May 30, 2007
Sliced Bread insofar asmuch pre-packaged, pre-sliced, pre-cut bread, has only existed in this form since 1928. The question therefore is what was the greatest thing in 1927, since many other things claim to be the best thing since sliced bread.
I think that the key to this lies with a fellow called Yankee Doodle. The chap was obviously certifiable since no-one in their right mind would call a feather placed precariously in one's headware Macaroni which is of course machine made dry pasta. Though it was Thomas Jefferson who is credited with introducing the first macaroni machine in the United States, in 1789, when he returned home after serving as ambassador to France.
Macaroni is in fact spaghetti that has been moulded into a different shape by Marconi. For moulding the spaghetti into a macaroni shape, the Morse alphabet was developed.
In this alphabet, there are essentially only two shapes, a dot-shape and a hyphen-shape.
These are referred to as:
Penne Linguini: Dash
The first tests of this system were made by Giguilemi Macaroni atop Signal Hill in the Dominion of Newfoundland and served with the finest of old cheddar.
As macaroni in dots is too small to be edible, simplified morse alphabets only know the hyphen and have got rid of the dots. Where the traditional marconists kept alternating dee's and dah's whilst moulding the spaghetti in more subtle shapes, modern ones sound far more monotonous.
This may be why the original Macaroni system of radio telegraphy has been supplanted by TV Dinners.
Since the TV Dinner is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and Macaroni is the greatest thing before sliced bread, the only remaining question is what's so great about sliced bread in the first place?
I'm afraid I don't know that.
Posted by Rollo at 16:10
May 29, 2007
Stupidity can not be killed with these things:
Air freshener, fire, anti-matter, axes, black holes, butter knives, chain mail, chainsaws, the Death Star, diarrhea, fire, flying monkeys with wings, guns, lances, lasers, light sabers, martial arts, mouse traps, nukes, bigger nukes, paper cuts, shoulder blades, swords, toothpicks, weapons of mass destruction, the Oxford English Dictionary, any sweet or sour foodstuffs, cheesy poofs, cheese dippers, croissants, cows with guns, chickens in choppers, egg cups, methanol, ethanol, fruit, a frozen loaf of bread, girl scout cookies, guinea pigs, kittens, mayo (or any type of condiment), the Mayo (or any type of condiment) Clinic, any meat in the form of a ball (or loaf, for that matter), oranges, a pig in a blender, Pepto-Bismol, pi, pie, potatoes, pretzels, puppies, rabbit detectives, salad bowls, salad bowels, swedish meatballs, Trix, Al Gore, Freddy Mercury, Tony Blair, Austin Powers, Barney, Barney Rubble, rubble, The Hamburglar, Ben Affleck, Benji, Bill Clinton, Bobby, Bob, Bob Saget, Bob Sherman, Bob the Builder, Captain America, Captain Britain, Captain Canada, Captain Crunch, Captain Falcon, Captain Marvel, Captain Oblivious, Captain Planet, Captain Scarlet, Captain Ultra, Chris Rock, Dr. Evil, Dr. Evil's Henchmen, the Dark Lord Voldemort, Dick Cheney, Fancy Dan, George Bush, Godzilla, the Nissan Skyline GTR, Jack Sparrow, Jack Thompson, Jeff Probst, Marcel Proust, Maozilla, MC Hammer, Rick James, SpongeBob SquarePants, or pants in general, Steven Segal, Tom Clancy, Tom from Myspace, the Amazing Spiderman, The Black, Red, Yellow, White, Blue, or Brown Man Group, the Incredible Hulk, the ATO, Vanilla Ice, vanilla slice, you, your bladder (even with the spleen to help it), your mom, "your momma so fat" jokes, 50 Cent, Stalin, two cows, milk, the Soviet Space Navy, Cosmonants, Karl Marx, wheelbarrows, Communism, ninjas (unless they're Jewish), pirates (unless they're scented), Ninja-Pirates or any combination thereof (unless they're Jewish and scented), The Ninja-Pirate Assembly, the Anti-Ninja Organisation, the Anti-Pirate Organisation, the Anti-Pirate-Ninja Organisation, the Anti-Ninja-Pirate Assembly of South Africa, minjas, samurais, Asian people, Canadians, Germans, Russians, athiests, berserkers (not to be confused w/ berzerkrs), berzerkrs, blind people, Democrats, dentists, emos, screamos, small stick men with sharp pointy sticks, gangstas, men who fall out with their wives and wander the streets at night, nazis, n00bz, playboys, playgirls, preps, props, pyromaniacs, terrorists, fat people, bald people, deaf, dumb and blind kids who sure play a mean pinball, vampires (excepting Alucard.) zombies, consonants, giant fishes in bear suits attackin’ Tokyo (unless during Easter Holiday), guilt-tripping, hairy lizards, Heath Ledger, I Love Lucy, iPods, kindness, linear equations, L’oreal Kids shampoo, shea butter lotion, titanium toilet paper, the easy button, the system, the Force, the Schwartz, The Game, The Offspring, twelve year olds invading the internet, medical degrees, Nazi Bananas, Nigerian internet scams, paradoxes, Pikachu, scented candles, scented pikachus, pirahras, or white-out.
