31 March 2010

The Magnalities of Nature

Man’s moral decadence is often spoken of, while Nature’s degeneracy gets a free pass. Consider the Nepenthes rajah. This disgusting vegetable has assumed the shape of a toilet to get unwitting shrews to crap into its “huge orifice”. At the moment this leafy coprophile can only be found in the wilds of Borneo, which is some consolation.


An N. rajah plant, left, and a toilet.              

28 March 2010

Variety of Factors

There is no doubt then but Centaurs as well as other Monsters, are produced, partly by the influence of the stars, and partly by other causes, as the ill disposition of the matrix, the bad temperature of the seed, the perverse inclination of the woman, the commixtion of seeds of divers kinds, sudden fear, bad diet, unwholsome air, and untimely Venus.
 - Alexander Ross, Arcana Microcosmi.

Elsewhere

I'm posting political nonsense at The Paste-Board Cliffs.

22 March 2010

Low jests for low times

Informed the Government has taken over health care I decide to send a stool sample to my congressman. Absent violent upheaval expect more of this sort of thing.

21 March 2010

There's poetry for you

Respublica, by Geoffrey Hill

The strident high
civic trumpeting
of misrule. It is
what we stand for.

Wild insolence,
aggregates without
distinction. Courage
of common men:

spent in the ruck
their remnant witness
after centuries
is granted them

like a pardon.
And other fealties
other fortitudes
broken as named—

Respublica
brokenly recalled,
its archaic laws
and hymnody;

and destroyed hope
that so many times
is brought with triumph
back from the dead.

18 March 2010

Some Lines from March 17

If a certain number of centuries ago, the exact number of which is unimportant for present purposes, Patrick hadn’t banged a drum to drive the slithering serpents from Eire, today we would not find ourselves behind this faux-Irish pub, under this hospitality tent, sipping beer from plastic cups. There's history for you.

Now if you gentlemen will excuse me, over there’s a young lady with a nose ring who I sense wishes to hear me hold forth on the subject of leprechauns.

14 March 2010

Pulp

"The pain's nothing; pain many times is taken away with the apprehension of greater, as the toothache with the sight of a barber that comes to pull it out: there's philosophy for you." - John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi. Act. V, Scene V.

07 March 2010

The Paradox of Progress

The Chinamen are using robots instead of costumed mascots:
Thirty seven multi-functional robots, which were customized to serve the visitors of Shanghai World Expo, made their debut here Sunday.
Besides dancing and singing, the 1.55-meter tall robots, shaped after the Expo mascot Haibao, could "communicate" with visitors in six languages and take photos for them...

The robots have touch screens on their chests to answer inquiries on road, public service and Expo information...
Shanghai World Expo mascot Haibao. Haibao is an ancient Chinese mascot. Gumby is a shameless rip-off of Haibao, not the other way around. Your never having heard of Haibao until today shows your ignorance.
The deployment of robots will protect those, like Lord Tebbit and myself, who engage in pre-emptive self defense against costumed mascots from the embarrassment of inadvertently attacking a disguised woman or child. Unfortunately removing the human within also drains nearly all of the fun from the duello.