I love it when sacred cows lock horns!

May 31, 2005

And now . . . this, from this morning’s edition of CBC’s morning newsmagazine, The Current:

It’s been called the “Magic Bean” – hailed by nutritionists as a wonderfood – it’s rich in protein and apparently cuts the risks of all kinds of diseases. We’re talking about the soy bean. And we’re afraid we’ve got some bad news about a food that’s been called “nature’s medicine.”

Precisely because of these many health claims, there has been a dramatic rise in soy consumption around the world. And while soy bean producers and traders have been rubbing their hands gleefully, environmentalists are worried about the crop’s popularity – especially in Brazil. Because as long as soy remains lucrative, more saws will continue clear bigger swaths of the Amazon rainforest.

Full Story]

It’s also well known that vegetarians are more flatulent than non-vegetarians. Eat meat: save the rainforests and stop global warming. I did my part today at dinner with a nice juicy pepper steak at Kelsey’s.


Deep Throat reveals himself at last

May 31, 2005

Today’s top news story: One of the great mysteries that has fascinated history buffs for 30 years has been solved. Former FBI deputy W. Mark Felt revealed that he was the infamous informant “Deep Throat” who helped WaPo reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein follow the money trail that uncovered the White House coverup of the Watergate break-ins that ultimately brought down Richard Nixon. [Full Story]

Since I was three at the time Nixon resigned, effectively there has never been a time for me without the mystery of Deep Throat. Today’s revelation seems somewhat . . . anticlimactic. I guess a world with one less Big Mystery in it is just a little emptier, somehow.

And now . . . this – May 30/05

May 30, 2005

What is a British pastime sillier than Morris dancing, Alex?

It did, at least, make a change from the traditional bank holiday pastimes of DIY and garden centre visiting. But there was also more danger inherent in chasing a cheese down a hill than you might at first suspect.

Following a patently ridiculous but 200-year-old tradition, dozens of people put their safety at risk yesterday in Gloucestershire to chase cheese down a 1-in-2 incline.

Watched by at least 4,000 spectators, contestants gathered on Cooper’s Hill, in Brockworth, to chase cheeses downhill for 200m, hoping to emerge victorious and win an 8lb double Gloucester as their reward.

[Full Story]

Well, at least it does get style points for silly fun. I think I’ll go out and buy a wedge of Double Gloucester in its honour, especially after reading the last part of the story:

But not everyone was happy with proceedings. Vegans branded the event “unethical” and said the cheese should be replaced with a non-dairy alternative.

Yvonne Taylor, chair of the animal rights campaign group Peta, said: “It’s just not fair that vegans cannot enjoy the fun of the cheese rolling contest.”

Not fair? Ha! Have some cheese with that whine.

Meanwhile, in another part of England

A woman who is wheelchair-bound and “virtually blind” drove her boyfriend home after an evening drinking because he was so drunk, a court heard.

After crashing into two parked cars, Sheree Smith told police that she was not doing too badly until her legs seized up and her eyes “went blank”.

She told officers: “I am virtually blind. I used to have a provisional licence years ago but I did not take my test as I’m scared of the road.

“The person who drives the car was drunk. As I turned into my road, my eyes went blank and my leg seized up. I could not move the brake and the clutch. I could not see. I had my hands over my eyes.”

[Full Story]

Now you know why drive-through ATMs have braille on them.


May 29, 2005

The 89th Indianapolis 500 is in the books, and the winner was English driver Dan Wheldon. No great surprise here; he’s won four of the five races of the IRL season so far. He is, however, the first British winner at Indy since Graham Hill took the checkered flag in 1966.

But, of course, everyone’s talking about Danica Patrick. Not only did she make history by becoming the first woman to lead the race, but she came back from a botched pitstop that dropped her to 16th place and then a second setback when her car was damaged, to retake the lead of the race with ten laps to go. With a splash more fuel, she could have taken the flag herself, but a fourth finish at Indy is no slouch either.

All in all, the most exciting Indy 500 I’ve seen since Scott Goodyear lost by a nose in 1992. (Mind you, I kind of ignored Indy for a few years until the IRL acquired some drivers people had heard of.)

P.S. to Robby Gordon: Get back into your slow car and shut your pie-hole, you hick.


Danica Patrick started 4th and inished 4th in the Indy 500.

Robby Gordon started 25th and finished 27th in the Coca-Cola 600.

The moral of the story: Stop whining and lose some weight.


May 28, 2005

Get that tinfoil out of the kitchen cupboard and start putting together helmets.

I just learned today that Constance Cumbey, conspiracy theorist and author of The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, has a blog. Titled “My Perspective – What Constance Thinks,” it is

News and views of Constance Cumbey concerning “Radical Middle”, New Age Movement, Communitarianism, “planetary humanism”, “global governance”, European Union, Javier Solana, Jeremy Rifkin, “New Age Politics, law in the USA, combined with life in general — sometimes humorous, sometimes not!

Wanted: Someone with a B.A. in Weirdology to parse what all that is supposed to mean.

It’s a relatively new blog and doesn’t appear to say anything too freaky yet, so Ms. Cumbey only gets one black helicopter, at least for now. ?!

Singing, dancing, running as fast as we can

May 28, 2005

In the comments to my 20th-anniversary review of Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, a poster named Chris asked me whether I had heard Roger Hodgson’s album In the Eye of the Storm, saying it was “like the last good Supertramp album.” I had heard it, a number of years ago, when I lived with a guy who was a big Supertramp fan.

Part of the character of the original Supertramp lineup was the contrast between Hodgson and Rick Davies, who traded off lead vocal duties from song to song. After Hodgson left the band in 1983, they proved they could continue without him, with fairly decent work such as the albums Brother Where You Bound and Free as a Bird. But they wouldn’t be able to match the success of their masterpieces such as Breakfast in America or Crime of the Century, as Hodgson took most of the band’s best sound with him: not only his distinctive falsetto voice, but the more introspective songwriting as well. Immediately after embarking on a solo career, he hit success with his debut album, In the Eye of the Storm.

But is it the “last good Supertramp album”? Yes and no. Certainly many of the typical hooks are there; the distinctive keyboard style, and of course Hodgson’s voice. The first cut begins with a droning note, over which is overlaid various clips of babies crying, people speaking, etc., that are reminiscent of such songs as “A Soapbox Opera,” “Take the Long Way Home,” or “Fool’s Overture.” On the other hand, In the Eye of the Storm relies more on synthesizer and electric guitar, and less on the Rhodes electric piano that was so much a part of Supertramp’s best work.

Here and there, though, you get glimmers of the old Supertramp sound, and in the last three tracks, “Give Me Love, Give Me Life,” “I’m Not Afraid,” and “Only Because of You,” it comes out full-bore. The closing track is, in fact, exactly the sort of slow, climactic, layered song that always seems to close Supertramp’s best LPs.

In the Eye of the Storm is, to my ears at least, a step away from the natural evolution of Supertramp’s sound had Roger Hodgson stayed with them. But it’s a good listen nonetheless, and at least fans of Supertramp will find themselves in familiar territory.

Some people have a flair for dramatic entrances

May 28, 2005

And encouraging us to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station scores pretty highly in my book. On that note, or perhaps to the sombre notes of the Imperial March [MIDI], Phil Johnson enters the blogosphere.

I’m the author of the mock threat Phil quotes in his initial post, and though it was meant in jest, the sentiment certainly wasn’t. I’m anticipating his contributions to this particular incarnation of the Great Coversation.