I'll expect this list to have been memorised by 9pm this evening... or else.
Posted by Rollo at 13:05
May 28, 2007
Yeovil Town 0 - Blackpool 2
Goals in each half from Robbie Williams and Keigan Parker sealed Blackpool's return to the second tier of English football after a 29-year exile with a win over Yeovil in the League One play-off final. As well as sealing promotion to the Championship, Blackpool's victory was their 10th on the trot - breaking a club record that had stood for 70 years.
Considering that this was only a League One promotion match, it's staggering to think that 59,313 people made the trip to Wembley.
What this means is that next season there'll be two derby matches against my second most hated club, Preston North End and another pair of fixtures against my friend Mark's team, Southampton. I severely hope that Foxtel are able to wrangle TV rights, because if they can it will mean that for the first time in my life, they'll actually appear on television.
Considering Sydney's exit from the Asian Champions League and Liverpool's loss in the final of the European Champions League, perhaps the cruel mistress of the round ball has decided to dangle one thread of sacchrin; that for the moment is all the sweetness I'll get I fear, for the next few months apart from the odd international, the year is over. Living in a world where dates have slashes is so strange.
Posted by Rollo at 03:07
May 24, 2007
With reference to Horse 754, football remains a cruel mistress. Last night I went to be early and set the alarm for 4am so that I could get up, drink tea, eat toast and have my heart broken two hours later. Clearly this post is late, and there has been plenty of discussion and rationalisation of the horrible minute, but It hurts!
You're a crook. You're a cheat and a swindler! That's what you are! How could you do a thing like this, build up a little boy's hopes and then smash all his dreams to pieces? You're an inhuman monster!
I'd say that Inzaghi's deflection was probably a handball, but if that wasn't a goal, then the second most definately was. Liverpool gave the match away to AC by playing a better class of football for about 44 minutes and then dropped their heads. It proves again the old adage that you can't win if you don't score. If Inzaghi wasn't credited with man of the match then I really don't know who else to give it to, except maybe Oddo who did play with ticker.
Fair dos to AC Milan, they made their chances count. It was a good cup win for them.
AC Milan 2 - Liverpool 1 - Bah 2 - Humbug! 1
Posted by Rollo at 16:37
May 23, 2007
Posted by Rollo at 16:29
I was reading through various reports about the upcoming Champions League Final between AC Milan and Liverpool and stumbled upon a somewhat amusing remark about the redevelopment of one of the stands at Ewood Park where Blackburn Rovers play.
The North Stand when completed in 2009 will have an additional 6000 seats which increase the capacity of Ewood Park to just over 37000 people. The stand is to feature a rear wall with 4000 glass portholes with reference to the club's supporters group and fanzine "4000 Holes"
Of course Beatles fans will already know where this came from within the lyrics of A Day In The Life:
I read the news today, Oh boy!
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.
And though the holes were rather small,
They had to count them all;
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
What they probably don't realise however is where that original comment came from in the first place:
The Daily Mail
January 17, 1967
According to road surveys carried out by the Ministry of Transport in conjunction with The Lancashire County Roads Office, there are more than 4000 holes in the road in Blackburn, Lancashire, or one twenty-sixth of a hole per person. If Blackburn is typical then there are over two million holes in Britain's roads and 300 000 in London.
