Sunday, June 26, 2005

This Weekend 10 Years Ago

Dean's Ball

I'm now back from my travels.

Recently I found this invitation for an event that I can hardly believe was 10 years ago as I remember it with vivid clarity. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun?

Intersestingly I note that the medical school has gone through three name changes and three Deans since 1995!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Light Blog

I'm currently ensconced in that Paradise-on-Earth otherwise known as Orange County, Southern California. I'll be back in a couple of days if I don't die of smog poisoning or get run over by a Hummer in the meantime.

Friday, June 17, 2005

What’s Going on in the UK? Part 1.


From my distant vantage point I note that the debate over national identity cards in the UK continues apace. My own view is “No way, Jose”. This Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired clip is hilarious. Join The Resistance here.

Beat It


At the beginning of the week I made a conscious decision not to write anything snarky about Michael Jackson as he’s been covered to death. However I’m breaking my resolution because this video clip of fans and reporters being interviewed by a hand puppet (Triumph) is too much…

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Annual Neologism Contest

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n.), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Into Thin Air


Phew! Things are getting really hectic with another round of grant applications in the works. There are some good signs in the air regarding some previous applications, ie good scores, so fingers crossed these will translate into some funding. But it’s summer and I’m starting to feel weary. I really do need a vacation to re-charge the batteries. Exactly a year ago I managed to sneak off to the lovely island of Kauai (Hawaii) for a week and did this…

left turn


Unfortunately there’s no chance of time off this summer but maybe in the autumn...?

Oh, and for those of you concerned about my predilection for strapping myself into small machines and defy death, I have discussed the situation with my psychiatrist!

Friday, June 10, 2005


Yesterday I had to attend a management seminar of sorts. I’ve been to loads of these things over the past 20 years and they no longer hold my interest and I try to avoid them wherever possible. Unfortunately this one was compulsory so there was no escape.

The speaker, an affable fellow who had once played professional football for the Denver Broncos, adopted the manner of a motivational speaker. Sadly he quickly lapsed into 1980s management-speak. First he talked about “mind mapping” which is a bollocky way to describe planning a project. Then he’d said "you've got to be proactive instead of reactive” and by the time he uttered that hatefully meaningless phrase “think out of the box" on a least three occasions I was ready to strangle the bugger in front of the whole class. Fortunately he didn’t mention “paradigm shifts” or anything that was “mission critical” as these tired clich├ęs would have ensured his immediate demise. Perhaps one reason he survived impaling and spit roasting (OK, OK, I’m exaggerating just a bit) was the surreal amusement from I obtained from two of my classmates’ names. Thus attending with me were "Earl Grey" and "Ravi Shankar". Seriously! It made me want to change my name to Brian Damage, Rheumatoid Arthritis or even Bigus Dickus. This can only happen in the USA!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Colour of Success

In Blizzard

A recent article in the World’s foremost science journal, Nature, has reported that colour is highly correlated with success in sport. Scientists at the University of Durham, U.K., found that wearing red gives contestants in competitive sports a distinct advantage.

Researchers saw the pattern in one-on-one combat events, such as boxing, taekwondo, Greco-Roman wrestling as well as football matches [some would argue that soccer is a combat sport]. They compared the fortunes of fight competitors dressed in red and blue. Those in red came out on top most of the time.

The researchers noted that red is a "sexually selected, testosterone-dependent signal of male quality in a variety of animals".

Now I’ve managed to reduce this post down to the basic elements of life, namely sex and violence. Needless to say the colour Mad Dog Rallying has selected for the team is, as you can see above, naturally, …RED! Yay!

It’s going be a class win at least for us on the Monte Carlo rally in 2006. Anyone disagree…? You looking at me..?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


University of Washington Crew
The victorious University of Washington Huskies rowing team. Olivia is back row, extreme left.

