Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swines!

As you should be aware by now, swine flu - aka the Pig Cold, Boaritis or Porkulosis - has reached our seldom-sunny shores. Yes, loyal blog looker-atters, two absolute fools from Falkirk (or Fahl-KIRK, as Radio 1 have inexplicably termed it) have carried this most porcine of maladies into Scotland in their dirty, dirty lungs following a sojourn to Wetback Wonderland (Mexico).

To honour this mildly depressing development, I have decided to compile a list of 5 of the most widespread diseases to ever blight our round and lovely globe. Brace yourselves, healthy ones! WARNING: here be dragons! If you're squeamish, fuck off. The rest of you sickoes, follow me: it's about to get runny. Let the pandemicmonium commence!



THE BLACK DEATH


The grandaddy of the modern pandemic. Believed to be caused by a virus catchily named Yersinia pestis, the Black Death (aka The Great Plague/Pestilence/Monstrosity), the Black Death is believed to have polished off betwee 75-200 million people in the 1300s. It's said to have been transmitted from monkeys to fleas to rats to people. A bit like AIDS. More on that later. The plague came in three forms: bubonic, pneumonic and septacaemic. Four out of five folk lucky enough to catch the bubonic plague died within eight days. However, given that Medieval folk lived on average for seventeen days, this barely affected their longevity. It did, however, affect their quality of life, with symptoms ranging from swollen lymph nodes, purpura and a general sense of malaise. All in all, a bit horrific.


TYPHUS


Typhus has readed its ugly parasitic head a fair few times in recorded history. It was first reliably noted in Granada in 1489, though it is speculated to have claimed victims as far back as the Peloponnesian War. In any case, the Grenadian accounts detail a disease with such symptoms as fever, red spots over the arms, back and chest with a generous side-dish of pursuant delirium, gangrenous sores, and the stink of rotting flesh. How savoury. Typhus thrives in closed environments, such as jails, and was once known as Gaol Fever. Meh. S'cheaper than electrocution. And better for the environment. Down with prisoners, up with fossil fuels! Between 1918 and 1922, Typhus killed 3 million people, and then went on to claim many lives in Nazi concentration camps including, famously, Anne Frank. Typhus has also moved with the times, disguising itself to expose new and unprepared victims to its numerous horrors. Please, no cheap Madonna jibes, eh? Though they're both inordinately fond of African children...


AIDS


...as is AIDS. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the most unfortunate complication of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), and is generally transmitted by improper swappage of the sexy fluids. Symptoms generally arise from the fact that the body is suddenly incapable of dealing with minor infections as the immune system is decimated. This leads to such unpleasantries as Kaposi's sarcoma and other cancers, coupled with common symptoms like irregular temperatures, weight loss and weakness, not to mention a whole host of other debilitating infections and diseases being given free reign over the body's cells. AIDS is one of the most (in)famous pandemics due to its position at the forefront of the popular consciousness. This is in part due to its impact on the gay community, and their large influence on the Arts and culture. Additionally, its effect in Africa is made highly visible by appeals such as Comic Relief and Band/Live Aid/Earth. However, despite its prevalence, a large percentage of the population are still ignorant of AIDS and unsympathetic towards its sufferers as it is often viewed as "the Gay Plague" (or "Gaygue"). Clearly, those AIDS-riddled folk are just pansies dealing with an effeminate strain of man flu they caught from too much funbumming. To those among us who are AIDS-deniers, I say - fuck you. I hope you get cancer. And die. Mwaha!


SARS

The 2002 outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), though not technically a pandemic, is a memorable disease for me, not least because it occurred in my lifetime and involved the population of East Asia voluntarily dressing up like Shredder. Roffle! Seriously, SARS was bad news. Like so many big-ass nasties, it begins innocently enough: flu-like lethargy, sore throat and myalgia. Then you stop breathing and die. Gasp! Literally! The main pointer is a fever of over 38°C (roughly the same as a phoenix or volcano). As it's viral, antibiotics are as much use as a fudge enema. Therefore, prevention is best. Put expediently, if you don't want SARS, don't go to China or bang anyone in a surgical mask. Common sense, really.

And finally, the baddest bitch of them all...


