Saturday, February 21, 2009

Eye Candy

'Candy-O', the second album by US new wave band The Cars, was released in 1979 and spawned one of their biggest hits, "Let's Go".
The cover certainly assisted in the album's success: it was suggested by the Cars' drummer David Robinson and painted by Alberto Vargas, who was well-known for his paintings of pin-up girls in Playboy and Esquire magazines of the '40s and '50s. Enjoy some of his handiwork, purely for background reference, of course! The shapely model draped across the Ferrari bonnet was named - coincidentally - Candy and, for a while after the shoot, she dated Robinson.

And just what was it about The Cars' guys and the gals they worked with?
The 1984 video clip of "Drive" (another huge hit) featured 19-year old Paulina Porizkova. Although she was the object of
bassist Ben Orr's affections (he who sang lead on this song), it was bandleader Ric Ocasek who really wanted her - even though he was 35, married with kids. They finally tied the knot in '89 and have two kids of their own.
Orr died of pancreatic cancer (not unrequited love!) in 2000.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time Travel

The Tardis has NOTHING on this!I've done a little time-travelling lately. Made a few notes along the way:
  • Time Machine finally finished. Think I'll head back to the Cold War and warn them about the bomb. If there’s a city where London used to be, it worked!

  • Time Machine working great. Just hate that I have to travel in the nude. James Cameron was right.

  • Evidently rubbing Hitler’s toothbrush on my butt had no effect on the war. Wait, I’m not typing in German...! Ok, so it worked then.

  • Cleopatra's not that hot. Don’t know what the fuss was about: she smelled like asp.

  • Just went back and beat up on my 1st.Form self. Now I can see why this appealed to the 5th.Formers back then.

  • Persuaded the Vikings to change the sheep faces on the front of their ships to dragons. We’ll see.

  • Put a towbar on the Time Machine. Off to Galilee with a trailer-load of loaves and fishes.

  • Guess what Attila’s wife calls him? No, “monkey butt”!! I guessed wrong too!

  • Future Madonna will do you for five bucks. Thinks adopting the entire population of Zambia was a mistake. She’s 90, but still...$5 is a bargain!

  • Told JFK to get a move on, or he'd miss out on the Moon. "The Moon?! I'm a bit busy with Cuba right now!"

  • Gave Marilyn the heads-up: gentlemen really do prefer blondes.

  • Just time-travelled to Ancient Macedonia. Gave a pep talk to a kid named Alexander the Mediocre. Hope that worked out.

  • Painted the Red Baron’s plane green last night. He was so confused. "I’m sure I parked it there!" What a doofus.

  • Swapped a gourd of water for wine at some wedding in Cana. Should have seen the expressions on their faces.

  • Almost busted by my 6-year old self. Hid under the bed for three hours. He was freaked out.

  • 13th Century England definitely not ready for Ye Olde Breast Exam Clinic.

  • Turns out that neanderthals CAN mate with humans, but you need to get them very drunk.

  • Antwerp is nice in 1630. Lunched with Rubens. Told him plus-sized women would be all the rage.

  • In ancient Egypt this morning. Suggested round tombs for their pharaohs, but they'd already signed the contracts for pointy ones.

  • The Aztecs have a princess called Neutrogina. She has lovely skin.

  • (many thanks to Christopher Moore)

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009


    Childhood memories often fade over time. This particular memory is not only fading - but literally sinking out of sight!
    As a kid, my family often visited a shipwreck on Waitarere Beach (on the west coast of the lower North Island, NZ). It was the remains of an iron-hulled cargo ship, Hydrabad, which was driven ashore in a gale on 25th.June 1878.
    [There're good accounts of the event on the 'Dive New Zealand' and 'Waitarere Beach' websites].
    Over the years, the Hydrabad hulk became a well-known landmark and it wasn't just kids of my era who enjoyed clambering all over it. 
    Dad would tell us tall tales about the "haunted" wreck, but a true story he did not know involved the ship's figurehead. It had black curly hair and big black beard, and wore a white turban, red jacket and green sash.
    It stood with swarthy brown arms crossed and holding a sword, in a front garden in nearby Foxton Beach township until the 1930s, when it was destroyed... because local children were too scared to walk past it on their way to school! 
    Over the decades, the Waitarere coastline has altered. The beach is designated as a public road, and sightseers can drive right to the site...through it's possible to completely miss the remains these days.

