Archive for July, 2007
“Rest in peace,” or its oft-used initialism, is a phrase one sees a lot on that there Internet. Especially, like over the last couple of days, when a high profile death occurs. And I can’t help but wonder if all those people who write “RIP” on weblog comments or social bookmarking sites actually believe in the concept of Judgement Day.
Aside from the properly religious folk who know and believe The Bible, my guess is that a fair amount of the vaguely-Christian-raised folk who use “RIP” also think that dying means floating up to, or climbing a stairway to, Heaven straight away; rather than hanging around in some afterlife version of a hotel, soundly sleeping until Jesus tells them if they made the cut. My rather shaky and unresearched assumption leads me to believe that there’s not much resting involved if you don’t believe in Judgement Day (unless Heaven’s got loads of health spas, that is).
And what if the person who died was incontinent? Do they have to sleep in a pool of piss, covered in bed sores until Judgement Day? What if you’re a light sleeper and the soul next to you is snoring? Can you get up and watch a bit of telly or read a magazine? Is the bar open? Do they have a pool table or air hockey? Is there a 24-hour garage where you can buy some fags and a Kit Kat? I really would like to know.
My suspicion, though, is that “Rest in peace” is just a way for people to say “Hey, that’s sad that X died, I kinda liked his/her stuff,” because we’re all at a bit of a loss for words when people tell us that someone is dead.
Still on a nature theme, here’s two short films I made over the weekend called Helping the wind and rain.
Here’s a little photo series about the trees in and around my local park:
The pie charts I did the other day – about the facial hair of US presidents and British PMs – got me thinking: what is the current political state of facial hair in the world?
So I did some research. And it wasn’t as easy as I had first thought. Some countries are simple to check, cos they have someone who’s clearly completely in charge, at the top of the tree (Kim Jong-il, Gordon Brown, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, etc.); but there are plenty of nations that have presidents and prime ministers, and it’s sometimes difficult to work out who has the power, and whether the president is mainly just a ceremonial position. I’ve done my best. If I made any mistakes, please let me know.
I kinda obsessed on it a bit… working on it from about 8pm ’til 3am last night. And doing the pie charts wasn’t enough, oh no: it seemed like a good idea to also express this information as a map, which you can see below the pie charts. (Note: North America includes the Caribbean nations.)
Click the map to see the full-size version. (Map template borrowed from Wikipedia.)
So, what have we learned? Well, firstly, that there aren’t many women in charge; that African leaders like a ‘tache; as do those in southern Asia and the (horribly-named) Middle East; and I learned that my assumption that South America would have lots of moustaches was utterly wrong.
Update: Conor mentioned in the comments that Robert Mugabe has a moustache. He’s right. I didn’t even notice it; I just thought it was a shadow rather than a wispy, slightly-Hitlerian moustache. The map and pie charts have been amended accordingly.
Here’s a little graph-y chart thingy. Each scrollbar represents one month’s worth of blogging. The size of each scrollbar represents the overall size of the page that one is viewing (a large scrollbar equals less vertical content in the page). So I took a screenshot of every “month” page in the archives, and assembled those into this chart. I wanted to compare the amount of stuff I’ve done on this weblog every month since it began in April 2005. It’s not a particularly scientific way of measuring things, because once a page’s content gets quite large the default minimum size of the scrollbar kicks in; but this is more of an overview-y glimpse than a science experiment.
What this chart tells me is that I got off to a slow start, picked up speed and remained fairly consistent through ’til the summer of 2006. Then I had my little freak-out where I stopped altogether; did nothing in December 2006, very little in January and February of this year, and have been pretty inconsistent ever since.
I’ve had a feeling for quite a while now that the overall quality of this page has been dwindling. And I think it’s partly to do with the quantity and regularity also dwindling; putting less stuff up here makes every post that I do put seem more important (in my own head); like each one has to be great rather than average. I’m going to make an attempt to rectify that, and try and get back to writing or drawing or photographing something most days of the week. Whether that’ll kick in right away, I don’t know; but it has to kick in sooner or later otherwise this whole thing becomes as pointless as Oblio.
I think the English language needs a new word: something that describes a person who is less than an acquaintance, but more than a stranger.
It’s the person who’s child likes your dog, so you end up smiling or saying hello every now and again. Or the person who used to work in the same building who you would see in the lift now and again. Or the person who works in a local shop, who you raise your eyebrows to as you pass them on the street.
You know no details about this person – their name, their marital status, their hobbies, whether they’re a big fan of Meat Loaf – but they’re not a total stranger, and your hello or eyebrow-raise won’t be greeted with the face of someone looking at a madman.
Not normally, anyway. There was one woman who worked in a local coffee shop until a year or so ago, and she must’ve lived near me because I’d see her walking down my street fairly regularly. Always pleasant when serving me coffee, she couldn’t hide her contempt if I even attempted a half-hearted smile of recognition on the street. But that seems rare. More often than not, it’s the slightly awkward mutual smile or a quick hello.
It seems to me, that this is a linguistic blind spot when it comes to relationships: family, partner, friend, colleague, acquaintance, [new word], stranger.
The above pie charts represent the proportions of British prime ministers (since Walpole in 1721) and American presidents (since Washington in 1789) with facial hair. (I’ve included Margaret Thatcher amongst the clean-shaven. One assumes she shaved her plums, anyway.)
It’s been a while since we’ve had any facial hair on either side of the Atlantic, which is quite a shame. The last British PM with a moustache was Harold Macmillan who left office in 1963; and you have to go back to 1913 and William H. Taft to find a US president with whiskers.
Here’s something new for the Sport section on Flip Flop Flyin': a graph showing how the Soviet Union and the post-Soviet independent nations compare when it comes to snaffling up Olympic medals. The graph also shows how they compare to that other Olympic superpower,
Great Britain the United States.
It’s quite a big GIF so it might take a few moments to animate properly.
Like Saddam Hussein, I love a Bounty. The dark chocolate version, particularly. It is indeed a taste of paradise. Unless it’s past its sell-by date, which was the case with the one I ate yesterday. It was only a few days too old, but the lovely moisty coconutty yumminess was all gone. It was too dry in the middle and felt like chewing some coconut-flavoured papier-mâché. I still ate it, though.
Yes, it really has come to this: blogging about out-of-date chocolate bars…
If, like me, you’re in a foul mood today because some cunt in an ugly blue sports car ignored the green light for pedestrians and nearly hit you and your dog and didn’t even bother to acknowledge his dangerous error; then maybe listening to some music might make you feel better.
julymix.mp3 (44’12 – 50.8MB)
“Moby Dick” Led Zeppelin / “Breaking Glass” David Bowie / “Big City” Spacemen 3 / “Nightvision” Daft Punk / “On The Banks Of The Wabash, Far Away” The Mills Brothers / “Providence” Sonic Youth / “Good Vibrations” The Beach Boys / “Universal Frequencies” His Name Is Alive / “I’m Not In Love” 10cc / “94 The Long Way” Jim O’Rourke / “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” The Beatles / “Moby Dick” Led Zeppelin