Naked Blog

More famous than Susan Boyle!


Wednesday, April 30, 2003

THE FAT LADY SINGS

This is not me - yet.8.30 am

Well, it's over. Almost. In half an hour I'll be permitted - compelled, even - to munch some grub once again. I'm thinking turkey sandwiches on wholemeal bread. But right now it's easy to resist. My body isn't tuned to eat til midday, and all's quiet down below.
For those new around these parts, I've just fasted for 36 hours, evaluating this new programme.
So - would I do it again? Looks like I'll have to - maybe every fortnight. This morning the scales (after I scrubbed them) registered a life-threatening 13 stones 10 lb. (192 pounds, 87 kg) Not good. Waist varies between 36 in and 38 in, upgraded from decades of 32 in. It's all gotta go.

None of this is for vanity, you understand. Years ago (about ten) I realised my "pulling" days were past - even in a dog show. No, it's just boring old health, fitness, longevity... that kind of thing.

More later, after breakfast...



Burp! Delicious. Four slices of bread, and four of turkey. I can feel the concentration coming back already.

Talking of which, I learned via It's a blog's life (one to watch, btw.) of this BBC quiz - What kind of thinker are you? I enjoyed the quiz, and scored thus...
You are an Intrapersonal thinker

Intrapersonal thinkers:
Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves
Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them
You understand how your behaviour affects your relationships with others

Like intrapersonal thinkers, Leonardo worked hard to improve all aspects of himself. Other Intrapersonal thinkers include Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene

Careers which suit Intrapersonal Thinkers include Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child care worker, Explorer, Drama therapist
Pilot surprised me. Frankly, I would rather he gave 100% of his attention to aviation matters, and none at all to the intrapersonal. Otherwise, it's me to a T. Even got my main job listed there.

Slim Shady

The observant among you might notice a subtle change in the look of today's NB. But I want to go further, and replace this now boring yellow. It's your weblog - you choose. (Plus I'm slightly colour vision deficient, me.)

Suggestions via the hexadecimal system, which is one concept I did manage to grasp before I gave up on it all. Or you can pop a little shade-card in the comment box, if you have the necessary skills. The winner will be rewarded with a specially-commissioned photograph, once I've achieved my target weight.

Cat's Away

Taking advantage of Diamond Geezer's trip to Amsterdam, mike shamelessly nicks adapts to his own style the degrees of separation (Bacon number) concept. Mathematics and spreadsheets apart, this does throw up an interesting list of leading blogs at the TD(2) level.

But frankly, darlings, my own list is the only one to run with. Must get round to a few alterations there, though.

And that's probably that, for today. Now that Guinness is back on the me and you, it's sociability time again. (Intrapersonal thinker, you see. Some folk call it gossiping!)


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Tuesday, April 29, 2003

V.G.S.O.H.

Thanks for all your info and advice yesterday re waking up in bed with someone. These fair brought a tear to ma e'en. (I have done it, you know - just not for a very long time!) However, the purpose of my little Personal Ad was principally to scour the planet for someone mad enough to actually take me up on the proposition.

And from those, the response was sadly nil.

Oh, btw, did I mention there was a house thrown in for the correct applicant? Yours to own when I die? Silly me, forgetting a detail like that! But it's too late now - you had your chance, sweetie-pie, and you blew it. (Just kidding, honestly. I wouldn't do it either.) Plus, knowing my luck, they'd undoubtedly end up trying to poison me, or putting me in a home.



SARS Update

Last night Channel 4, which is on excellent form right now, broadcast an hour on the development of SARS. The bad news is that it kills doctors and nurses, who presumably have access to the best available care. The good news is that it's not explosively infectious. That is, had it been a classic flu virus surfacing last November, by now it would have swept the planet. Rather it spreads principally in families, hospitals, hotels and schools, indicating a virus of only medium transmissibility. Hmmm. We shall see. Leading to today's poll...

NEW POLL

"How likely do you think it is that you will contract SARS?"

