Saturday, 31 January 2009

National Gorilla Suit Day

Happy National Gorilla Suit Day from Ephemeral Isle!

The Thing From Another World

An intellectual carrot? The mind boggles!

Friday, 30 January 2009

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Shovels the snow off your drive. Hunts for Sarah Connor.



This sort of thing produces one of those rare moments when I regret working at home. Instead of conquering the office, I'd have to content myself with terrorising the dogs and that gets old once they refuse to come out from under the bed.

It's Your Funeral

Retiring Number Two: I can think of better ways to die.
The Prisoner: And better causes to die for

Monday, 26 January 2009

eCO2 Watch

A wristwatch that allegedly removes 12.56 pounds of carbon dioxide a day from the atmosphere and emits "clean air".

Is the designer:
a) Under the delusion that CO2 is a pollutant and therefore removing it doesn't make the air any "cleaner".
b) Unaware that the CO2 has to go somewhere and that his watch violates several physical laws.
c) Unwilling to do the maths and therefore doesn't realise that even if the thing works as advertised it wouldn't make a tinker's damn worth of difference.
d) A con artist or a complete twit.

Taiyou Ropeway

Yet another attraction designed to leave me a gibbering wreck and threatening to kill the operator with a blunt instrument of indeterminate description if he doesn't get me off this damn thing NOW!!!!!

Caution: Contains Eggs

Oh, dear God in Heaven. I think I just heard civilisation crash.

Changed Mission

The NHS has decided that healing the sick is too much like hard work, so it's tackling something simpler, like Saving the Planet­™ by taking meat off the menu once a week to (all together now!) combat global warming.

CO2 is the universal solvent of green politics; invoke it, and ancient liberties dissolve.

Hammer into Anvil

Number Two: Du musst amboss oder Hammer sein.
Number Six: You must be anvil or hammer.
Number Two: I see you know your Goethe.
Number Six: And you see me as the anvil?
Number Two: Precisely. I am going to hammer you.

Friday, 23 January 2009


Number 6: You still have an independent mind... There are very few of us left.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Chriac Mauled by Clinically Depressed Poodle

It isn't often that justice falls into such perfect poetic balance.

Bulletproof Bathtub

Presenting for you enjoyment a bathtub made out of bulletproof glass. On the plus side, it will stop high-velocity sniper rounds in their tracks. On the minus, the would-be assassin will be able to see you chubby thighs.

So if you're a person at risk of violent death who is completely unashamed of your body, then this is the tub for you.

Dance of the Dead

Town Crier: A proclamation: All citizens take notice that carnival is decreed for tonight. Turn back the clock. There will be music, dancing, happiness, all at the carnival, by order.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Obama Plus One

I have a simple proposal for future US presidential inaugurations: All the ex-presidents should take the new guy out the night before the swearing in and get him really, really drunk so that as he's poured into the limo for the ceremony he has a hangover the size of Maryland. It may not cause any real improvement in American governance, but it should make the inauguration day a lot more interesting and the speeches a lot shorter (My fellow Americans... Excuse me! Make a hole, dammit!). We might also gain some insights into the character of the most powerful man in the world as he gamely appears at the various parties and tries to avoid eye contact with the shrimp platter. Of course, we haven't seen anything like that since Grant, so I'm not holding out much hope.

I tend to avoid presidential inaugurations for more interesting things, like my dentist lecturing me on gum disease, but the "historic" Obama swearing in has been blaring out so many media outlets that you literally could not turn on a television or radio, go to a cinema, walk into a Starbucks, or even pick up a cell phone without the circus jumping out at you, so it was a little hard to avoid. My reaction to it was pretty much what I suspected. It was the usual American version of pomp that the Queen's opening of Parliament manages to trump without even trying, the Big Speech by Obama was his usual boilerplate that the news media instantly declare should be chisled in marble, but no one will remember a word of by the end of the week, the poem was the usual poetry-free zone, and the closing benediction could have won the Great Sermon Handicap. I came away from it all thinking that if this shindig cost $150 million, then someone has trousered a nice little nest egg.

Far more interesting, as in disturbing, was the comments on the proceedings by politicians and media types about the "historic" nature of the Obama presidency. If you aren't already aware, this historiocity is because Mr. Obama is America's first black president.

