Just a few smallish items…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s elephant in the room is the one showing off by standing on one leg on the coffee table.

Excuses for being late. No. 350.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I was practising my Masonic handshakes.

A single overheard remark:
‘No Dan, it was an extraordinary wallaby…’

An observation:
It was miniature nose day in town yesterday; everyone had a small nose – people with normal sized or big ones weren’t allowed in – the local Nose Police were stationed on all roads in and out of the city.

Oh dear, what a state I’m in! I don’t know whether I’m going to flounder or founder…

I have the radio on at the moment; I’m sure I heard a posh sounding woman just say, ‘No, but I am hope-timistic…’

It’s spam time again!
I seem to getting a lot of quite interesting items of spam in my comments box these days – perhaps I should collect several of them together and use them to do a special ‘all spam’ post? What do you think dear reader?
Anyway, here is one from this morning to be going on with – it seems to be from someone called Brycet:
The envelope method is a well tested budgeting strategy that will work nicely should you have a difficult time staying inside their spending budget. Cash out your paycheck at each pay period and placed a predetermined level of cash into every single envelope for each and every range on your finances. Then you can only devote the cash that you have for each product. It helps prevent you against exceeding your budget as you do have an aesthetic for the purpose is left. Ensure your wedding suppliers are from the maximum quality. It is simple for companies to lose vision of the necessity of your day should they be interested in shell out than assistance. Study your vendors and be sure they have got set up guidelines in place for decorum at any function.
Well, thank you Brycet, I was beginning to worry about my chosen vendors, but you have cleared things up nicely for me – thank you again, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch again.

Yes, I’m thinking of changing my name to Manny Festo.

A pithy remark about my home town:
Hull is a city standing at the road crossing where no one has bothered pressing the button.

A single overheard remark:
‘So then of course they had to get a brand new door!…’

Posted in brain, conversation, cool, dreaming, Dulltown, finance, Hull.UK., humour, information, money, observations, overheard, seeing, serendipity, surrealism, words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This is not art. No. 20…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s quotation is from the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (published 1980):
Patrolman Mancuso had put on the tights before the sergeant, who had pushed him out of the precinct and told him to shape up or get off the force.
In the two hours he had been cruising the French Quarter, he had captured no one. Twice things had looked hopeful. He had stopped a man wearing a beret, and asked for a cigarette, but the man had threatened to have him arrested. Then he accosted a young man in a trench coat who was wearing a lady’s hat, but the young man had slapped him across the face and dashed away.

No, this is not art is it?
But gosh, doesn’t it have a presence? You can really feel the weight of the steel pressing down on that flat white concrete can’t you? Can we use that word ‘beauty’ (very unpopular these days) here without getting too embarrassed dear reader?
This piece of sculpture (yes, dear reader, it’s sculpture if I say it is! I’m writing this tosh, not you!) has a form that is finely determined by its purpose in the world – no wishy-washy ‘aesthetic’ curves here – no superfluity upsetting things, every line is essential for its strength and durability – the human designer-engineer definitely had his or her finger on the pulse of nature when this fine thing was created. I’ll bet Henry Moore would spot this, walk over to it, and say, ‘Ee… That’s a right nice piece!’, (also he might be thinking, Seated Hunched Figures…) and even Sir Anthony Caro might warm to it too…

This picture was taken about a year ago when the whole of Dulltown city centre was being dug up and re-paved with expensive stone blocks ready for the UK City of Culture 2017, which we are all currently suffering. Oh, I’m probably being a bit too harsh on this wonderful culture thing… No, no, I’m not…

So, this thing in the photograph is the bucket from a one of the diggers that had been preparing the ground for the new paving. Doesn’t nature’s rust look nicely dark and gritty against the human’s pale fresh concrete curing in the sunshine? How about the shadow cast across by the temporary plastic fencing that supposedly separated the workers and the grunting machines from the confused shoppers? It really adds something to my off-centre composition doesn’t it?
I suppose my photo is art, but the bucket, though remarkably impressive, isn’t I’m afraid – but, as I always say on these occasions, I’ve seen far less interesting things in posh galleries…

Posted in art, books, brain, celebrities, composition, creation, design, Dulltown, Hull.UK., observations, photography, reading, sculpture, seeing, serendipity, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Messing with letters… Yoddity?…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s doubled up simile is, as bald as two coots.

Here is a simple, but annoying puzzle involving the letter ‘Y’. This is the final one of these dear reader, I have now done posts like this on all the other useable letters of the alphabet.

