Farty's Fortunes

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Up On The Roof

Embra is a busy old place during the festival, so I decided to get away from the hustling crowd and all that rat-race noise etc.

While I was up there, this tune drifted into my head from thirty years ago. You may like to listen while you peruse these pictures.

Bee on ThistleThistles (Pentlands in background)A Wee FlooerA Steep ClimbSalisbury Crags

If You're Easily Offended, Look Away Now

Lord Lucan, Shergar and Madelaine McCann walk into a bar. The barman says, "Is this some kind of sick joke?"

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

We interrupt this cynicism to bring a little happiness

Saw this lovely item in the Sun today, of all places. Doesn't it inspire you and fill you with joy?

Here's a nice video to go with it.


Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

"Q, You Are A Shite..."

"...For Shore Eyesh." Yes, it's Sean Connery's birthday. The first proper James Bond was born and bred in...wait for it...Embra! Happy Birthday, 007!

This global warming is freaking me out, Embra's now into its fourth sunny day in a row after almost four months of cloud and rain. Well, mustn't grumble. Let's see what's in the news...

Timothy Brady has been done for speeding - or should that be flying without a pilot's licence? 172mph? That's more than a hundred miles per hour above the speed limit. Why on earth do they even make cars that can achieve these speeds?

Boffins (dontcha luv that word?) have discovered a Hole In Space almost a thousand million light years across. It's completely empty - no stars, no galaxies, no dark matter, not even dust. The void can be found between the ears of Timothy Brady.

A German woman was outraged after finding that she'd been having sex with her boyfriend's brother. Her BF, who was embarrased about having a tiny willy, would insist on putting the lights out before bonking her. In the darkness, he would then swap places with his brother (hiding in the toilet), who would satisfy the GF before switching places once more. Sounds suspiciously like the one about the woman who turned the light on to discover her not-too-well-endowed husband of twenty years diddling her with a dildo. When she asked him to explain himself, he replied, "Only after you explain the kids."

A Neighbourhood Watch scheme in Lancashire has recruited a burglar to help them combat crime. So far, Marcell Vollings has allegedly suggested keeping jewellery on display, so that you can tell if it's gone missing; leaving keys in the ignition, to save looking for them when you go out; and avoiding labelling white goods with UV ink, in case you want to sell them later.

One more? Flat-chested policewomen in the Northern Constabulary have been ordered to wear fluorescent clothing so that members of the public know who to point and laugh at. You couldn't make it up. Well, you could, but it wouldn't be half as funny.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Mushed Gay Tears Oranged

Little Miss Farty and BF went to see The Foo Fighters last night. BF, being a drummer, was over the moon that he even got to shake hands with Taylor Hawkins, or as LMF called him, Trey Parker. It's an easy mistake to make, and it leads nicely into today's post.

When I was wee, my mum used to put the clothes to dry in the "airm cupboard". I had mental images of airms, or arms, being stacked up alongside the clothes. As you do when you're five. I was quite disappointed to learn, later in life, that it was in fact called the airing cupboard. Boo!

Apparently this sort of thing is sometimes known as a mondegreen, after the tragic historical character Lady Mondegreen. Well, it is if you believe that mangy dog, the pet of a million flies.

New Scientist recently mentioned how a dragon drop interface for a new program turned out to be a misheard transcription and should have been the more prosaic "drag and drop". (On the subject of dragons, I now hear that Welsh Dragon Sausages only may contain traces of dragon. What's the world coming to?)

And I could swear I heard The X Factor referred to as a "talent show". Shome mishtake shurely?

The British Citizenship Test certainly has some odd questions in it. How much more interesting would it be, though, if Johnny Foreigner had to translate the story of Ladle Rat Rotten Hut into proper English to gain citizenship?

I doubt if even the best supercomputer could manage that, it's notoriously hard to get a machine to recognise speech.

I wonder if there's an expression for when the reverse happens? It was only after Frasier finished airing (see what I did there?) that I saw Jane "Daphne" Leeves reveal, in an interview, that she'd set up a production company called Bristol Cities. No-one in Merka would ever get the joke - it's Cockernee rhyming slang for a word beginning with T. Until that moment, although I'd heard - and even used - the word "Bristols" for decades, I'd simply never twigged its derivation.

--Dr Angus McFarty, C.O.S., L.Gem, Iceberg & Webb's Wonder.
(I've got lettuce after my name)

Monday, 20 August 2007

Eight Things About Me

Tagged a while ago for this, possibly by Jahooni, and only just got a round tuit. Eight, eh?

