand lower corner for a condolence visit, the right hand lower corner if you were visiting before a long trip. Alternatively a gentleman would inscribe initials upon the card, which stood for French words, to denote the reason for his visit.
Congratulations: p. f. (pour féliciter)
Expressing thanks: p. r. (pour remercier)
Condolences: p. c. (pour condoléance)
Happy New Year: p. f. N. A. (pour feliciter Nouvel An)
Taking leave: p. p. c. (pour prendre congé)
Introducing ones self: p. p. (pour présenter)
Visiting cards became an indispensable social tool, with rules governing their use, much more elaborate and sophisticated than clicking like on facebook. During Christmas and New Year it was common for the person you were calling on to be out visiting also so it became a seasonal exchange of cards.
The growing use of decorated printed stationary and the gradual development of New Year specific calling cards prompted Sir Henry Cole and his  friend Calcott Horsley to create the first official "Christmas" Christmas card for the masses in 1843 to take advantage of the new Public Post Office.  Selling for 1 shilling, the card had three panels. The outer two panels showed people caring for the poor and in the centre panel was a family having a large Christmas dinner in which a child was being given a glass of wine. 

As printing methods improved, Christmas cards became more decorative and more popular and were produced in large numbers from about 1860.  In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, still one of the biggest card makers today. In the 1920s a trend back towards home made cards became popular, often made with foil and ribbon on them. Today, cards have all sorts of pictures on them: nativity scenes, Christmas trees, rude reindeer, naked Santa Claus etc. With the advent of cheaper photo-printing a disturbing trend in custom cards has arisen in the form of individuals and families taking Christmas themed photographs of themselves (or their pets) and producing them on mass as cards.

These days, Christmas cards make up approximately 45% of all greeting cards sent and, despite historically being a gentleman's social tool, only around 15% of those Christmas cards are purchased by men.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Dalek Christmas Song

Christmas season already.
More Daleks.

I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With a Dalek by The Go Go's.

The Go-Go's were a semi-professional group from Newcastle and released I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas With a Dalek in 1964 at the height of the original Dalek-mania (not unlike Beatle-mania but without the haircuts). The vocals were by lead singer Sue Smith with one of the male members of the group providing a dodgy, nasal Dalek voice.


I bring you gree-tings from all Da-leks (Dalek voice)
I'm gonna spend my Christmas with a Dalek,
And hug him under the mistletoe
And if he's very nice
I'll feed him sugar spice
And hang Christmas stocking from his big lead toe
And when we both get up on Christmas morning
I'll kiss him on his chromium-plated head
And take him in to say hi to Mum
And frighten daddy out of his bed!

Merry Christmas
Mer-ry Christ-mas (Dalek voice)
Happy Christmas
Hap-py Christ-mas (Dalek voice)
Merry Christmas
Mer-ry Christ-mas (Dalek voice)
To you

I wish to be your friend (Dalek voice)
Please may I have some more plum pud-ding and cus-tard? (Dalek voice)
I'm gonna spend my Christmas with a Dalek,
And if I make him happy he will stay
He'll go (whoop) and (whirr) and twiddle his eye
And then my little Dalek will say

Merry Christmas
Christ-mas Tree (Dalek voice)
Happy Christmas
Mist-le-toe (Dalek voice)
Merry Christmas
Mer-ry Christ-mas (Dalek voice)
To you

Merry Christmas
I love you (Dalek voice)
Happy Christmas
You love me (Dalek voice)
Merry Christmas
Mer-ry Christ-mas (Dalek voice)
To you

Merry Christmas
More-plum-pudding (Dalek voice)
Happy Christmas
More-cus-tard... (Dalek voice)
(fade out)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Red Right Hand

The Red Right Hand a mystery by Joel Twensley Rogers and not Nick Cave.

One of Nick Caves signature songs Red Right Hand, was written in 1994 depicting a mysterious character appearing on the edge of town. In the song Song of Joy from his Murder Ballads album Cave reveals the phrase is from a line in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost that refers to the vengeful hand of God. Nick Sings:

"It seems he has done many, many more,
  quotes John Milton on the walls in the victim's blood.

  The police are investigating at tremendous cost.
  In my house he wrote 'his red right hand'.
  That, I'm told, is from Paradise Lost."

The appearance in Paradise Lost (Book II, 170-174) is:

"What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
  Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
  And plunge us in the flames; or from above
  Should intermitted vengeance arm again
  His red right hand to plague us?"