As I've said before, since I'm not American and I've met my fair share of black statesmen up to and including the rank of president, I couldn't really see the fuss, but apparently this is seen as a symbol of America putting its racist past behind itself and so on and so on. Fine. Fair enough. And if Joe Lieberman had won the election it would no doubt have been equally historic because it meant America had renounced all calls to anti-semitism, but I'm sure more than a few people would have demanded a very large reality check if Mr. Lieberman's Jewishness was harped on every five minutes and the question would be asked whether things were getting a bit out of hand. After all, the whole point of this election was to elect the leader of the free world and the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger, not to select a symbol of black aspiration and liberal white guilt assuagement.

As for this being the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King's dream, it's ironic that the end product of his vision of men being judged by the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin is an election where a large percentage of the voters apparently chose the winning candidate precisely because of his skin. At least, that is the impression of the obsession over an issue that in this day and age should be as trivial as Obama being the first American president to have three nipples.

Regardless, Mr. Obama is now the President of the United States and for all the pressures he will be under when he crawls out from under the ticker tape, at least he won't have to deal with the psychotic hatred that the Left developed for his predecessor. For my part, I am drawing the line at holding him personally responsible for BBC America preempting Top Gear the night before the inauguration. Of course, he shouldn't expect the opposite either and wake up on his first day of office to see the whole nation as one wearing Obama badges, greeting him with a smart salute and a cheery "We're all behind you, Mr. President." The only time I saw that was for FDR and that was in a WPA cartoon where an animated Roosevelt did a happy little song and dance.

Whenever I voice any suspicion of Mr. Obama's fitness for office, I'm invariably told that it's unreasonable and that I should give the man a chance first. "Give him time to show us who he is, what he stands for, and what he's capable of. At the very least, he is your president, too." No, sorry, he isn't. British subject, remember? I don't need to be as deferential as his fellow countrymen should be. I may respect him as head of state because he is the embodiment of the nation and I can no more insult him in that capacity that I can Her Majesty, but as head of government I can call him a fat head if I believe his cranium is a bit heavy in the adipose tissue department and will if the time comes.

Besides, I've been down this "give the guy a chance" path before back in '97 and the guy in question was Tony Blair (who Mr. Obama bears a frightening resemblance to). I went through ten years of everyone giving that mountebank chances and all we've got to show for it is a bankrupt country, a nascent police state, a huge swatch of our ancient institutions destroyed or corrupted, gutted armed forces, out of control illegal immigration, street crime at insane levels, abject surrender to the EU, and Gordon Brown as the albatross he left as his parting shot. If Mr. Blair is any example of what's ahead, maybe, just maybe, it would have been better to find out about Mr. Obama before electing him rather than treating him like a prize in a bran tub. He could be a centrist, a Communist, or a narcissist. He could be awesomely capable or an utter incompetent (which is preferable depends on what he's trying to accomplish, If he's a socialist, I pray he's hopeless at it). We just don't know. Now that we're stuck with him, it seems to me that the only sane attitude to take is an open mind combined with one eye fixed and knees flexed for a punch.

My own suspicion is that he's Tony Blair with the messianic complex replaced by a narcissism so shallow that it makes Bill Clinton look like Woodrow Wilson and that he will try to keep the crest of his popularity riding high by voting "present" for as long as is humanly possible until political debts or unavoidable circumstances force him to act rather than give a stirring speech and then God knows what will happen. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe he'll prove a masterful centrist leader who will bring peace and prosperity and make the lion lie down with the lamb. If so, I'll be the first to applaud, which is infinitely preferable to the cold satisfaction of standing on the fantail of the Titanic telling everyone that I was right about the iceberg. I might also win the lottery even though I never buy a ticket, so I'm not very hopeful. Still, the next couple of years will be interesting times.

And remember what the Chinese said about those.

Many Happy Returns

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The General

Best of luck with your exams.


Trim hedges! *Beep* Obey! Trim hedges! *Beep* Obey! Trim hedges...

Inauguration Day

Even if he did, how else would you expect them to react?

Monday, 19 January 2009

Cockpit View

Flight 1549 as seen from the (simulated) cockpit.

Biggles doffs his flying helmet.

Cirrus MVR bathroom

Compact, collapsible, ultra-modern design. Yes, 200 years later, we've reinvented the tin hip bath!