Yes it does look like a poem doesn’t it? But it isn’t one.
I call this the ‘Blocksmith Puzzle’ because its origin is in a keyboard error I once noticed I’d made typing the word ‘locksmith’.
It is a nice word, ‘blocksmith’…

Some of the letter ‘Y’s have been deliberately loosened from this page; please tip all the following words into a small bag, give it a good shake, and then tip them out to see if order can spontaneously arise from chaos.

achting yelbows eti yup

oungster yoctopus  odelling yobject

ams yomelette apping yabbey

ule yink ellow yindigo

elping yoats ield yelfish

in & ang yupshot orkshire yamethyst

ourself yankh oke yoddity

esterday yitching ogurt yestuary

ears yomnibus iddish yewe

awning yukulele eah yoctet

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But everybody likes Charlie Chaplin Dave…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity is the snake-headed one from Hermopolis Magna, the goddess Hauhet. Her associations are: primeval, formlessness, and flood force.

I think I’ve always been a bit of an ‘outsider’ – ever since I can remember people I pass in the street have always given me suspicious looks, I can see them thinking, Hey, look at him – he’s not one of us…
I think I become aware of this more when I hear people talk about the things, and the celebrities, the artists, writers, musicians etc. that they like and admire.

As I sat in the cafe the other day, pondering on existence, the slight ache in my right shoulder, the meaning of life, what exactly art is, and wondering why they had stopped doing the usual chocolate muffins, I thought that it might be interesting to make a short list of just one or two people, and things, which seem to be universally popular, but which for some reason don’t move me or engage my interest…

Bob Marley
Elvis Presley
William and Harry
Elton John
Indiana Jones films
Clint Eastwood
Billy Connolly
The Wizard of Oz
The Cohen Brothers films
J R R Tolkien
W A Mozart
Francis Bacon
Harry Potter
David Bowie
Johnny Cash
Gustav Klimt
Amy Winehouse
T S Eliot
Charlie Chaplin films
Twin Peaks
Frank Sinatra
Billie Holiday
Mumford and Sons
Her Majesty the Queen
Georgia O’Keeffe
Game of Thrones
Harold Pinter
Damien Hirst
Alberto Giacometti
Jane Austen
Tracey Emin
Stevie Wonder
Paul Simon
Citizen Kane
Star Wars films
Ella Fitzgerald
Frida Kahlo
David Hockney
Leonard Cohen
Michael Jackson
Dr Who
…oh, and that insipid song Always take the weather with you.

Posted in archeology, art, cafe, celebrities, existentialism, Grumpiness, information, music, people, religion, thinking, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Then suddenly you tread on his corn…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s existential angst is centred around the plangent sound of the word ‘plangent’.

Good god! What a nasty looking bunch!…
This is the cover of a British 1960s pulp supernatural thriller, another tattered Badger Book from my modest collection. Even the little badger on the company logo looks a bit downcast doesn’t he? It is obviously written by the author of almost all of the supernatural and the science fiction Badgers, Robert Lionel Fanthorpe MBIS (Member of the British Interplanetary Society) – ‘Trebor’ being Robert spelled backward and ‘Thorpe’ being half of his surname. Shall we flip the book over and see what the blurb on the back cover can tell us of what is in store, should we wish to dive in dear reader?
The day the new (London Underground) line was opened…
…not even the most painstaking architect and the superbly conscientious surveyor could have any inkling of the subterranean Druid Temple through which the new line ran. Power that lay dormant in the cold black earth. Lines ran over the earth. Electric rails throbbed at 50 cycles a second and something of the forgotten power began to stir…
The nightmares came first, then he (Howard) woke up screaming with blood on his hands, and the terrible secret of the five personalities in the one body hit him like the blast on an H-bomb!
Me – I’m scared already! But let’s turn back to the front cover and its ugly quintet of misfits. The painting is not by the usual, and rather good, Badger Book cover artist Henry Fox, but by someone called – I can’t quite make out the signature – it looks to me like Gymeo – is that a real name? Oh, never mind…
I was about to ask who these people are, but no need, they are obviously all depictions of the various moods in which the aforementioned Howard regularly finds himself when he wakes up in the morning – oh, those mean Druids! Don’t you think that one at the front looks a bit like the 1940s – 1950s Hollywood star James Cagney?
Come on, let’s dip in and sample some of the writing style:
“It appeared that I had been reading from it… I laid the book down, and felt terribly self-conscious. I remember blushing, then I looked down at myself, I was wearing a bright, check suit. Oh, it was ghastly! Like a bookmaker gone mad, or a clown out of a circus.”
“We seem to ha’ been battering our heads against one brick wall after another. I’m convinced that if we only had the sense to batter in the right place, one of those brick walls would turn out to be no more than a paper hoop. But we haven’t hit the right place. We seem to be battering on the wood. We cannot find the paper. Nothing will give. It’s like standing there havin’ a slogging match with some man six-foot high with a tin stomach. You dinna feel he’s got a weak place at all, then suddenly you tread on his corn – and he surrenders…”
As a starving man has to reach food, as a drunkard needs his bottle, as a mosquito in the breeding season reaches for a water hole; as a chain smoker needs a cigarette; as a drug addict need opium; as an electric lamp needs current; as a fire needs coal; as a river needs water; he needed that light… It carried him on through walls and furniture; through rafters; joists; bricks; mortar; cement… through strange intangible objects that seemed to impede his progress… Phantoms of the newly-dead…

