Terms and Conditions

[23 Aug 02]

Love life and everything in it
The paths it can take are infinite
Play the game as if you will win it
When losing, just bear it and grin it
Don't waste even one single minute
'Cos the end is a box with you in it


[14 Jul 02] A foolish aside.


George IV Bridge

[11 Jul 02]

A man in an overcoat
Sifts through a bin
Under an overcast sky
Watched from the top
Of a double-deck bus
There but for grace go I

A dust-lined face
Salt-pepper beard
Head in habitual nod
Chews on a half-eaten
Bagel he's found
There but for the grace of God

A boy half-asleep
Coat at his feet
A few dull coins in its fold
A line of commuters
Stare past him and think
There but for the grace of gold

Some stiff in a suit
Power-lunch paunch
Look of disdain on his face:
Don't be so dirty
Don't be so poor
Don't be such a bloody disgrace

Spare some change
The dead boy drawls
As in all their minds
Time drags, guilt crawls

There but for the grace
But there is no grace
of God
but there is no

There but for gold
But he won't get ours

There but for luck
go I


This Morning on Radio Four

[12 Jun 02] Good morning, I'm James Naughtie. Later in the programme we'll be interviewing a member of the Conservative Party to discuss the case of Jo Moore, the government spin doctor who said in an email that September 11th was a good day to bury bad news. Exactly nine months and a day after that fateful message, which cost Moore and her minister their jobs, we'll be revisiting its contents, discussing whether they're part of a dangerous trend of government spin-doctoring, and analysing the email headers to see exactly who else might have thought that September 11th was a good day to bury bad news.

But first, the headlines. Jo Moore, the government spin doctor who said in an email that September 11th was a good day to bury bad news, was invoked in Parliament again yesterday as opposition members performed a ritual victory dance around the front bench seat recently vacated by Stephen Byers, while their research assistants combed through Hansard for the words 'bury', 'news', 'bad', and 'September 11th'.

The Queen has thanked those who organised her Jubilee celebration. It was a 'good day', she said, neglecting to say whether that was for the purposes of burying bad news—unlike government spin doctor Jo Moore on September 11th.

The nuclear stand-off between India and Pakistan continues, with a first strike feared at any time. Analysts warn that both sides are waiting for 'a good day to bury bad news'. All eyes are on former British government spin doctor, Jo Moore.

And now, Thought for the Day, with the Reverend Stephen Byers.

Good morning. Who was it who said, 'I come not to bury Caesar, but to bury bad news?' Methinks it was Jo Moore.

Thank you, Reverend. And so to the weather, with Martin Sixsmith.

Thanks, Jim. Well, what can I say: showers over southern England, turning to rain in the afternoon over England, Wales, and much of Scotland, with hailstorms in Kent. Twelve to thirteen degrees everywhere, although there are signs of sunshine by the weekend. And in the long-term forecast, September 11th is looking like a good day.


[26 May 02] It was one of those intense dreams you have on a weekend morning when you wake up at 6.30, realise it's too early to get up, and go back to sleep for another three hours.

I'm back in Hobart, on a bus tour through the rainforest—which is odd, seeing that Tasmania's rainforest is miles away from Hobart—when suddenly the bus, which has gradually been climbing its way uphill, reaches a stretch of road that ends in an upwards-curving ramp. The driver guns it, heading straight for the ramp and the sky beyond. I shout, "What's going on?", and the guy next to me says, "Don't worry, it's part of the tour," and the bus sails off the end, arcs into the air and hangs there, then plunges hundreds of feet into the Derwent River.

Luckily, I'm thrown clear on impact, and manage to swim free of the floating hulk, spluttering in the brackish water. "Jesus!" I cry, as the other bloke from the tour swims past.

"That's nothing," he says; "last time, the bus sank right to the bottom and we all nearly drowned."


[12 Apr 02] It's another long weekend, and another trip away for the Edinburgh jet-set. And a couple of days after that I'll be on a work trip, so there won't be much here for the next week or so. To give you something to look at in the meantime, here's my favourite thing from the Royal Museum of Scotland—a photograph hanging discreetly in a display about Antarctic explorers (click for a close-up):

The Piper and the Penguin

The Piper and the Penguin.
Testing to see the effects of bagpipes.
From R N Radnose-Brown et al.,
The Voyage of the 'Scotia'
(Edinburgh, 1906)


Global Warming Critic Has "Seen It All Before"

[19 Mar 02] NEW YORK, Tues.: The disintegration of an Antarctic ice shelf proves nothing, a global warming doubter has claimed. "Ice melts all the time," said leading oil industry spokesman Kent Brockelgruber. "Just last week I saw a big-ass icicle fall off my roof. It's almost spring; these things happen." He went on to point out that it has just been summer in Antarctica, so "what should we expect?": "The surprise is that it hasn't happened sooner. I mean, Jesus, the sun's still shining at midnight down there."

Brockelgruber brushed aside fears about the size of the shelf in question—half a trillion tons—and the rapidity of its collapse. "Half a trillion, half a shmillion. It's just ice, fer Chrissakes. It's not like we're talking dollars here."

"All you whiny bastards keep looking on the bad side. The good side is, that's half a trillion tons of fresh water that's now available to the world. Sure, it's all gone straight into the ocean, but if we can get a bucket the size of Portugal underneath the next one, we could turn the Sahara into Seaworld."