Now by inference if there is 1/26th of a hole per person, and the Royal Albert Hall holds 5,544 people including standing in the Gallery due to fire and safety restrictions, then it follows that this Grade I listed building requires a mere 213 holes to fill it, which is hardly what one would call a "Sea of Holes" at all is it?
Posted by Rollo at 11:20
May 16, 2007
It is no secret that I retain a deeply entrenched, nigh-sadomasochistic streak for language and its praxis.
Language rocks. Language melts. Depending on the situation, it can make or break a person. It can heighten someone to oft-heard of but seldom seen dizzying cusps of joyful abandon, or hurl that same person into the unfathomable depths of frantic self-loathing.
Overall, language is just plain fun.
Which is why the discrepancies among separate embodiments of human communication strike me so. Namely: I believe native English speakers are sentimentally impaired by their tongue.
By this I mean no disrespect on anyone’s cunning lingual ability (bet you thought I would skip the cheap shot, huh?). No, I’m referring to the different gradations of love according to language.
Much has been said about the influence of language on our thought process by a lot of people better prepared than I am. Chomsky, that guy who was obsessed with eskimos, CS Lewis and even my own discussions of slang and language related fiction are just some of the many, many boring sources I could point to regarding this subject. But I won’t.
I will just refer to one overbearing example: Love.
I know what you’re thinking: Rollo has finally gone off the deep end, the dude’s going to launch into some diatribe about how wonderful his girlfriend is - please spare us the schmaltz!. And yes, my girlfriend is quite wonderful, thanksformentioning it, but that’s not what I’m going to talk about. I want to discuss the idea itself, its manifestation in language, and its levels in particular.
In Spanish, there are two basic levels of the same emotion: Querer and Amar. The first one, "Te quiero", conveys a strong feeling of affection for a person. It’s ok to say it to your better half within an acceptable timeframe in a serious relationship (you don’t just rush into it), it’s rarely ok to say it to friends (unless it happens to be New Year's then it’s quite alright), and it’s not as high as you can go.
Then there’s "Te amo".
Which is, unquestionably, on a level of its own. This is the one you say to a girl when you look in her eyes and think to yourself that it would be awesome to settle down, and stay by her side until the stars don’t shine. You may "querer" a whole bunch of girls from afar in your life, but you’ll only "amar" one... possibly ever.
Now let’s move over to English… What do we have?
I love you.
That’s it. That’s the whole enchilada. No more, zip, nada, zilch, zero, zippidy-doo-da, badda-bing-badda-boom, nought, nothing, the matter is closed, pens down the test is over, roll up the clouds like a giant scroll, pack up the ball, pick up your bat and ball and go home. You either do or do not. No middle point at all. When you get into a "relationship" (and I really hate that word because it's so clinical) you’re supposed to stave off the desire to proclaim your feelings until you can give this one a go. And then there’s nothing more.
I find that cruel.
Thank goodness I don't live in Japan - they actually do get nothing.
Posted by Rollo at 16:28
Today: I am on a smaller dollar figure wage than I was in 2001. If I quit this job, then the average market wage is on average $3500 less again. I am on a smaller real wage adjusted for inflation despite 2 pay increases since I was hired. Yet the Award which used to exist, doesn't any longer so I need to go through the hassle of an AWA.
Mr Howard, I hurt because of your stupid IR laws. The PDF which was sent through this afternoon telling us how much "better off" we all are is pure and utter bunk. Your sigature appears at the bottom which shows that you don't live in the real world at all.
I'd like to honestly hear how I'm supposedly "better off" Mr Howard, no really I would. Remember that for about 2 days a week, in reality I'm working for you via taxation.
You're off with the fairies mate.
Posted by Rollo at 15:08
May 15, 2007
This is from the front page of today's Sydney Morning Herald:
BEN COX has no friends. He is unlikely to make any in the future, or form any romantic relationships. At 18, his teenage life has "all but been destroyed", and his adult life will be no better.
He will never know the satisfaction of a job, and anxiety and depression will be his likely companions for the rest of his life. With this bleak forecast, the Supreme Court's Justice Carolyn Simpson yesterday found schoolboy bullying was to blame and Mr Cox was entitled to compensation.
In what is believed to be the biggest school bullying damages award in NSW, Mr Cox's legal team estimates the reclusive Hunter Valley teenager will receive about $1 million, giving him an income for life and superannuation.
