21 November 2006

Burst python

Six-foot alligator versus 13-foot Burmese python.

A draw ... sort of.

Mr Python found with 'gator's tail sticking out of its burst tummy.

No sign of the actual *head* of the python.

I love these Ripleyesque reminders of Nature red in tooth and claw.

17 November 2006

Beatles 'Love' mash-up

  • Alex Petridis' good piece for the Grauniad on how "the Beatles have finally released their own 80-minute mash-up, remixed by George Martin's son Giles for the Cirque de Soleil show currently wowing Las Vegas tourists."
  • The Beeb's take.
  • Stephen King 'book' party

    I have to apostrophise book' because I don't regard Stephen King as a 'writer'. I'm not sure what he *does* do but way back when I reviewed for book trade mags, I made a comment about him typing straight for the screen.

    Anyway, the ace and elegant Madame Arcati in fine feline form about the scribbler's latest book launch:

    "... Lisey’s Story is just out. I really can’t be bothered to read it. I prefer the movies of his books: you get through them quicker: Misery, Pet Sematary, Christine. Can’t stand The Shawshank Redemption though it’s every film fan’s all-time favourite (they pretend). Love Kubrick’s version of The Shining.

    My companion and I arrive at Middle Temple only to be told by a H & S [publisher Hodder & Stoughton] serf that King’s just done the press conference. Oh, really! Don’t tell the journalists then. Who has a press conference at 6.30 in the evening?

    What is it with publishers? Do they sign a pact with the devil to be congenitally stupid in return for the next Harry Potter? Are publishers the most cretinous people on this planet? If I had my way I would bundle every fucking publisher into one of those concrete mixer lorries and watch them revolve and harden into statues. Then I’d stand them in my garden over the pond life with a fishing rod sticking out of their fat arses."

    Strong words and ones that sadden me.

    When I bestrode the booksy world as a young turk master of its PR universe, Hodder was fielding the real McCoy such as Eric Major and Stephen du Sautoy, two giants of book publicity on whose watch no such nonsense would have been allowed, and Madame A given the blue-blood treatment she so clearly deserves.

    Speaking of King, Arcati is cruel but right to link to the Rap Sheet review. By Hermes what a load of illiterate codswollop! Worse, it reads as if the author fancies himself as some sort of reviewer . I assume he's the dusky pdge snapping himself with the mis-shapen King.

    Which reminds me, there's something wrong with SK, isn't there? The photo reminds me. His features aren't right or he came off the presses prematurely before his eyes and nose were accurately formed. I've often thought that or been reminded whenever I see one of those hapless spastic children with their lolling heads and dribbles into their bibs. But I digress.

    Speaking of reviews and press courting, I've long since acknowledged that I could never match the likes of Hodder press hack Kerry Hood in today's wired and woolly arena - but I do know that I'd draw the line at wasting time and obsequy on the likes of the Rap sheeter. What a wanker.

    PS: Who caught my 'deliberate' mistake about du Sauters being a Hodder champ? Sidgwick boy, wasn't he?

    16 November 2006

    Browsing Amazon

    The trouble with swanking about being among the ultra cool who subscribe to Tara Calishain's wondrous ResearchBuzz is that it's put paid to any filching of the amazing TC's research and claiming it as mine.

    Otherwise I would definitely have faked it with this latest item about my Almazon Mater and the Flowser Browser.

    15 November 2006

    Auteur OJ

    When in May 1995 I swam ashore to Bainbridge from the snakehead sampan, I was in total ignorance of one OJ Simpson and was bemused and curious at the front page treatment given to an athlete born under sunnier skies.

    I caught up quick.

    Being a booksy sort of chap, I noted that OJ had scribbled a few lines for some wide-boy publisher and looked forward to tracking its progress.

    When the National Inquirer first reported on OJ's "If I Did It" chef d'oeuvre, legal eagle Yale Galanter (great name!) commented helpfully that,

    "[he] is not writing a book. We haven't been paid 35 cents, much less $3.5 million" and "if anyone comes out with such a book, I'll go on every talk show and call it crap."
    Eh bien, it seems that certain folks were economic with the truth, not least of whom Regan Books' fierce PR suprema, Suzanne Wickham.