  1. I once wrote a letter to Isaac Asimov.
    The BBC had been screening a Merkan tv series called Holmes and Yo-Yo, about a human police detective and his robot side-kick. This idea was obviously stolen from Asimov's novel The Caves Of Steel and other stories featuring the robot detective R. Daneel Olivaw. So I wrote and asked Asimov if he was collecting royalties on the series. He wrote back denying that H & Y was anything to do with him. If you've ever seen it, you'll know why.

  2. I gave my girlfriend a butterfly for Xmas.
    Embra generally gets even colder in December than in "Summer". So imagine my surprise when I woke up on Xmas Eve 1972 (possibly) and found a newly-hatched butterfly fluttering around in the relative warmth of the kitchen. I fed it some sugar water and gave it to my then girlfriend as a surprise Xmas present. She didn't dump me on the spot, so I guess she was fairly impressed.

  3. I'm a bad male model.
    Actually, that should read bad rôle model. One of the local kids, G, had overheard his parents gossiping about me, so he repeated it to his mates. Who completely misinterpreted what they'd heard, like Chinese Wispas. The first I knew about it was when they asked me if I was a male model, so I strutted my stuff up and down an imaginary catwalk, to general hilarity. Then they all turned and pointed at G, shouting Numpty!
    (I have no idea why G's parents thought I was a bad rôle model, I've never been banned for drink-driving.)

  4. I once stopped drinking tea for four years.
    When I was twelve, I went on a school cruise to Scandinavia. The ship struck Leith docks on the way out - our cabin received a rather large dent in the wall, i.e. hull. I was seasick for the first two days. For hot beverages we had a choice of tea or coffee, with nowhere else to go. The tea tasted like, well, it's hard to describe, but let's just say that it was so bloody awful that for the next four years I would only drink coffee. I had a great time.

  5. I'm heavily into recycling.
    To prove it, here's a recycled joke:
    Two blondes, let's call them Sam and Amanda, are in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Sam says, "Let's play Hide & Seek!" and promptly buries her head in the sand. Amanda takes three days to find her twin.

  6. The first time I read The Lord Of The Rings, it took me three days to finish it.
    Hey, who needs sleep when you're fourteen?

  7. I'm the world's worst darts player.
    During one game, I managed to throw a dart through a window. Well, it would have gone through if the window had been open at the time. As it was, only the point came out the other side. Ooer.

  8. I love the song Over The Rainbow.
    Especially the Tori Amos version, but also Eva Cassidy. And when they played this one at the end of 50 First Dates, I just had to track it down. It's by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Beautiful.

Tagging, lets' see, Cat, Mr. X and Brom.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

On Holiday. Again.

Yay, I'm on holiday now! That explains why it's been pissing down all day. Grr!

And before you ask, no. Thank you for your kind offer, but I wouldn't even trust The Pope to write my blog while I'm away. I don't want my oeuvre to get polluted by some other twat's witterings. Who would be stupid enough to hand their blog over to a bunch of complete strangers while they go swanning off around France?

Definition of an intellectual: someone who can hear Carmina Burana's O Fortuna without thinking of The X Factor. God, that Cowell's annoying, even if though he is right.

I've been meaning to shorten my bogroll to a single sheet for a while, and tracked down some source code today. Not as clever as Enidd, but it'll do until I learn myself how to do Javascript.

Note to potential burglars: I'm not actually going away going away, just turning the lights on and off on a very regular basis and leaving the curtains slightly open for a couple of weeks. So don't try anything, right?

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Cool, Clear Water

I am on a training course, learning about the most exciting development in IT since the last one. Struggling to stay awake, I stand up, cross the room and start to pour myself some bottled water. The label on the bottle, being somewhat more interesting than the course material, engages my attention. It is a piece of copywriting gold.

The cool, clear, natural mineral water sourced from the Caledonian spring on the Eastern edge of the Campsie Fells is one of Scotland's purest mineral waters. For centuries the Campsie fault has guided and filtered the Scottish rains through layers of volcanic rock to create an underground source of purified natural mineral water. Caledonian mineral water is exclusively bottled on a protected estate owned by one family since 1508.

Let's just check that...
Natural - check
Filtered - check
Pure - check

Sounds perfect. All I have to do is raise it to my lips and - wait, what's this?

Best before June 2009.

Um. Excuse me? Could you just run that by me again?

The cool, clear, natural mineral water -

No, the bit at the end.

Best before June 2009.

Oh, right. Because after centuries of filtering through volcanic rock, and then being stored in a hermetically sealed bottle, it might go off within the the next two years?