To make things more interesting, I'll repeat this poll every month until the threat is over (or I die, whichever comes first), and keep a tally of the changing perception.



Results of last poll

"Are the coalition forces helping post-war Iraq as much as we might expect?"
  • Yes 24%
  • No 55%
  • Can't tell 21%
  • Total votes cast 42, by far our smallest poll response. This isn't surprising, in view of the virtual dropping of Iraq from the media. Thanks to all who voted.



    Fat Bastard News

    You can see in yesterday's late edition below that I've decided to take the plunge and explore 36 hours fasting. This means no food, of course, and only water and decaffeinated coffee to drink. (As if.) What is it about decaffeinated coffee? And alcohol-free wine? What freakozoids would even entertain such ideas? They're probably evangelical vegetarians.

    My own fast will include black coffee of the buzzy sort, cigarettes and possibly one pint of Guinness when I meet the man who's going to make me the new Chris Evans later this morning. OK - I know the big G is totally teeming with calories, but Rome wasn't built in an Augenblick.



    Radio Times

    Didn't go. Too shy to meet the guy. God - how I despise myself!

    You might think that you suffer from shyness a bit, but believe me, I've got the PhD. I'm so damn nervous I can't even answer the phone most of the time, far less go to dinner parties or other aspects of "normal" social life.

    So that's it. Again. Something which might have proved interesting and maybe even rewarding in the future - down the tubes once more. Ever get the feeling they stamped REJECT all over your birth certificate?

    I'm not at all happy about this, btw. Think I'll be depressed for a bit. That'll teach them. At least you know where you are with depression.



    Fasting Update, 3pm: Halfway through!

    Apropos of the above, I did go to bed for an hour, but couldn't get depressed. It's just not the time of year, plus it's sunny ouside. Sitting here now, unable to go to any pub at all (the calories!), it's obviously going to be a solo day. Ah well.

    About three hours ago would have been the first meal of the day, but there's no gnawing hunger, just some light-headedness, some loss of concentration.

    Fasting Update, 9pm: 24 hours down, 12 to go!

    Yes, it's true. Twenty-four hours since I ate a calorie. Or even drank one.

    So, how am I? Well, it's good of you to ask. Pretty damn good, on the whole. The tummy is sending regular signals, but the main thing is that I did it. (Oh - don't worry about the last twelve hours... I can sleep for Scotland.) Comes from having a clear conscience, you see.

    Diet Coke/Pepsi are good for the hungry tum - all that gas fills it up - but I haven't got any. Going for cigs, around teatime, I had to make a conscious decision not to even look at the chocolate counter. Even though I don't actually like the stuff that much, still it pulled my eyes brownwards.



    "Gay people don't have ambitions: they have daydreams." Quentin Crisp. Must cling on to that. My entire life is a daydream. The thing is, when you get older, it stops mattering what your life is. You've got there, but your critics have yet to do so.


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    Monday, April 28, 2003

    G.S.O.H.

    It's definitely springtime, and the sap is rising.

    I woke this morning with a very strange feeling - that it would be nice to have had someone in the bed beside me.

    Not for any monkey-business, you understand... oh no, you don't get me that easily! But just for a bit of a cuddle and a tickle. How odd. Haven't felt anything like that for years.

    A.L.A.



    Fair Shares

    It's a nightmare. My only shareholder has sold the lot! Now we've dropped from 38c to 32c. Still a bargain, though, if you ask me!

    I'm just beginning to get the hang of this Blogshares carry-on when the guy writes to say that it's all changing on May 1st. Much too complicated. What do I do with my 1000 free shares in my own website?



    FAT BASTARD NEWS Episode 1

    Hi, blogfans! It's 9pm. I've just eaten a Four Cheese Pizza, by Co-op. Plus two Honey Roast Turkey sandwiches, with lashings of Lurpak Lite Butter Spread, each guaranteed 100 percent meat. My belly is hanging over my Great Junction Street leather belt, and yet I'm happy with my weight. Ecstatic, even!