INFLUENZA


Holy shit, that's one sick chicken ("sicken"?). Or is it? Maybe it's a kidney. I'm not sure. In any case, influenza's a dick. Endlessly mutable and impossible to kill: it's an evil genius! We all know the flu's symptoms and how irritating they can be. However, we don't ever believe it to be fatal. In most cases, we're correct. Nonetheless, flu in its various forms is still incredibly infectious, and esponsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Indeed, the flu has killed millions in the aeons since its emergence. Preventative injections against various flu strains are available to humans (and poultry) in the developed world, but if you get the sniffles in Rwanda, you're basically buggered. Furthermore, the recent epidemics of bird and swine flu have struck fear into the hearts of even the most vaccinated pensioner. At time of writing, the current swine flu epidemic has claimed 152 lives, with the number projected to rise. Now'd be a good time to turn Jewish, y'all. The pigs be revengin'.

And on that rather religious note, I shall bid you adieu. But before I piss off, I leave you with some words of wisdom imparted to me by my Chemistry teacher, Mr Farrell:

"Coughs and sneezes spread diseases
Wrap your germs in a handkerchief"

However, given what we now know about methods of transmission, perhaps this adage should be amended thus:

"Coughs and sneezes spread diseases
Wrap your dick in a latex sheath"

Play safe, kids!
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Monday, April 27, 2009

R.I.Bea

Two days ago, Bea Arthur (aka the grouchiest of the Golden Girls) passed away.











She was a legend, no? Although arguably outshined by the seal in the last one, hmm?



Oh, all right then. Sorry.
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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-New Stuff!

Avid readers of my neophyte blog may notice slight changes to its layout on this momentous Monday.

Of capital importance is the addition of the "I LOVE" section at the top of the sidebar. Here, I will house an interesting video or suchlike for you to view with your eyes. This idea is furiously original, having been blatantly ripped off from several other blogs I'm fond of.

To kick off, check out a prime example of the necessity of physician-prescribed medication. I've already facebooked this, but it's so utterly excellent I felt it should be beshrined.

Gangstas, hoes, and assorted ghetto-denizens, I give you the one and (thankfully) only Soulja Gurl. Bitch be trippin'.



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Friday, April 24, 2009

Choons!

Being that tonight is my workplace's sophomore Silent Disco, I felt that it now was an appropriate time to select the five songs I want them to play...which they won't. The following make my soul sing to varying degrees. They are deep, meaningful, spiritual pieces that have shaped my life greatly. They are, without question, works of importance comparable to Mendelssohn or Tchaikovsky.

How did they achieve such greatness? By being danceable as fuck.

Prepare to be donked.

1. MARGARET BERGER - ROBOT SONG


The fact that this wonderful Scandinavian songstress is not more well known globally is, frankly, insane. She's a one-woman Girls Aloud with the glacial mystery of Annie Lennox and the weird synthiness of Roisin Murphy! She's all you could want in an electropopper! And speaking of poppers, the above song was made for them. In short, it's about robo-human love and the familial disdain that stems from it. So fairly cookie-cutter stuff. But the robotic nature of the track is at once fresh, dancetastic and - oddly - quite heartbreaking. This comes from her second album Pretty Scary Silver Fairy (out in 2006) and still sounds brand-spanking two years later. She deserves to be right up there with the Kellys and Leonas of the reality-pop world, not languishing in the seventh layer of the Woolies skip with the Eoghans and the Leons! I pray this will change. Nightly.

2. THE SHAMEN - DESTINATION ESCHATON


Another underrated gem. Built for big-fish-little-fish. It's the throbbing, whirring anthem for some future revolution. In space, probably. It's exciting. It's bleepy. It's utterly unintelligible. Seriously, what the fuck is any of it supposed to mean? It doesn't matter. But for those of you who - like me - are intrigued, here, here and here. Kinda blunts its danceability a tad, hmm? On second thoughts, ignore the links! IGNOOOORE!


3. JOHN WILLIAMS VS JUSTICE - IMPERIAL STRESS


One of the most ingenious mashups in history. Taking Justice's Stress and mating it with the Imperial March from Star Wars shouldn't work. But by Christ it does. It's everything a good club song should be: energising, a little terrifying, and a touch insane. Kudos to DJ Beloki for smacking Darth Vader full in the face with a gated synth. Take that, the Force! And thanks to whoever created that picture of those female Vadergimps looking severely in need of a slash. In conclusion: Glowsticks? Lightsabers? Terribly similar, no? And I've certainly never seen them in the same room together. Hmm...