Bulletproof Relationship

This must have been a fairly interesting marriage

Bob May (1939-2009)

Bob May, AKA Robot B9, has gone to that great launch pad in the sky.

Rest well, you cacophonous collection of cogs.

The Schizoid Man

Number Twelve: Why don't we settle this like gentlemen?
Number Six: You're claiming to be a gentleman too?
Number Twelve: Very good, very good indeed. That line is worthy of me.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Mr Wong, Detective

Sequal to Mr Wong, Bank Manager, which didn't do too well at the box office

Friday, 16 January 2009

Buck Roger Revisited

Just because you can do CGI doesn't mean you should.

Another Nail

The classic Aga cooker is in danger as the manufacturer cuts jobs due to declining sales.

If you've never run across an Aga, then you've missed out on one of the classics of industrial design. Originally created by a Swedish inventor as an aid to the blind, it's a cooker withoput any controls. Instead, the burners and two ovens are always hot with the burners covered by huge insulating lids and the sides of the cooker equally padded so that only a trickle of heat is needed to keep it going. To bake something, just pop it in the oven. To fry something, just lift the lid and plop the pan down. Breathlessly simple.

It's a shame if the Aga passes into history. My aunt and uncle had one and my fondest boyhood memories are of how it kept the farmhouse's kitchen cozy even in the worst winters and was always the perfect place for drying boots. Let's just hope that they stay in business long enough to fulfill my ambition of installing one at Chez Szondy.

Ice Station Zebra

Somebody asked the other day what Ice Station Zebra is.

Three answers:
  1. Howard Hughes's favourite film, which he watched over 500 times
  2. One of Patrick McGoohan's finest performances
  3. 148 minutes of pure entertainment

Free For All

Number 6: Elections? In this place?
Number Two: Of course. We make our choice every 12 months. Every citizen has a choice. Are you going to run?
Number 6: Like blazes, the first chance I get.
Number Two: I meant run for office.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

World Thorium Fuel Concept Car

A car powered by a thorium-fueled nuclear reactor, designed to last a hundred years, and looks like a chromium bat out of Hell.

If they'd just tell me where the *%^@ing door is, I'd buy one.

Patrick McGoohan: 1928-2009

Partick McGoohan, AKA John Drake or No. 6 or "Mr. Jones", if you're an Ice Station Zebra fan (and who isn't?), has passed on.

Be seeing you.

A B and C

This is a dreamy party!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Coffee Jitters

A study at the University of Durham indicates that too much coffee can cause you to hallucinate and... IIIIEEEEEE!!! Get them off! Get them off! Get them off!

The Acid Test

From The Times article on Tony Blair's future:

Mr Blair is also back in the running as a potential president of Europe, where the economic and military upheavals of recent months have underlined the need for a politician of his stature to lead the union.

The post of a permanent president of the EU’s Council of Ministers was enshrined in the Lisbon treaty, which Irish voters rejected last June. If the Irish change their minds in a new vote next autumn and the Czech Republic also endorses the treaty, the new role could be created next year.

If the EU Constitution Lisbon Treaty is indeed ratified and if Mr. Blair does stand for the presidency of the anti-democratic European Empire that goes under the dubious title of "Union" (and both are ifs at this time), then all benefit of the doubt goes by the board for him and his government in regards to looking after Britain's liberties and interests in relations with Europe and only one word will fit the man: Traitor.

Snail Caviare

Next up: rat cheese.

Diet Plan

So busy these days that you don't have time to eat? Then why not scarf the lot all at one go and be done with it?

Mind you, according to this 1932 Popular Science article, that might be a bit daunting without something to wash it down.

The Chimes of Big Ben

Number Two: Do you still think you can escape, Number Six?
Number Six: Oh, I'll do even better than that.
Number Two: Oh?
Number Six: Going to escape and come back.
Number Two: Come back?
Number Six: Escape, come back, wipe this place off the face of the Earth, obliterate it, and you with it.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Monday, 12 January 2009

National Security? Phffft!

The New York Times has uncovered a secret United States programme designed to sabotage Iran's efforts to build nuclear weapons.

Nice of the NYT to keep it to themselves and avoid putting the lives of millions of people in danger.

Oh, what...