    The wreck used to lie along the high-tide mark but is now several hundred metres inland, gradually sinking down into the soft sand below and being covered by encroaching dunes. In fact, the rust-flaking pieces that jut up through the sand are now more dangerous than curious. But my memories of balancing on the collapsed mast, as the waves surged and curled around it, will stay with me long after the Hydrabad has finally sunk out of sight...
    All that remains...
    PS: 05 July 2011 - the Hydrabad wreck site gains heritage recognition.

    Sunday, February 8, 2009

    Seeing Is Believing...

    Surfing the 'net recently, I discovered a link to a site called "Nine A Pair". It's an American company making replica sunnies - sorry, designer eyewear - for way less than designer prices.
    Now, they make no bones about it: these are replicas, they're nothing to do with the originals (they just look the same!) and with all pairs only $US9 each (yeup!!), it's sure worth considering in these tight economic times. Get the look of Armani, Ray Ban, Dolce and Gabanna, Gucci, Prada...let's face it: at $US9 a pair, you can replace 'em several times a season without hurting your bank balance! Worth a UV-protected look...
    I'll take a pair of Ray Ban as commission thanx!

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Eeeee, Mind Your Feet, Lad!

    Eeeeeeee, by goom! There be UFOs in Lincolnshire then!
    A giant wind turbine has been severely damaged, two of its blades being bent and a third actually severed.
    UFOs seem to be getting the blame, with (most bizarre of all) Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, the company that owns the towering turbine saying: "Until we have some idea, some plausible explanation that it was not a UFO, I don't think we should rule it out".
    This is a perfectly rational explanation of course. Technically superior beings fly billions of miles to have a wee peek at us and then despite all their technological wizardry that must be far beyond our comprehension, they (after all that skill, time and effort) crash into a giant wind turbine and scuttle off home with their tails between their legs (if they have tails...or indeed legs) utterly embarrassed.
    Clumsy bastards!

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Online News: Devaluing Journalism?

    Could this be the death of quality journalism?If you hear few sobs over the gradual demise of quality journalism, it may be because these days the public has been conditioned to undervalue it. The internet encourages “lazy” news consumption, while virtually wiping out any meaningful differences between newspaper brands.
    Many blame newspapers' cost-cutting decisions, but the finger eventually points back to consumer behaviour. We're moving more to obtaining news and information on-line, abandoning traditional forms of news supply.
    The reality is that journalistic quality is NOT the lifeblood of most news outfits it once was. People now expect their news fast and free, but that comes at a price – often paid for by low overheads, slashes in news quality, depth and diversity. And it's a race to sustain operations by attracting advertising dollars, which risks news quality. For how does a supplier attract advertising dollars? By getting high traffic numbers, or essentially, popularity.
    Are consumers really prepared to sacrifice a strong fourth estate? Information illuminates dark corners of our world, informing us of things we don't know and things we don't even know we don't know. We need information, but will a thumbnail sketch suffice?
    What's the answer to sustaining serious journalism, with today's tough times and trends? Has society already crossed the Rubicon in expecting free quick news? Won’t busy consumers choose quick information sources that offer shallow, brief coverage at no cost? Is this devaluing serious journalism? Can we do anything about it now at all?
    PS: 6 Aug.2009 - Well, well, well...looks like Rupert Murdoch intends to do something all right!  By next summer the media mogul plans to charge for on-line news! Click here for all the details.
    PS: 3 Dec.2009 - Rupert Murdoch is still working hard, trying to persuade others to charge for internet news! But is anyone else listening?
    PS: 2 July 2010 - Murdoch's finally done it: London's The Times has finally switched on its pay wall. Will the ratings tumble?

    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    Dumb And Dumber!

    Two inmates who'd been handcuffed together for security, escaped from Hastings' District Court recently and made a dash for freedom.
    However when they encountered a streetlamp in front of the courthouse, one ran to the left side of it, and the other to the right. They slammed into each other and fell to the ground, allowing police to catch up and detain them. CCTV caught the moment, and the video clip has become a worldwide sensation on YouTube...