4. GARBAGE - CHERRY LIPS



Another entry in the chart from us über-cool Scots. Well...ish. A proper departure for Garbage, and one their hardcore fanbase really really hated. Luckily for mid-densitycore fans like me, it's a bit of a laugh! Lightweight and chirpy in tone, despite the fact that it's about some form of child prostitute. Hence the name. Hmm. Also, ignore Shirley's invisipiss at the end. Frankly confusing.

5. GIRLS ALOUD - LOVE IS PAIN


Arguably the best track from Girls Aloud's most recent album, Out of Control, yet looks unlikely to get a single release. This is why the video above is half-heartedly cobbled together from bits of The Loving Kind. A pity. Nonetheless, this song, like the four above it is both catchy enough to sing along to and opaque enough to mean it's nigh-on impossible to understand. Simply, it seems to be about heartbreak (Cheryl and Ashley, ooh how personal, scandal scandal etc.), but when it starts banging on about secret codes and shit, it's best to switch off your mind and throw some dodecahedrons. Structurally unorthodox, as most GA tracks are, Love Is Pain is the number seven single that never was or will be. *sniff*

So there we have it. The five songs I would like to have in my ears tonight that almost certainly won't. They may not all be to your taste, or indeed particularly credible, but it's my blog and I'm in charge, so you can fuck off. Thanks for reading!
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Dis-Bar-ment

Anyone lucky enough to know me personally will know that a lack of common courtesy in others is liable to make me as mad as crickets. Unfortunately, folks, it's a rude, rude world that we live in populated with stupid, stupid cunts.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in my work in the customer service industry. Gentlemen and their respective wives, I am a barman. There. I said it. Frequently I am faced with an irritating level of abuse and - more frequently still - an infuriating level of stupidity. In the interests of both of us, I have compiled a handy list of what not to do when ordering your tipple of choice. Follow them, and I'll kiss you full on the mouth. Ignore them at your peril.

1. "HO! I'M NEXT, MATE!
"
Not any more, you're not. The above sentence is bellowed frequently by what can only be described as reprobates. Usually male. I am, by and large, fully aware of who is awaiting service. I garner this awareness through the use of my eyes. I do not need you to tell my ears of your place in the queue, particularly when you've just arrived at the bar fresh from your latest date-rape. So kindly, Sir, shut the fuck up and wait patiently on your Midori and lemonade, you hard-ticket, you!

2. "NAE ICE!"
Now, I understand some of my readers will suffer from sensitive teeth. As do I, on occasion. My advice to you is this: buy some fucking Sensodyne and stop whinging like the little bitch you are. Thanks. The "no ice" quandary has a deeper significance than mere tooth-pain, however. Yes. Y'see, various idiots seem to believe that having no ice in the drink makes the drink more alcoholic. Dear God. A rudimentary knowledge of physics and the rules of displacement absolutely destroys such claims. By having ice, the drink-to-mixer ratio is improved in your favour. Get it? Got it? Good. Other nonsensical behaviour which relates to this includes asking for one ice-cube (which will melt much faster than several would - yet more physics phun!) and removing the ice from a drink and placing it on the bar. Simple etiquette of the bar dictates that you cannot under any circumstances pull something blithely from a wet place and allow it to drip everywhere! Really! My bar is not your mother's bedroom floor!

3. MALAPROPISMS
Put simply, if you can't accurately name the beverage you wish to imbibe, don't order it. A list of examples can be found below:
  • WKD - pronounced "wicked", not "doubleyookaydee"
  • Kopparberg - not "Koppanbarg", "Koppenberg", "Koopenbarg" or "Kronenbourg"
  • VK - not an "orange WKD"
  • Miller - not "Millers"
  • Dr Pepper (shot) - not "wan ae em mad hings in eh gless"
Unacceptable under any circumstances.

4. "RED BULL & VODKA!"
Alcohol first, mixer second, ie "vodka & Red Bull". Honestly.

5. BUDGETARY DISPUTES
Firstly: don't bitch to me about beverage prices or the unheralded alteration of such. More on that later. On another note, 9.99756 times out of 10, I will have given you the correct change. If I haven't, I will notice. I appreciate you telling me how to do my job. I really do. Just as you'd appreciate me accompanying you on one of your many whoring sessions to gently advise you to employ less teeth in your (frankly, amateurish) fellatio technique. However, there is a reason that you're on one side of the bar and I'm on the other. I'm right, you're wrong. And there's nothing you can do about it.