    I'm trying to put in context yesterday's announcement from Fox and Regan that they will air a two-part interview with Simpson and then release his book at the end of this month.

    Silly retailers not having the balls to take Galanter at his initial word.

    oriental caff

    Corfu Coffee

    Bagels it ain't but this is my new fave coffee shop.

    Looks so touristy the dilettantes stay clear but it serves seriously good java.

    Cone Trick

    Juggleur supreme Greg Kennedy hustles his balls in an 8' inverted cone.

    Some seriously cool shit.

    14 November 2006

    persimmon bush tree

    Sunshine on Persimmon

    I've always hankered after that sort of titling for a post. It has a green fingery ring, which in my case is a bit of a hollow laff.

    Anyway, there's me 'n' mater enjoying a pre-déjeuner ouzo and she ups and says, "Oh, look at the way the sun's catching the persimmon" which is my cue for the camera.
    Rather nice weather right now: tourists gone so the roads are free of nutters on those buggies which were this season's choice for mort sur la route.

    All the verds are verdant and the auts tumnal and there's a saucy breeze during the day that keeps one moving briskly.

    mama contemplating tGun Law: To my pleasure and surprise, there are no gun laws over here.

    I've always been a rifle enthusiast since I found I can shoot amazingly straight and consistently. At school I was in the .303 rifle team and, although I developed a permanent bruise on my cheek from the bugger kicking back, I was better than the rest of the beefy shootists.

    So, I'm in this shop admiring this very fine Elk Horn Gunshop lookalike, plus a ramboesque crossbow, and the shop assistant pads over and starts talking bores and balance to me and knocking the price down.

    I stammer something about being a mere foreigner but he silences me with a look as if to say that we gun dudes are never 'foreigners'.

    So now I spend a large amount of time adjusting the cross hairs on the tree rats and watching them positively ejected off the branches with barely a frisson's shudder from the weapon.

    The crossbow will take a little more time to adjust to and I am currently at 'Not safe' stage.
    view to albaniaVIEW: I know it's boring to look at 'scenery' but have a gander at the clear view across to Albania. Gorgeous.

    I'm about to book a ticket over there and check the place out. I hear they're pretty hostile and dour and you don't make eye contact and gawd help you if you smile so it should suit me down to my winklepickers Posted by Picasa



    Faithful Sam pledging allegiance to his lord and master.

    Black Sambo loves his new life since I've started packing, and he particularly likes it when I just wing the critter and it bounces off the ground and runs in that wiggly way they have when they've lost a sinew or two from a speeding bullet.

    black samboFast bugger when he chooses to get his skates on, is El Sambo, and he's good at sitting by the twitching corpse til I arrive with the dustpan and broom and whisk the rodent away to the bonfire pyre.

    Nose fetish: I was plunking on the old Ovation the other night and Sam came up for a cuddle and brushed his conk against the strings and leapt back only to return a few seconds later for a further fix.

    Hmm, he must find the vibes against his handsome black proboscis a bit of a turn-on because he's got it down a fine art now, just touching the strings and his body positively a-quiver with plaisir. Sensuous swine.

    Rainbow Legal Beagle Moniker

    What an absolutely splendid name for a politically correctissimus law firm.

    Oprah, Obama, Angelou and Clinton

    I must hasten back to Londinium and open an office today. That it will be zero-staffed is a mere detail.

    Can't you just picture all those slab-faced advocates of drippy pernicious "multye-kulturamalism" slavering for the privilege of filling the coffers.

    Whatever the actual story, some parody-gifted sub has a bright future as a satirical headline writer.

    Where there's a hit, there's a writ

    I do wish all these grasping hopefuls would drop their silly idea of taking scribbler Dan Brown to court for his execrable Vinci nonsense.

    Enough already. The bloken stole nothing, except a march on time in being the first hack to spot how nuggets of history could be mixed with fetid imagination and churned out for saleable beach reading for the grockles.