Posted in archeology, art, books, cool, creation, existentialism, history, humour, information, painting, reading, style, surrealism, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Some song lyrics misheard over the cafe hubbub…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s heraldic term is ‘rampant’ – of a beast, rearing up to fight.
When I was having my coat of arms done I wanted a ‘hamster rampant’, but the College of Heralds would have none of it and said that I was ‘taking the piss’ out of the whole tradition and history of the thing. (Rampant)

‘Whay-hey-hey, whoo-oo-oo!…’
‘Girl, you can change your ocean…’
‘I’m up in cheese, a walkin’ no bee – oh bee!’
‘I paint a picture – a smile overcoat maybe?’
‘Me, me – we all be creeps, torn rags…’
‘That night, I be pie, I’ll be pea, I paint the sky.’
‘A broken heart, I gotta notch now…’
‘Hi-di-hi, my ears together – it’s awful.’
‘Two leaves… stop, stop, stop! I rooftops now!’
‘Bullets seethe, New York, New York…’
‘I wanna hey, wanna hey!… Hey!…’
‘Plunky habits, you never know he dissin blue Babe.’
‘New York, yeah yeah, yee, yee…’
‘Diddy-diddy-dee, coping stones, coping stones!’
‘You be pretzels, you… You better take ’em!’
‘A moving calumny – an awful long…’
‘You suck what tensions that you make darlin’…’
‘It’s the saddles in your mind – in your mind…’
‘Just like a paper, in the sky.’
‘Curly phone ya, curly phone ya, California…’
‘Especially uh-whoo, uh-whoo… Wool it up! Wool it up!’
‘You caught me down… You call me Rosy…’

For some information on how these lines are compiled you could click here.

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When cool, add the musk…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s dictionary words are: chawdron, chasuble, chassepot, chasmogamy, chausses, and bilimbi. Please have these words looked up and placed in suitable sentences ready for Professor Mouldie first thing after breakfast tomorrow morning. Should the professor turn up wearing a brightly coloured close-fitting Lycra cycling outfit, with matching helmet, you should not let this distract you from your studies; it might also be beneficial for you to mention how young and slim the professor is looking.

It smells of something… It’s a funny, old-fashioned sort of smell… and not too pleasant…
The book that is – I just opened it and it arose from the old yellowed pages. Yes, I think the smell is that of cough medicine, it has a hint of bitumen about it. I expect that many years ago when someone was consulting the book, The Daily Express Enquire Within (1934), looking for cough and cold remedies they accidentally dripped or even sneezed some of their medicine into it… Hm…

Anyway, here is a picture of the title page – nice emblem isn’t it? I suppose this book was the Google of its day – everything that a nice middle class British family needed to know in order to run their lives efficiently was contained between these covers. Shall we dip in and have a look dear reader? Across the head of each page is printed a proverb or some pithy words of wisdom – I will include some of these with today’s selection:

Page 70. (Thrive by honesty, or remain poor.)
Half-Pay Pudding.
Four ounces of each of the following ingredients, viz. suet, flour, currants, raisins, and bread crumbs; two tablespoons of treacle, half a pint of milk – all of which must be well mixed together, and boiled in a mould, for four hours.

Page 361. (Beginning and ending shake hands.)
Hints to Shopkeepers.
viii. Civility.
A kind and obliging manner carries with it an indescribable charm. It must not be a manner which indicates a mean, grovelling, time-serving spirit, but a plain, open, and agreeable demeanour, which seems to desire to oblige for the pleasure of doing so, and not for the sake of squeezing an extra penny out of a customer’s pocket.

Page 451. (Every man’s house is his castle.)
To Stuff Birds, Animals, &c.
Preservative soap. – An excellent preservative soap may be made of the following ingredients: one and a half pounds of whiting, half a pound of white soap, half an ounce of chloride of lime, half an ounce of tincture of musk. Boil the soap and whiting in one pint of water until soap is dissolved. Pound the chloride of lime in a mortar and add to the mixture while hot, stirring the while. When cool, add the musk. Care should be taken not to inhale the fumes when stirring.

Page 183. (A cow consumes 100 pounds of green food daily.)
Rules of Whist.
xv. The penalty for a revoke – either by wrongfully trumping the suit led, or by playing the card of another suit – is the loss of three tricks; but no revoke can be claimed till the cards are abandoned, and the trick turned.
[Revokes forfeit three tricks from the hand or score, or opponents may add three to their score; partner may ask and correct a trick if not turned; the revoking side cannot score out in that deal.]

Page 421. (Money is a good servant but a bad master.)
Ground Glass Imitated.
The frosted appearance of ground glass may be very nearly imitated by gently dabbing the glass over with a pint brush dipped in white paint or any other oil colour. The paint should be thin, and but very little colour taken up at one time on the end of the bristles. When applied with a light even touch the resemblance is considerable.

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