Let's look at this in detail shall we?
BEN COX has no friends. He is unlikely to make any in the future...
Imagine being told this by the front page of Fairfax Media in six capitals around the country, what's that going to do to his self esteem?
At 18, his teenage life has "all but been destroyed", and his adult life will be no better.
At 20 his teenage life will be "over" and his adult life will be totally kickarse thanks to never having to work a lick his whole life.
He will never know the satisfaction of a job, and anxiety and depression will be his likely companions for the rest of his life.
He doesn't need to know the drudgery of a job, and whilst it's true that money can't explicitly buy happiness, he sure can rent it.
In what is believed to be the biggest school bullying damages award in NSW, Mr Cox's legal team estimates the reclusive Hunter Valley teenager will receive about $1 million, giving him an income for life and superannuation.
Ben Cox is going to have lots of friends in the future whether he wants them or not. People are attracted to money like flies around a freshly laid dog poo. Mind you being awarded $1 million will make him the subject of a great deal of scorn considering that he's taking money from decent hard-working people viz the courts because he didn't learn to stand up for himself in school.
Ok, I might feel sorry that he was bullied in school but can you please tell me how I contributed to this considering that I live nearly 200 kilometers away? Why are the bullies getting away scot-free? Why is this purilent Ben Cox bullying me out of my entitlements as a taxpayer?
He could do something useful to help the victims of bullying in future but I bet that he won't. Instead his government sponsored bullying on a far larger scale will steal the lunch money, the computer money, the sporting goods money, etc etc etc to the tune of $1 million from children he's not even met.
That's bullying on a far worser scale.
Posted by Rollo at 15:20
May 14, 2007
The Spanish GP has thrown up some interesting variables. Kimi Raikkonen the gun Ferrari driver who was expected to sweep all before him retired with electrical failure, Felipe Massa his number 2 has been putting in consistent results and now has racked up a win, Fernando Alonso the reigning World Champion is being upstaged by 22 year old Lewis Hamilton who in only his first season is actually leading the World Championship.
The guard has changed yet again... and F1 is accused of being boring?
Alonso's hopes of winning his home race were over almost before it began when he made an ambitous attempt to overtake Massa around the outside of the first corner.
Alonso lost only two places as he rejoined the track, slotting into fourth place behind Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who was passed by the Englishman on the run down to the third corner.
But the world champion's car had been damaged, although it is unclear how much that affected his pace.
Alonso moved up to third when Raikkonen retired with a rare Ferrari failure on lap 10, but he could not close on Hamilton, who was equally helpless in the face of the charging Massa.
The Brazilian edged steadily ahead in the lead and was nearly 10 seconds clear by the time he made his first pit stop on lap 19, the same time as Alonso. Hamilton stayed out for another three laps but was no closer to the Ferrari when he rejoined the track after his own stop. The first stops were the end of Alonso's already slim hopes of winning his home race for the second year in a row.
McLaren fitted the harder of the two tyre options to his car for his middle stint, while everyone else stayed on the softer tyres and saved the harder ones until the final push.
The plan was presumably for Alonso to limit the damage in the middle of the race and make a charge in the closing laps but he slipped back to more than 10 seconds behind Hamilton in the first few laps after the stops as the tyres took their time to come up to speed.
Alonso continued to lose ground to his team-mate throughout the second stint and was more than 16 seconds adrift by the time Hamilton made his second stop on lap 47. Alonso followed him in a lap later and began to close on Hamilton after they rejoined, but in the final 10 laps the gap stabilised.
The eight points for second place put Hamilton two points clear of Alonso at the head of the drivers' championship, with Massa a further point behind.
Posted by Rollo at 16:43
May 08, 2007
What do lettuce seeds look like? To answer that we need to ask another question: What is a lettuce? It's like asking "What Are Birds"? What Are Birds? We just don't know.
Moving back to our previous question of what a lettuce is, I looked in a big textbook and found out a lot of stuff. The scientific name for the common head lettuce is Lactuca sativa. Both the English name "lettuce" and the Latin name of the genus "lactuca" are derived from "lactis", the Latin word for "milk", referring to its milky juice of the plant - so no help there.