The original term itself appears to be Milton's translation of the term "rubente dextra" in Horace's Ode i.2,2
So it would appear that the mystery contained in this book is a story of bloody vengeance, and not excessive masturbation after all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sondra Prills Jam

Sondra Prill  was a former "singer" from Tampa, Florida who starred in her own public-access television show in 1987, simply entitled My Show, singing hits of the time.  Despite feedback from critics and the general public about her off-tone singing, her television show ran until 1992.
On October 16, 1992 she performed at the Tampa Bay Performing Art Centre starring in her own event called, Sultry Sondra: A Musical Fantasy. A total of 41 paying attendees came to see her, however the official head count put the number of people in attendance closer to 70, with the vice president of marketing for the centre concluding, "She might have comped some folks."  At the finale of the show, Prill had honey poured all over her, in what seemed to be a literal interpretation of the lyrics to the song, "Oh, You Sexpot Honey."  Prill planned to do the finale nude, but the performing arts centre made her wear a body stocking.  After the performance a backup singer walked out from backstage to say good night and to apologise to the audience. 
With the advent of the internet and sties such as YouTube, Prill has gained some popularity as an Internet Meme. Despite this more recent popularity, her current whereabouts are unconfirmed as of 2007, she may be hiding-out.
Here's Sondras rendition of Technotronic's Pump Up The Jam (her "Sand In My Crack" Mix)
The honey-pouring performance was videotaped for her program but the tape went missing, and never aired.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bad Hobbits

Everyone has their secrets.  Even Gandalf has a few filthy hobbits.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Building Daleks

We're building daleks!
Researcher Kevin Warwick, a former cyborg, from the University of Reading, has been working on creating organic neural networks that can control machines.  He and his team have taken cultured brain cells from rats and used them as the guidance control circuit for simple wheeled robots.

Electrical impulses from the robot (or travel machine) part of the rat-dalek enter the cluster of neurons, and responses from the brain cells are turned into commands for the device.  The intelligence of these daleks are very basic, the brain cluster control primarily helps the robot to avoid walls.  Where it gets really interesting is that the cells can form new connections and this obstacle avoidance often shows clear improvement over time, demonstrating true learning ability on the part of the dalek.

Current cultures of neurons have about 100,000 cells, but only a small fraction are actually involved in controlling the robot circuits at any given time. Research teams continually find new ways to increase the size and response of these cultures, as well as how long they can survive. Eventually, we’ll have a dalek brain that will be able to accomplish much, much more.  Perhaps we are just a shrill voice synthesis and a death ray away from a true tantrum throwing salt and pepper shaker seeing our extermination.
"Primitive but undeniably a dalek" - Tom Baker as Dr Who, Genesis of the Daleks.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blank Maps

How to market black pieces of paper to geographers.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ryunosuke Band 2008

From a 2008 Korean TV show, a Japanese kids punk band called Ryunosuke Band.

These kids are better performers than most adult pub bands I've seen.  It's not just a bunch of kids in a kiddy band, it's a group of professional, mini punk rock stars.

Ryunosuke Band ages at the time of the performance (2008):
Ryunosuke Yamagishi (vocal & guitar, age 9)
Ren Tanaka (drums, age 9)
Keito Hori (base, age 12)

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Batman will confiscate your strippers and there's nothing you can do about it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Unhorsing the Carriage

Everyone sees cars as the bad guys when it comes to air and noise pollution but society has forgotten that back in the early 1900's cars were considered the logical greener alternative to the horse and carriage. Back then the horse was to blame for the same problems we give cars: harmful air pollution, noxious odours and noise.
Back in the old days cities employed street-sweepers, no their job wasn't to pick up bits of paper (well they did also do that), their real job was to get rid of all the horse poo.  European cities had shown concern for the problem as early as the fourteenth century.  Across the world by 1900 almost all cities over thirty thousand in population employed street-cleaners.
Sanitary experts in the early part of the twentieth century agreed that the normal city horse produced between fifteen and thirty pounds of manure a day, with the average being something like twenty-two pounds, not to mention the barrels of urine.  A city like Sydney in 1901 had a population of 488,000 people, its horse population was around 15,000 horses.  If a year of manure form these horses was stacked in a pile all at once, it would make a mountain with a base of one acre and a summit over 170 feet high.  A mountain of poo breeding about sixteen billion flies, each one a potential spreader of disease.  
Cities made their most sustained efforts to clean the streets under the fear induced by epidemics of cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, or typhoid. Many medical authorities believed that such diseases were caused by “a combination of certain atmospheric conditions and putrefying filth”, among which horse manure was a chief offender.
Urban sanitation departments of the time were notoriously inefficient, they were staffed by “old and indigent men”, “prisoners who don’t like to work,” and “persons on relief.”  So it's not surprising to discover that newspapers and governmental reports abound with complaints about problems created  by horse manure left in the streets. Unattended piles of manure bred huge numbers of flies and created “pestilential vapours”.  Piles were sometimes carried from wealthy residential neighbourhoods and dumped in poor neighbourhoods, where it remained.  During the rain streets turned into sewers.  In London, ladies and gentlemen were aided in their navigation through the sea of horse droppings by “crossing-sweepers”. Dry weather was no great improvement, for then there were complaints of the “pulverised horse dung” that blew into people’s faces and the windows of their homes, and over the outdoor displays of merchants’ wares. The coming of paved streets accelerated  this problem, as wheels and hoofs ground the sun-dried manure against the hard surfaces and amplified the amount of dust.
Public health officials in various cities charged that windblown dust from ground-up manure damaged eyes and irritated respiratory organs.  Also blamed on the horse were such familiar plagues as cholera and typhoid fever and intestinal diseases like dysentery and infant diarrhoea, transmitted by the housefly whose favourite breeding place was the manure heap. In the late 1890’s insurance companies discovered that stable employees and those living near stables had a higher rate of infectious diseases, such as typhoid  fever, than the general public.  Additionally, city horses were notoriously overworked. The average street nag had a life expectancy of barely two years and it was common for dead horse corpses to be discarded in the streets adding to the threat of disease.
And then there was the noise, that clip-clop may seem quaint when you hear it go past your house once in a blue moon but at the beginning of the 20th century it was a deafening clatter.  Early paving consisted largely of cobblestones, on which the clopping and clanking of horses’ iron shoes and the iron-tired wheels of carts and wagons created an immense din.  In the 1890’s a writer in Scientific American noted that the sounds of traffic on busy New York streets made conversation nearly impossible, while the author William Dean Howells complained that “the sharp clatter of the horses’ iron shoes” on the pavement tormented his ear.  Heath officials believed, then as now, that the “noise and clatter” of city traffic aggravated nervous diseases.
With the gradual commercialisation of the horseless carriage articles began to appear in newspapers and journals weighing the merits of the automotive against the horse. Articles compared the cost of keeping horses against the cost of a horseless carriage that was immune to fatigue and to weather. Other articles pointed out the advantages the motor truck had over the horse in hauling freight in speed, "doing an average of two and a half times as much work in the same time as the horse and with one-quarter the amount of street congestion".
So next time you complain about how car fumes are affecting you health and the noise is hurting your ears, just remember the alternative is an even noisier, slow moving, expensive beast of burden that stinks and craps disease in the streets.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Chirping Bugs