Let’s hear it for the University of Washington ladies rowing team who won the Petite Final of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Regatta held in Ranch Cordova, California, recently beating Yale, Harvard and Princeton in the process. Why should I care, you ask? Because daughter Olivia, was part of the team, rowing as stroke. Well, done, girls –I’m proud of you.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bet You Don’t Recognise This…

Capriolo 75 Aeromere in my Parents' driveway, Mayford, Surrey, c1967

Item Number 3 in the “Motorcycles I Have Known and (Sometimes) Loved” series… This machine was, unequivocally, one I loved. A very rare diminutive Italian Job and something I should have definitely hung onto. The story of my life. I’ll save you the suspense now as it’s highly improbable that you’ll ever name this little beast. It’s a Capriolo 75. That is to say a 75cc disc overhead cam four stroke motorbike made by the Italian Capriolo Company. I believe my bike was circa 1961. I bought it in 1967 for £15 after I’d disposed of the wretched BSA Bantam. The Capriolo Company made a range of gorgeous little motorcycles from 1947-1964. They were beautifully engineered and very good looking –a bit like miniature Ducatis. My little 75 sounded really beefy and had much better performance than its horrible BSA predecessor. More importantly it was faster than most of the Moddy Boys on their Lambrettas and Vespas and certainly handled infinitely better than any scooter. I put Castrol R racing oil in its tank and everywhere I went I was accompanied by that sweet smell that evokes images of motorsport. Great stuff! I passed my bike test on this little thing, thus becoming the first person in my 6th form class to hold full driving licences for both car and motorcycle and drove it around for a year in virtually trouble free circumstances. When I did do any maintenance I always used to marvel at how well made it was: the quality of the casting and machining was quite exquisite. I sold it eventually (for the same price I paid for it -for some reason I didn't seem to lose much money in those days) to buy something bigger, namely the Ariel Red Hunter (see here) that at the time I though was more manly. Oh dear, the folly of youth!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Saucy Sarah’s Staggering Statistics

Photo from Channel 4 Television and purloined brazenly.

Last week Mad Dog readers were in a tizzy about the toxic troubles of titillating temptress Sarah Beeny. But the biohazardous beauty has done wonders for tourist traffic with my site hits increasing five fold at peak and three times on average.

More interestingly my photo hosting service, Flickr, indicates double the number of hits on the photos of the lovely Sarah over Channel 4 rival, Kirstie Allsopp. We have a very clear winner it seems. It's also of note that I’m getting a lot of search engine traffic for other property programme hosts Zilpah Hartley, Seetha Hallett, Simone Bienne and other posh looking ladies with improbable names. Top Tottie indeed! I can tell you (if you were ever in doubt) that sex, even with a very small “s” sells. Ha! Ha!

OK, I’m sorry. This all started out as an experiment and seems to have got out of hand. I promise I won’t mention the Beeny Babe again (well for few weeks at least). However I might do a post or two on her property programme peers and maybe CNN News anchors too.

I wonder if The Sun has any high paying positions open...?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Denial is Not Just a River in Egypt

The Monkey Man Sounds out a New Word

David Noon at the Axis of Evel Knevel has already commented on Dubya’s press conference two days ago but I’ve got to add my own 5 cents worth. When someone challenged George about the Amnesty International report comparing the Guantanamo Bay detention centre to a Soviet-style gulag he had the following to say:

“I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation.

In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is...”

Several things occur to me following this statement.

First the sheer lying arrogance of the man. This blatant denial is just beyond the pale. Does he think Amnesty International comprises a bunch of left wing extremists with a political agenda? By definition it’s a strictly neutral organization of the highest integrity and this crude attempt to besmirch its name is quite despicable. OK, if he doesn’t like the conclusions of their report, he can always commission a fully independent body like the International Red Cross to carry out an investigation.

Second, I fail to understand why the population of the USA voted this semi-literate moron back into office. Disassemble, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, means "To come apart" or "To break up in random," as in "The unit disassembles easily" or "The spectators began to disassemble." What of course he meant to say was "dissemble," which means "To disguise or conceal behind a false appearance," "To make a false show of," "To feign," or "To disguise or conceal one's real nature, motives, or feelings behind a false appearance." His wife was once a librarian –you’d think she’d encourage him to read a bit and expand his vocabulary beyond the basic 700 words.

Third, and while we’re on the subject, let’s start pronouncing words correctly. If I hear him say “Nukuler” one more time I’m going to scream. It’s more irritating than that bloody crazy frog ringtone. And it’s not just George doing it, the whole Republican party seems to be on message; are they all obsequious sycophants and toadies? Surely his handlers can include a bit of basic elocution in their coaching? Either they are too scared to tell him or they are pandering cynically to class-stratification.