6. GENERAL IGNORANCE
Safety in this area is guaranteed, providing you modify number 3's credo: if you don't know what's in your drink, how to produce it or what it is, don't order it. Thus, if you visit the smaller bar and ask for a pint of lager or beer, I will glare at you with extreme prejudice. Why? Because the wee bar is host to not one, not two, but zero draft taps. Where am I pulling this cider and blackcurrant from? Ask me again and it'll be my bile duct. This happens, on average, once a week. Everyone, just stop it. Similarly, if you order a long vodka and I inform you that, sadly, we're out of bitters, don't stare at me blankly as though I've just told you the world isn't flat and doesn't end at Langbank. Merely take a moment to reflect on your crushing stupidity and order another ridiculous thirstquencher.

7. HUFFING
In a related issue, if I do tell you that we've run out of a certain substance, service, or level of patience, do not huff. I am not in charge of what we stock. I am not in charge of setting the prices. I am not in charge of your misplaced, disproportionate sense of entitlement. Therefore, just as I don't blame you for the moonlit skies or the dream that died with the Eagle's flight, don't blame me for things I can't do anything about. Please. Oh, by the way, that sleeping satellite is your fault. Anybody? No? Damn.

8. "EHH, JUST EH NORMAL WAN!"
When you order, for instance, sambuca in a contemporary establishment, you may find that more than one variety is on offer. When faced with such variety, hear the options out and make your decision. Do not bark this paragraph's titular sentence. It is very rude and upsetting. I've cried myself to sleep over such brusqueness. It makes me sad. So stop it, hmm? Furthermore, why not sample one of the new products? You may just like it! You liked it when your ex-lover put their finger in your arsehole didn't you? You didn't expect that, did you? You didn't think you'd include it regularly in your masturbation sessions, did you? Eh? No. But you liked it, didn't you? Ha! Queer! So try something new! Don't stick to the stuff you know. If you want to be cool, follow one simple rule: mess with the flow! Don't stick to the status quo! Anybody? No? DAMN!

9. "Shphlmknphshthhhhspck"
The above is a rough translation of what you all sound like when you've had twelve too many. If you are in such a diabolical state, I cannot serve you. By law. The Queen forbids it. It makes her cry. So don't fire up your ire, boys and girls, because it's misplaced and uncalled for. Instead of getting angry at me for refusing to serve you, why not focus your anger on yourself, and the fact that you are an intoxicated waster, an affront to your mother and a nuisance to the world at large. For shaaaame. Go and hurt yourself now, please. Also, don't be sick on the bar. One time, it was as thick as a pizza and the same circumference and texture. Abhorrent. If I came in to your place of employment and vomited on your workstation, would you be amused? Hmm? Well, you probably wouldn't care as you don't work. Let me rephrase that. If I vomited on you in the dole queue, would you be amused? No. You'd stab me to death, then kick my holey corpse. Exactly. So don't.

And, finally...

10. ETIQUETTE

...say please and thank you. Every time. Should go without saying that you shouldn't go without saying it, but there you go. A sad sign of the times. Bring back the fifties and nuclear fear!

And that, for now, is it. More shall undoubtedly follow. Have any of you ever perpertrated such transgressions? If so, leave me a comment and I'll inform you of your penance. There may be scourgings. Huzzah!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two One Thumbs Up!

Here I am! Hello! Hello!

Yes, after literally years of badgering - and even longer trying to customise this shitbrick of a page - I have returned to the blogging fold.

But, ladies and gentlemen, hold your applause. I have only just begun!

And in the spirit of inauguration, what better way to start my gradual dissection of our occasionally wonderful world and its foibles than with a frank and honest discussion regarding the woman who has won the hearts of a few great nations and well and truly given Obama the hump? Yes, lads and lasses, it's her:


SUSAN BOYLE.

Now, you may well think that choosing this feisty and zeitgeisty lady as a topic for a first post is not only bandwagon-jumping of the first water, but also a cynical ploy to entice a large number of dimwitted Southern Statesers to my fledgeling blog. You would be right. But I also think this phenomenon is at once a positive and damning indictment of our times and tastes.

Fuck, I've went all sociological. DEAL WITH IT.

Before I go any further, I feel I should include a video of the performance which started all the fuss. I'm aware you'll all have seen it several times already, but I wanted to test out the video-embedding doowhackey. So suck it.