No, after the next two years. Well, one year and ten months now. Come on, drink up.

Ah, that's all right then. Mmmm, tastes really, er, tasteless. What did you say was in it again?

Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Bicarbonate, Sulphate, Nitrate, Fluoride, Chloride, Silicate.

Can't get much purer than that.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Political Correctness Gone Differently Sane

  • Ramadana Ding-Dong
    Embra hospital workers have been told not to eat at their desks to avoid offending Muslim colleagues during Ramadan. And Muslim doctors have been requested not to drive burning jeeps into Scotch airport lounges during the summer holiday period.Muslim Jeep

  • Walking Two Short Planks
    Insurers threatened to pull the plug on the annual Plank-Walking Championships in Kent unless entrance forms were amended to warn contestants that "plank-walking may make you wet". Visitors to the Vatican have also been warned to look out for Catholic Popes and hikers planning on taking a stroll in the woods should mind their step.Walking The Plank

  • Rubbish Flowers
    Paul Newman - who appears to have eschewed Hollywood for Bedshampton in Hampshire - has been snubbed by garbage disposal operatives after leaving a bunch of dead flowers in his household waste. They'd prefer that he puts the lilies in the back of his truck and drives the twenty-mile round trip to the dump to dispose of them in an environmentally-friendly way. With the emphasis on "mental".A Lily Yesterday

  • Barking Mad
    Feliciana P. Harrell was arrested in Wisconsin after she "barked at and agitated a K-9 dog". How do you agitate a tin dog?Tin Dog

  • Losing The Plot
    June Turnbull, whose gardening skills at the entrance to the high street helped win Urchfont the Best Kept Village Of The Year award, has been given a cease-and-desist order for failing to wear a fluorescent jacket, place women-at-work warning signs or have a second person standing by whenever she wanted to go along and do a bit of weeding. The order comes from Wiltshire County Council, whose county seat lies in Salisbury. Sour grapes or what?Salisbury Flower Show

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Tonight's The Night

"If the stars should appear just one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore!" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I turned on the news for no good reason tonight. Lucky that I did, for I was abruptly reminded that the Perseid meteor shower was due about...now.

So of course I dashed outside, then dashed back inside and persuaded Mrs Farty to turn off all the lights. Embra is abominable for star-gazing as it is, no point making it harder for yourself.

Sure enough, there were clouds aplenty stretching from one horizon to the other, but one or two promising gaps opened up just as my eyes started to adjust to the dark. I watched and waited...and waited...and waited. To pass the time, I tried to see if I could identify any constellations. Fat chance, I could hardly see any stars, let alone groups.

I moved around, trying to find the best position not to be night-blinded by street-lights, security lights and house lights from the surrounding buildings. And then, just as the clouds began to close in once more, a solitary flash, a thin white streak across the southern sky, and it was gone.

Did I imagine it? Was I so desperate to see something that I just made it up in my head? I noted that it had come from the North-East, heading South-West and aligned with the right arm of that big 'W' shape. Dur, that would be Cassiopeia. Why didn't I notice that before?

Back indoors, a quick look at a star chart shows that the Perseids do indeed originate in the North-Eastern part of the sky. Excited? I'm like a dog with two tails!

Just going to grab a coat and nip back outside. Er, I may be some time.

Some meteors in 1833.


Well, I didn't imagine that one! The low-lying clouds had scattered by the time I finished my post, with just a thin haze of orange across the sky, so I lay on my back, put my arms behind my head and settled down. Within just five minutes a much longer streak shot across my view to the South-East this time, ending in a bright spark. This one seemed to come more from the North, I dunno. A few seconds later, I swear I heard the sound of distant thunder. I like this game!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Gone Phishin' Part 2

I've had another Fraud alert from my bank. Thank goodness someone's on the case or I'd be losing my non-existent cash hand over fist.

From: Nationwide Internet Banking.® [actually orquestapromusicabenidorm dot com]
To: MrFarty@BlueYonder.co.uk [who does all his banking at Nationwide]
Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2007 2:26 PM
Subject: Nationwide Internet Banking.® (Online Banking Security Notification)


To Our Value [sic] Customer,

We are very much concerned about the credibility and efficiency of our online banking system. In doing this, we annually renew and upgrade our equipments [sic] to ensure maximum efficiency of our banking activities.

We are presently working on our secure servers to protect our online customers from online Fraud [as against offline Fraud]. More so, we have improved our banking system with up-to-date machineries [e.g. spambots] to enable [our] fast and easy access to your online banking accounts.