    12 November 2006

    Free Greek Lessons

    Calling all Greek-challenged local readers: hie thee promptly down to the Periferia building (1st floor, turn left down the corridor, last booth on the right) and sign up for your FREE  lessons.

    Each grade only starts once they have a minimum of 15 pupils and the silly-billy organisers completely failed to announce the classes via the obvious channels such as supermarket noticeboards and The Corfiot (whose editrice told my mum she doesn't read Athens News anyway, so therein lies some ironic justice).

    Anyway, you're going to need fluency in Greek as she is spoke or you won't get yer new longterm resident status.

    The government is requiring all applicants to complete a 25-hour course in Greek history and culture. The presidential decree also demands the successful completion of a 100-hour advanced-level Greek language course.

    The IDEKE centre is at Alykes River at the regional (periferia) building, tel 26610-23345, so get on down there and make it up to 15 so we can get started prontoest as poss.


    11 November 2006

    Bum Rush

    Guy Fawkes Night or not, this is one unbelievably stupid stunt.

    Bloke launches a rocket using his derriere as the - wotchamacallit - launch pad ...

    08 November 2006



    Sweeping the patio leaf by leaf to ward off the time I had to descend to the garden and grapple with actual yard work, I spotted this splendidly marked beetly thing.
    beetleCalled mama over to see and made big fuss about getting the camera and snapping this unusual creature - neither of us has seen one of quite these markings before - and then even bigger fuss about having to process the pictures and get the tone absolutely right, and then about emailing a shot to distinguished brother ....

    Rather successful: here I am at the safety of my keyboard, posting this to the blog in between chortling at all the Borat videos up on the Tube and elsewhere.

    Speaking of Baron Cohen, Eee bah gum, didn't he do well? One in the eye for t'fat cats

    07 November 2006

    fridge lizard

    Behind the Fridge

    Searching for where the rats are entering the kitchen, I hauled the fridge out and there was this friendly chappie

    06 November 2006

    Littell Prize

    Jonathan Littell wins posh French lit award but he won't be dining out too lavishly on the 10-euro prize.

    Getz 'n' Trane

    Recently discovered gem video of Stan Getz and John Coltrane playing together at Dusseldorf in a European JATP concert in the early 60s.

    Miles' quintet was on the bill but the great man got sick and Trane led the group as a quartet.

    Check out Oscar Peterson sliding into the ivories chair ...

    Paul Chambers (bass), Jimmy Cobb (batterie)


    Would you believe that it's taken 'til now to get Broadbanded? Yes, up to now I've been a dial-up guy with all its frustrations and slowness.

    Now I boldly click on BBC videos and tubular flicks and the such.

    Thanks to VideoJug, I can now learn how to face and cope with Life ....

    05 November 2006

    Christianne and Robert, RIP

    Of the tragic deaths of the two young 'uns, I have nothing to add at this stage.

    The island is rife with rumour and red herrings and anyone who isn't thoroughly confused is simply very badly informed.

    But heads will roll, guys will fall, the dogs bark - and the caravan move on.

    Meanwhile, the head-count looks promising:

    • Our Greek tourism minister, Fani Palli-Petralia, has been ordered  (my itals) to attend the children's funeral in West Yorkshire this week.
      • Poor bugger - can you imagine the barracking and general roughing up poor Fani will meet? Far from "pally", I'll wager.
    • Local fuzz confirmed six individuals and companies accused of negligence leading to manslaughter; negligence leading to serious bodily harm; and negligence leading to endangering human lives.
    • Police also say they've added an unnamed inspector who checked the hotel and found it suitable for Thomas Cook clients.

      Apparently, the 'inspector' visited the premises and signed his approval on June 30. Whoops.

    • The 'inspector' and the other defendants, whose names police cannot disclose (Why not? Typiquement Greek, that), will be summoned to testify in their defence next week by our chief examining magistrate.
    • Heavy stuff: The manslaughter charges carry a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment for the death of each child (my emphases), and legal beagles guess the multiple charges could carry jail terms of between 15 and 20 years.
    • But get this. A Thomas Cook spokesperson categorically confirms that "no charges have been issued against the company or any of its officers by Greek police or other Greek authorities.