Here:

video

Now, here's where I get all cynical on yo'asses. Granted, it was a fine performance from an (ultimately) charming performer. It was musical, her tone is pleasant, and she's clearly enjoying her moment of being able to sing about being fucked over by some Frenchman to a public so dense they've never heard the song before, and thus have no conception of the context of the piece.

HOWEVER! Look closer at events leading up to the sing-song. We are, by now, incredibly accustomed to the reality TV behemoth and the manipulative editing that fuels it. As a result, the (un)subtleties of such editing simultaneously irk us and program our thoughts.

For instance, listen to the BGM at the start of the segment. Do it again. Once more. Got it? Right. What the fuck is this, ChuckleVision? This is played over a clip of Ms (Miss? Certainly not Mrs! LOL!) Boyle eating a humble sandwich. Plus, said sandwich appears homemade, not purchased from a nearby Pret Á Manger. So the first impression we're given of her is that she's a chunky buffoon who, therefore, can't sing.

She then tells us her age, which is much younger than her appearance and apparel would suggest. She informs us that she's unemployed, which solidifies the implication that she is inherently stupid and setting herself up for a fall. Next, she provides a scurrilous programme-maker's big jizzy dream when she says:

"...I live on my own with my cat, called Pebbles. But I've never been married. Never been kissed! (grimaces comically) Shame! (laughs pathetically)"

By now the British Public are actively willing her to fail, so they can be delivered the wonderful feeling of schadenfreude that will distract them momentarily from the drudgery of being unemployable, pregnant at seven, anorexic and thick as shit.

The worst moment comes when she gives her age - again - and, when faced with one of Simon Cowell's patented eye-rolls, she starts grinding like a slutty washing machine and declares, in an abortive attempt at coquettishness: "and that's just one side of me!" Eh? What? What does that mean? Her front side's forty-seven, but she's got a two-year old arse? Or that she's forty-seven on the outside, but she has the sexual ability of a girl of sixteen? Given her girth and virginal status I highly doubt it.

Much to the disgust of some snarky emos in the audience, and following some HILARIOUS wolf-whistling, she starts to sing. And she's good. Hurrah! You're through. Case closed. Or so you'd think. Interestingly enough, Susan's voice just so happened to be a new incarnation of The Baby Jesus. Y'see, TBJ is afraid that if he shows his face to the human folk, they'll crucify him a bit more. So, having watched The Little Mermaid, he struck upon the idea to present himself as a tweedy besom's voice. Thus, Amanda Holden wept, Piers Morgan ejaculated and the aforementioned emos took to self-harm.

Of course, I jest. The Baby Jesus is sleeping! Watch this space though. He's gonna come back and get his revenge on them Jews. Oh Hell yes.

Her performance was good, but not in any way exceptional, to my mind. Yet one particular YouTube video of the performance has amassed (at time of writing) 39,042,725 views! More than Obama's big hello, Jade's big send-off and - criminally - more than this:


It's a sad, sad day when a pushy bitch getting punched so hard she sounds like Wimbledon is less popular than a pleasant, lonely spinster fulfilling a lifelong dream. Sad indeed.

Still, my major issue isn't with her success, which I wish her in big singy spades. Nor is it with the public's shocked reaction to her talent because, as one of my nearest and dearest quipped recently, "ugly people can sing too". No, my worry stems from the fact that this woman's life is in the process of being commodified. Already there is debate as to whether she should be given a makeover. Hugh Jackman has expressed an interest in duetting with her. A so-called friend has sold his (albeit harmless) story to the tabloids. Film offers. Oprah. Sex tapes. The list could continue. But it won't.

None of the above news items are at all concerned wit
h Susan herself, but the idea of her. We know nothing about her other than that she is awkward and has a nice voice. So why the unprecedented amount of interest? Surely we're sickened with reality shows telling us what to think? Hmm? No? Nah, me neither.

The bottom line is that it's currently terribly terribly nice to talk about her favourably (or at all) despite the fact we have no idea who she is. Well, dear readers, never fear! I won't stoop to such lows in this here web-based tome of truth!

Oh shit. Just did. Hey ho!

So, does her success signal the death of Reality TV? We can only hope. But while there is still a fraction of the population who conduct themselves like this:



...bring on the dumbfucks!

EDIT: the making-over has already
commenced! Results are below:

I already hate her. Smug bitch.
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