Noting that he had "never liked penguins and all their shifty waddling", Brocklegruber added that if anyone really wanted to see ice, "there's a perfectly good Ice Age being simulated in a theater near you."


[14 Mar 02] Must have been staring at old code for too long this week. I just saw a banner ad for Tomb Raider and thought it said 'Lara Cruft'.


[20 Feb 02] I missed posting on 02.02.02, so I'll be damned if I'll miss 20022002 (or 20.2.02 if you prefer your palindromes in handy bite-sized form).

So... [stares at corner of room; whistles idly; examines fingernails]... seen any good dates lately?


Calling PreviousOccupants of Interplanetary Craft

[ 1 Feb 02] One of the previous occupants of our flat was a signed-up fan of astrologers and psychics, which means that a trip to our mailbox often bears fruit (loops) in the form of psychic junk mail. Since it never comes with a return address and we don't have their forwarding address, it usually ends up in the bin. But lately I've opened a couple. Most of it's just dull 'win the lottery' stuff ("I sense you winning as much as £175 000 very soon"—or as little as £0, no doubt), but one letter stands out. In fact, it grabs you by the throat and DEMANDS to be read.

From the desk of Anthony Carr

Read at once, please! Certain events may be happening my friend and I am excitedly trying to reach you. I must prepare you -- and even more -- YOU must BE PREPARED for the possible tremendous reward opportunities ahead. Please read my letter carefully... right now! Your future -- success and happiness like you've perhaps never experienced before -- may be just 20 days or so away!

With a come-on like that, I couldn't wait to see what Mr Carr had to say...

Dear PreviousOccupantsNameRunTogetherWithoutSpaces,

You should know at once about me: My abilities to pinpoint psychic events. To "read" the stars and planets. To foretell the future, has led to my being called "the psychic of the century!" That is why, now as I reach-out to you, you should -- and must -- listen to me. And very carefully. I consider this moment to be something of a transcendental connection between you and me. What I am going to tell you may astound you. Certain dates forthcoming, which I've plotted out regarding breakthrough opportunities affecting your life, may seem unbelievable to you. Rewards of material and personal privilege... may seem unattainable and exaggerated.


You may think I am directing my thoughts to some other person.


Or wonder, "how do I make such a wild prediction?"

Remember, PreviousOccupant, I am Anthony Carr. My powers are beyond that of common "reason." I am able to "see" through and beyond what is considered "normal." And I pull open the future with spellbinding accuracy!

Pull, Mr Carr, pull!

Here is what I have tracked recently [VERY, VERY IMPORTANT]... REGARDING THE PERIOD Wed. Feb. 20th, 2002 thru Wed., Mar. 27th, 2002.

Do I detect a hint of uncertainty about those dates?

These dates, PreviousOccupant, may mark the beginning of a "new life" for you as you've only dreamed it could be.

(Methinks I do.)

So far, my assessments of major star/planet configurations have pinpointed a dramatic Wave-4 phenomena (powerful of universal energies) arising from the spatial alignment of key heavenly bodies moving in a fixed astral rotation. ... The timetable clearly establishes that possibly between late February through March, 2002 and perhaps even into early April, a special deep and intense period of opportunity and prosperity may manifest itself in luminous waves to those whose life-destinies are centered for this mysterious force-field. Understand, PreviousOccupant: The shape of events forthcoming may place you in a new position of extraordinary comfort and well-being. Success and financial rewards may come in a flurry of unexpected, sudden episodes. Powerful, extraordinary circumstances may lift you to new heights of happiness and prosperity.

Cue promises of possible extraordinary wealth that perhaps may occur at some time in the future provided you send Anthony Carr ten quid to pull it open for you with spellbinding heavily-qualified accuracy!

Let me alleviate any worries you may have. I am prepared to offer you DOUBLE YOUR MONEY BACK ... should your expectations not be exceeded in every way from my association with you.

No fear of having to pay that in my case.

I expect your skepticism at this time, and although it saddens me, I honour your caution and prudence.

That's nice.

Obviously, time is of the essence and I cannot stress this enough! I urge you to mail the certificate on the other side, do it right now, please, without delay. Right NOW, this very minute.

Ow! Yes, sir! I'm writing the cheque! Don't hurt me!

Should these edited highlights be insufficient. To give a flavour of the Anthony Carr experience. I have prepared this condensed version, containing only the key words:

May be possible perhaps may be! Something of may may seem may seem may think may mark possibly perhaps even may manifest. May place may come unexpected may lift never considered perhaps possible in the immediate future! Don't ask me how or why. Prepared to possibly enrich if you will allow with no risk DOUBLE MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE IF YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT EXCEEDED. Potential magnitude and what it may mean will become 'immaterial' if you fail to contact me quickly. As I now calculate, the period for which forecast pertaining to opportunities may possibly begin a wave of fortune for you that is beyond your scope of belief. Worries you may have expectations not be exceeded. I want to see you happy and fulfilled! Please...hurry!

And should this not persuade you, SpeedysnailReader, I ask you to explore his deeply persuasive website. Remember, a 380k background image (click on his 'SUBSCRIBE' link right NOW, this very minute) says a thousand words.


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