However,failure to update your Nationwide Account after 48hrs of notice might lead to restriction of online account access. [if you had any to begin with]

Update Your Nationwide Account Details. (Update Information)

Thank You.

Mangement [sic]

Nationwide Internet Banking.

Honestly, their command of English is worse than my grasp of Latin.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Indistinguishable From Magic

Isn't it marvellous, the way all those ideas that used to be pure fantasy, then science fiction, have been developed into credible scientific theories and built into real, useable technology?

  • Crystal balls
  • Only a hundred years ago, people scoffed at the idea that one day, if would be possible to see major world events, as they took place, on the other side of the planet. Like Paris Hilton being jailed for drink-driving or some cow being given a death sentence. Must...resist...posting...minger...picture...

  • Alien planets
  • Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600 for even suggesting that there might be other worlds inhabited by other beings. To date, more than 200 alien worlds have been discovered. Probly. It's hard to be sure, all you see is a tiny wobble in a star's motion or a brief dimming in its brightness. But the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence continues unabated. As scientists say, we just need more money research.

  • Teleportation
  • Just imagine being able to walk into a booth in Sydney, Australia, dial in a code and emerge seconds later in Kentucky, USA. Dream on - so far, they've got as far as teleporting a single atom held at a temperature close to absolute zero. Besides, who in their right mind would want to go to Kinfucky?

  • Invisibility Cloak
  • This story finds its roots way back in Greek mythology. More recently, Frodo, er, Harry made use of a similar device to escape detection. Just last year, scientists developed a working cloak shed of invisibility. Better known to us lesser mortals as a shed.

    Now You See ThemNow You Don't

  • Levitation
  • Who wouldn't give their eye teeth to fly on a A Flying Carpet yesterdaymagic carpet? Cue A Whole New World and all that Disney shite. Yes, of course it would be amazingly brilliant, in theory. But have you considered the practicalities? Fending off the squeegee brigade while you wait at busy airborne intersections. Spending all your time hoovering up dead flies and that. Still, the high-speed chases would be much more exciting.

  • Time Travel
  • Hop in the Tardis with Dr Who, step back in time and see Kylie Minogue in the bath. I Should Be So Lucky. But Professor Amos Ori now thinks it might just be possible, using an envelope filled with dust. [You're yanking my chain, right? Ed.] No, really.

  • Cold Fusion
  • Limitless energy, virtually for free. All you need is a few million dollars, twenty years and a gullible sponsor. Or you could stick with hot fusion, which costs a gazillion dollars and will deliver commercial results in forty years. Or so they tell us every forty years. Sigh. Looks like we're stuck with the big round yellow thing meantime.

Monday, 6 August 2007

August 6



Saturday, 4 August 2007

A Quiet Week


Not much here in Embra. Some Philistines have desecrated (oh, that's a good word, must use it some more) the National Gallery of Scotland by wrapping some Campbell's Soup tins around the Doric (or is it Ionic?) columns at the entrance. It looks bloody awful, so I won't assault your eyes with a picture. I don't know much about art, and apparently neither does Andy Warhol.

I was late for work after a kilt shop went on fire in Princes Street on Friday. When buildings in the Weeg go on fire, it's usually an insurance job, but here it's more commonly some developer fed up with trying to get listed building consent to knock it down. Meh.

We had a shark here on a day trip from the West Coast. Maybe it was here for the fire sale? It had better watch out for hungry Japanese tourists.

The Embra Festival starts today, whatever that is. I'm planning to go and watch Jihad The Musical, to gain some insight into how people from other cultures live. *cough*

Which reminds me. There's an excerpt from Bin Liner's blog over at Celebrity Litigation. And another one from Jesus. You should go and read it, it's very funny. I should know.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Trust No-One

Nowadays, it's best to take anything you see on the telly with a large pinch of salt. What with rigged phone votes, invented arguments between Brenda and some foreign snapper, and now ITV faking the death of an Alzheimer's patient, next thing you know NASA will be admitting that the Apollo Moon Landings were filmed in Hollywood. Thank goodness we have t'internet, which is well known for its truthfulness and honesty.


Anyway, what's in the news this week? Animals, that's what.

A Cat YesterdayFirst we have Shipman, the tabby who lives in a Rhode Island nursing home. Once he's given you the cat-scan of death, you'd better start scribbling your will.

Then there's the Doctor Who Woo won a million dollar prize after successfully creating the first human-porcine hybrid. Jade GoodyPig-Man

And now we have the Oxford Goose creating a flap. As it were.

Right. That's me. Off to read Gordon Brown's blog now. You can always trust a Scotchman.