Lactuca are in the Asteraceae family, so I had a look to find out what other species were Lactuca family and found the Helianthus and the Taraxacum, which are the Sunflower and the Dandelion respectively. A word of note here, a Dandelion is not another name for a big camp cat.
In general the Asteraceae produce flowers and then seeds on little parachutes, this is called bolting. In other words, when it is time for the seeds of these plants to get the heck away they do the bolt. Asteraceae are the SAS of the flower world, and when you blow on a flower clock, you are in reality commissioning several seedy paratroopers with their RNA cargo to disperse and propogate.
The Lettuce plant has a short stem initially (a rosette growth habit), but when it blooms the stem lengthens and branches, and it produces many flower heads that look like those of dandelions, but smaller. When grown to eat, lettuce is harvested before it bolts.
Lettuce seeds not surprisingly look like Dandelion seeds but for the question "What Are Birds"? We just don't know.
Posted by Rollo at 09:59
May 06, 2007
This is the last day of the regular season in League One. I guarantee that tonight will be a roller-coaster of emotion whilst watching and hoping for certain results to fall the right direction.
Scunthorpe 88 - Champions and guaranteed to go up.
Bristol City 82
Nottingham Forest 81
Whoever finishes 2nd will go up automatically but they other will meet in the playoffs. I need both Bristol and Forest to lose. I have the BBC World Service on and the "Live Scores" window open on Soccernet.
Bristol City 1 - Rotherham 0 - ugh
Swansea 0 - Blackpool 1 - Yay
Swansea 1 - Blackpool 1 - Errr
Swansea 2 - Blackpool 1 - Awwww
Swansea 2 - Blackpool 2 - Yay - we're back in it
Swansea 3 - Blackpool 2 - What?!
Bristol City 2 - Rotherham 0 - Noooo
Bristol City 3 - Rotherham 0 - Noooo
Bristol City 3 - Rotherham 1 - C'mon Rotherham
Swansea 3 - Blackpool 3 - Yessss... equalised!
Nottingham Forest 0 - Crewe 0 - So long as it stays that way.
Swansea 3 - Blackpool 4 - Four! When have they ever scored four? It's a good thing though.
Wrexham 1 - Boston Utd 1 - Does this means that Boston fall out of the League?
Scunthorpe 1 - Carlisle 0 - Bit irrelevant that - they're going up anyway.
Scunthorpe 2 - Carlisle 0 - ...and they're going to be on television next year BJD
Fulham 0 - Liverpool 0 - Usually I'd care, but I'm watching the fate of Blackpool today.
Nottingham Forest 0 - Crewe 0 - Penalty SAVED at Forest. So long as it stays that way.
Scunthorpe 3 - Carlisle 0 - And they're champions as well...
Fulham 1 - Liverpool 0 - But he was OFFSIDE! (yes I do still care a bit)
Catalans 28 - Harlequins 18 - ?? Oh it's Rugby League, SHUT UP!!!
Blackburn Rovers 2 - Newcastle 0 - Steve wasn't happy about this.
Shrewsbury 2 - Grimbsy Town 1 - At Gay Meadow... tee hee hee... gay meadow. La las
Swansea 3 - Blackpool 5 - FIVE. Woo Hoo. Despite this they still will have to playoff as it stands
80 min - I'm not hopeful that Rotherham can score 3 against Scunthorpe
Wrexham 2 - Boston Utd 1 - Boston are exiting the league today... I feel bad for them.
Swansea 3 - Blackpool 6 - SIX and they still aren't going up?! This isn't fair.
Wrexham 3 - Boston Utd 1 - Wrexham are rubbing their noses in it now.
92 Minutes now... it's pretty much over now.
FINAL Wrexham 3 - Boston Utd 1 - Boston Utd trudge off down the tunnel and back to the Conference.
FINAL Swansea 3 - Blackpool 6 - I wish I'd seen six goals today.
FINAL Nottingham Forest 0 - Crewe 0 - Not that important really.
FINAL Bristol City 3 - Rotherham 1 - Bristol go up.
Scunthorpe 91 - Automatic Promotion as Champions
Bristol City 85 - City are promoted
Nottingham Forest 82
I guess Blackpool has to settle for the playoffs. Six goals is encouraging though.