      "We can also confirm that at no time during this enquiry have the police or any other authority been in touch with us. We wish to make it clear that we will stringently defend our position against any criminal charges and, in view of these reports, have instructed Greek lawyers."

      Oy vey! This is so-o-o familiar ....

    • Also accused are some big-shots, so look out for weighty backhanders and calling-in of favours for these lads to slither through the net: The chief exec officer of culprit Louis Hotels
    • The general manager of the Corcyra Beach Hotel
    • The maintenance manager
    • A rep of Corfu liquid gas company - PLUS the company which supplied the bungalow's heating and cooling system.

    Bad timing for Palli-Petralia who'd been looking forward to a triumphant visit this week to the annual global trade fair in London, singing Kerkira's praises as the very model of a modern tourist paradise. Ugh - the UK press will have its cutlasses out.

    Red Rag to a Minotaur: And listen to this for sheer crassness and provocation. One "Sean Tipton" of the clearly bogus Association of British Travel Agents (or why would they allow this buffoon to shoot his mouth off?) is, according to an excellently thorough Athens News report, 'optimistic that the deaths will not have a negative impact on next year's tourism figures.'

    Quoth Tipton, "People tend to have a fairly short memory when it comes to booking holidays ... the busiest period for summer holidays is January and February. It won't be at the forefront or people's minds when they come to book."

    Know what? After that comment - and ignoring the 'short memory' of the grieving families - if I was any sort of editor or sleuthing reporter, I'd mark my diary for every single date in the tourism calendar and run monoxidal reminders to readers to include 'breathing healthy' (or just breathing, period) at the forefront of their minds when choosing an idyllic sunshine holiday destination.

    A Good Idea at the Time

    In addition to the impish Oldie, de rigueur  reading 'neath the corfucian bower is the sprightly Spectator, edited with scary aplomb by the youthful Matt d'Ancona .

    Even when the actual articles go over my head, I have Japistos' excellent back-page competitions.

    A recent one invited readers to submit a poem or prose ending with the phrase, 'It seemed like a good idea at the time', words 'applied in retrospect, jocularly or ruefully, to anything done impulsively with disastrous consequences, whether or not those were foreseeable at the moment of action.'

    Runner-up (and shoulda been the winner) was this hilarious entry by one Brian Murdoch.

    'Course, at the time  there wasn't any, just an infinite amount of, well, infinity, but I gave Myself a week and got creating.

    After I'd done the heavens and got the earth sorted, I called in the lads to help - not Lucifer, of course, who'd gone off in a huff, never found out where.

    We had some laughs with the animals.

    When Gabriel did the walrus I thought I'd rend the firmament!

    It was Uriel - he was a right piss-artist - got Me to do a teeny-weeny version of Myself, only less effable, and then I did another one with not so many bits and not as hairy.

    I can't remember who came up with the reproduction idea - we'd all been on the cocktails for aeons by then.

    In the end we buggered off and left them to it.

    But it seemed like a good idea at the time."

    01 November 2006


    The Pythonesque fuss over chameleon comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's creation, "Borat Sagdiyev", is reaching a farcical level.

    How SBC's publicists must be gloating.

    The slab-faced Kazakhstani pols must be out of their minds to take it this seriously and far: TV appearances to contradict the movie? Press releases of healthy GDP and victorious peasantry enjoying the good life? Pathetic.

    Meanwhile, I see Ali G DVDs being sported all round downtown Kerkira.

  • Banned Book: Also check out BS's cheeky pic book
  • Box Office Hit: Double the Estimate ~ Of course it's a hit. This is exactly the accurate Ameri-mockery that goes down so well in and with the States. I was asked last night why, despite its melting pot nationalities and sheer size, America only manages a prudish, prurient and parochial hold on life. I couldn't say, but it sounds as if this movie applies a pretty funny microscope to exactly that aspect of that sprawling country.