Formula AE

A green supercar that runs on solar power and has a wind turbine inside that provides the car with 20 percent more power from the air rushing past as it speeds along.

And I can lift myself off the ground by my bootstraps.

Freedom Is So Old Fashioned

An Englishman's home is his castle? Not if the bailiffs with their modern, go-ahead powers have anything to say about it.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Friday, 9 January 2009

When The Road Becomes a Lake

Hollywood Conquest

The newest culinary sensation in Hollywood? The full English breakfast complete with black pudding and fried bread.

Civilisation is not yet dead.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

For One Brief, Shining Moment

Barack "HWMNMNBU" Obama has chosen Dr. Sanjay Gupta as the new US Surgeon General.

I feel bitter about this because when the news first reached me, I misheard and thought they said Sanjaya from American Idol had been tapped only to have hope dashed like a Ming vase in a snow blower.

Fate, why do you toy with us?

And Then They Stole His Lunch Money

Barack "He Whose Middle Name May Not be Uttered" Obama had brunch with all the other living US presidents. They told Mr Obama that for the next four years they will refer to him as "New Kid".

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Japan's Next-Generation Space Toilet

Go away. Just go away.

Third Hand Smoke: Scourge Of The 21st Century

And they're saying this with a straight face.

Next up: Fourth-hand smopke causes Lurgi.

Putting It More Succinctly

Dr Payam Rezaie of the Open University's Neuropathology Research Laboratory:

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Satire Past

A 1970s look at today. The accuracy isn't so much in what the "today's" kids are doing as in the utter reluctance of the Boomers to let go of their sordid youth.


Prius Pro & Con

A man in Massachusetts recently powered his house using his Prius as a makeshift generator after the mains were knocked out by an ice storm. This almost made me change my mind about the appalling little things until I recalled that during the recent snow storm at Chez Szondy both our cars were stranded miles away and I doubt that a Prius could get up the mountain any better than the Hunmobile.

Besides, an emergency genny costs about 60 times less than what a Prius goes for and you look less of a burke for owning one.

Morris Dancers Face Extinction

Let's take a step back for a minute while we figure out which side we're on.

Pre-Chewed Pencils

There just aren't enough minutes in the day.

Mars "Colony"

I'm sure that the simulated Mars colony in Hanksville, Utah has its heart in the right place and it does look kind of cool from the outside.

Inside, however, it is less than impressive; looking more like the sort of site huts that I kicked around in during my archaeology days. Somehow, I doubt that plywood will be a major construction material on Mars, nor do I think that hammers and nails will be in great demand.

But my favourite is the fact that the "astronauts" don "spacesuits" before doing an "EVA", or as we call it on earth, putting on silly overalls before going outside. No doubt it's all jolly fun, but wake me when they relocate the camp to the top of Mount Everest or the bottom of Lake Superior and then I'll be more impressed.

Monday, 5 January 2009

K9 In Action

Either incredibly brave, or the man had snausages.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The Man Who Hated Scenes

Well, who wouldn't?

I Wonder If They Do Samplers

God, this is like those appalling coffee bars. Do I want a skinny grande latte with dry foam or a double tall cappuccino with a vanilla shot or do I dare ask for "Coffee"?

Frozen Bubbles

With a cold night, a bit of patience, a little skill, and absolutely nothing else in your life to do, you too can freeze soap bubbles

The New Doctor Who

Matt Smith, age 26, has been named to take over from David Tennant as Doctor Who.

He's not black, a woman, Graham Norton, or (God spare us!) an American, so we should be grateful for small mercies for dodging the character-lethal bullet of stunt casting that would have been on a par with giving Rosie O'Donnell the title role in a remake of Shaft, but you'd have thought they'd have at least cast an actor who shaves more often than once a week.

Update: Get a haircut!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Rendezvous With Tomorrow

Watch more The Time Tunnel videos on AOL Video

Why do Irwin Allen pilots always start out so promising and always fall flat on their faces by the third reel?

Friday, 2 January 2009


One of the lessons I learned as an actor was that chicken wire 'round the stage was always a bad sign.

The Electro-Helmet

An Englishman invents an invisibility helmet in 1934.

Pictures don't lie, you know.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year

As the Scalpel of Time approaches the Frisky Puppy of Destiny, we wish you happy new year from Ephemeral Isle.