Rugby League fans never go through anything like this. You can't get promoted in a single league, neither can you get relegated either. Would they watch screens of text at 2am? I doubt it. It is true, the football fan is a strange breed. We're long suffering and often stay up to stupid o'clock for news.
The last comfort for tonight was hearing "This is the BBC World Service, calling the world from London. It's 17 hours BST and 16 hours GMT." I go to sleep tonight maybe not overly happy, but this is the first time in a long time that I've sat through promotion commentary.
Posted by Rollo at 01:17
May 04, 2007
Ok, I admit it... I can sing. The question then is, if I can sing, then how come I don't do it in front of a group of people?
As an untrained singer, my technical ability to sing up and down the scale is astounding. I can almost pass through two octaves. The average untrained singer may have an octave or less, perhaps an octave and a half (strained). Professional singers (with extensive training) have a practice singing range of about 3 octaves (unstrained), and a performance range of 1.5-2 octaves.
It is EXTREMELY rare, but there are singers with 4 octave practice ranges, these tend to be female singers as their vocal cords are lighter than males. The most extreme case was Roy Orbison, who actually had a shade over 4, possibly a 4.5 octave range.
Ok, so the technical answer means that in theory I should be pretty good, the question remains, how come I don't do it in front of a group of people?
Every musical instrument is shaped by two broad characteristics - Pitch and Timbre. If you think of pitch as being the outlines, the timbre is the colour that fills in the gaps; this is where I fail miserably. People's voices who are usually considered "nice" have a quality of timbre that is warm, whereas I on the other hand have a voice that sounds really quite dull. It would be comparing an oil painting to a child's colouring book (that's been coloured by a 4 year old). Try rendering The Hay Wain in EGA and you'll begin to get an idea.
The best example I can think of to illustrate this is the case of Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church. The pair of them were both at the BRITs performing together once and although they shared exactly the same register, it was like pairing a saxophone and a viola together.
What it does mean is that I should be able to consistently beat people like Jimmy in a contest like Singstar which measures pitch but not timbre and why I'm unsuited to being a performer - in other words, he does have a better singing voice because of timbre but not pitch.
BJD noticed this as well when he remarked that some people sounded better but were still being marked less by the machine, that's the reason.
In general, ladies should also be able to out-perform gents in a contest like this because their lighter vocal chords means that they naturally have a wider range.
Actually I just wanted to use this post to mention that at the moment, I still hold top score on Singstar... tee hee hee!
Posted by Rollo at 10:15
May 02, 2007
Yes, that's it. I'm making a stand. Football is a cruel mistress. She lures us in with promises of exciting times in exotic places, and instead we get one-nil defeats at Fulham on a rainy Tuesday night. Sometimes we wait for goal news coming in on the BBC Vidi Printer, or scouring the internet for our latest signing, who usually turns out to be more Ronald McDonald than Ronaldo.
But the point is, I could no more give up football for good than I could perform open heart surgery on myself. Because once we're in, we're in; hooked for life. Your car breaks down; you save up and buy a new one. You get retrenched from that dream job; you go out and find a new one. But no matter how many times your club breaks your heart, you still suffer sleepless nights as news drifts in over the wireless, spend hours in anticipation of yet another fixture or perform mathematical calculations that even Professors in High-Order Mathematics would find bordering on impossible.
Every so often though, there is a wave of pure magic which offsets the drudgery. The chance at a trophy, a cracker of a goal or even just winning the war on the terraces. Today was a triumph of all three.
This morning Liverpool have booked their ticket to Athens with the prospect of a 6th European Cup. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea were finally given the shove after Agger's 22nd minute goal drew the home side level tp 1-1. With the end of regulation and extra time not producing anything futher, this brought on that most horrid of things, the penalty shootout. Liverpool won that however, 4-1 on penalties (which I didn't see) and this sets up the possibility of meeting bitter, bitter rivals Manchested Utd on the 23rd.
The side that Jose Mourihno labelled as "The Worst Champions of Europe" have knocked his side out of the cup AGAIN. Seriously has Chelsea ever been beaten by a better side according to him? Today's comments sound like they come directly off the post-match interview DVD for 2005. He can but watch as Rafa's boys go on to a second European title shot under his tenure to yet again become the "The Worst Champions of Europe".
Posted by Rollo at 12:23