The Songs of Insects...

Just what you want on a quiet night, a recording of one of the most annoying sounds in nature.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Camel Toe

For this months book cover I present Man and Camel, a collection of poems by Mark Strand.

Keeping the crack of your camel toe sand free will lead to happier humps.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Here Fluffy

Not everyone has heard the song Fluffy by Gloria Balsam, but those who have can never forget it.

Gloria originally performed with her group Psychotic Pineapple mostly performing locally until one day in 1978, Gloria and Psychotic Pineapple were performing at the Berkeley Campus of the University of California, opening for Talking Heads. As she sang, her shrill reverberated around the valley entrancing one Jeff Finder, sitting on the hill side.  Jeff was heir to a Californian newspaper and his hypnotic entrancement extended to putting up the finance required for Glorias single.
One thousand copies of Fluffy were pressed in the spring 1980 on the Richmond label, many copies finding their way to alternative radio stations. The single gained airplay in Boston and New York and a few copies even made it to the UK and Australia. Gloria’s pinnacle came when Fluffy was featured on Rhino’s World’s Worst Records.  Shortly afterwards Gloria opened at the Mabuhay for Devo, the Jim Carrol Band, Dead Kennedys, the Cramps, the Offs and many others.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Day the Clown Cried

The Day the Clown Cried is possibly the best film combining human tragedy and comedy you'll never get to see.
Filmed in 1972, The Day the Clown Cried was directed by and starred Jerry Lewis as a German circus clown named Helmut Doork who is sent to a Nazi prison and then a concentration camp, where he performers for wide-eyed Jewish children leading them to the gas chambers.  Still unreleased, the one existing copy lays locked in a secret vault by Lewis and safeguarded by legal bindings, the mystery surrounding the film has deepened and grown more tantalising with each passing decade.

During production, the producer not only ran out of money before completing the film, but his rights to produce the film expired before filming began.  He had paid the writer an initial fee (of $5,000), but failed to send her the remaining settlement (of $50,000) prior to production.  Lewis eventually ended up paying production costs with his own money to finish shooting the film, but the parties involved in its production were never able to come to terms allowing the film to be released.  Additionally the writers of the original script were unhappy with changes made by Lewis, which made the clown more sympathetic than the original  arrogant, self-centred character.  The film has been tied up in litigation ever since, and all of the parties involved have never been able to reach an agreeable settlement suspending the film in the abyss of international litigation.
 As research for the film, Lewis visited  the remains of Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps and even managed an interview with one of the men who actually pulled the lever on the gas chamber. In the early 1970's The Day The Clown Cried met criticism because of its premise and content, however, the film does not actually make light of tragic events. With contemporary films such as Life Is Beautiful in 1997, the remake of Jakob the Liar in 1999, and Adam Resurrected in 2009, It becomes clear Lewis was genuinely decades ahead of his time. Jerry openly dislikes being asked about the film although, in a rare interview in last month on 19 Augusts 2013, Lewis did speak about the film. The interview can be found at Entertainment Weekly website.
Every decade or so rumours of a remake surface, often with high profile writers and producers entering into talks with both Robin Williams (no surprise there) and William Hurt (slight surprise there) being proposed lead actors at one stage or another.  Though so far the idea has always been dropped before it officially gets the green light for pre-production.  A copy of the script can be found at The Daily Script.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jolly Statue

That's a suspicious looking statue...

Reminds me of this:

Or maybe this:

Jolly well.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Puppet Intimacy

Amen by Beverly Massegee with Eric.

Human puppet intimate relationships are more common than most people think.  But I don't think you should go singing songs about it.

Friday, August 30, 2013