    How come? Because these are the first few moments of my 36 hour fasting programme. No more eating till 9am on Wednesday, by which time I'll be three - yes, three - pounds lighter! (Oh boy, have I got Wednesday morning's breakfast all lined up.)

    Watch this space, if you can still see me.

    Oh, and tomorrow I'm meeting a man about becoming a Radio Star. Fuck off, Video! (Did I ever tell you I was at school with Trevor Horn, btw? I'm sure I must have done, several times... )


    And you say? (10)   Link to this


    Sunday, April 27, 2003

    MEDIA STUDIES

    I'm bowled over. Speechless - almost. (As if!)

    Today I was going to scribble a bit about Matthew Perry, he who will for ever be Chandler Bing from Friends. What a burden! But at least he gets a million dollars an episode to comfort him.

    I was going to write about him simply because he was on Parkinson last night, and - knowing a little of his substance-abuse background - my nosiness was set to max. It was billed as his first ever solo chatshow, but he wasn't quite solo, being surrounded by Des O'Connor (a British light entertainment institution), and some half-Aussie dude who'd just starred in X-Men 2. Or maybe it was G-Men 3. I gave up on cinema when they abandoned photography.



    Gillian Anderson sat in the same seat a few months ago, and she was a disappointment. Without the red hair, lippy and FBI-issue gun she was revealed as the cipher she seems to be.

    But Perry was OK. He was plugging his forthcoming Mamet play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and he gave a creditable chat-show performance, mirroring the character in Friends. You know, I really fancied "getting to know him better", but hey - that's why he's worth a million bucks a pop. Doesn't mean he really is interesting - just that he's good at seeming to be.




    That's what I was going to do. But instead, read this...

    Another way of engaging with people's lives is the thing you're doing right now. Weblogging, I mean.

    Some bloggers give out nada, rather sticking to chat about RSS feeds, Trackbacks and other esoterica which elude me. Some reveal tiny, tantalising tidbits. And others, the ones which really matter, combine fascinating personalities with literary gifts which together can take us to reading heaven.

    You don't have to have had an action-packed background to blog. Any half-decent writer can entertain with something as ordinary as a trip to the supermarket. You don't have to, but it helps. It also helps to be somewhat young, as that's the time of maximum change, internal and external.



    (By now I know you're desperate to see who the hell I'm going on about.) Well, wait no longer - it's Kill Your Boyfriend day! With the sublimely-gifted Marc.

    Today's transcendent story (April 26, 2003) is about the day he got branded. Yes, branded. But that's not all! Linked from the tale is this remarkable picture. I stared at it till my monitor went into Power Save - because all of his so generously shared life seemed to pour out of those clear white eyes.

    Marc v Matthew? There's no comparison.



    You can write to Marc via his website, or if you wish you can leave a comment here, which he will read.


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    Saturday, April 26, 2003

    WELCOME BACK!

    Will and Grace. The new series started last night on Channel Four. Flawed but good. Flawed is good - reminds you you're not watching Cheers, Friends or Frasier.

    How have I lived all these weeks without Karen, my alter ego? She sounds more demonic than ever. I'm sure they've got her on helium.


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    Friday, April 25, 2003

    HI HO

    It's been a good week of lazing about, achieving lots of rest. Rest will be important in the coming pandemic - as they're already calling it - but more on that later. Today's rant is about families, a subject quite close to my heart at present, and it was written last night after a few pints of Guinness. Be afraid.

    Oh - by the way - we've gained another regular in the Port. His name is Tim, and he's two tons of fun. From Los Angeles originally, then Iowa. "A vowel state," I said to him. "Like Omaha and Idaho," he agreed, picking up on the implication. A really interesting guy, and of course his American accent makes the pub just that little bit more exotic. He loves it. Plus you can smoke all over the place.



    FAMILY VALUES

    It's not that often I write openly and honestly here on Naked Blog these days. With the constant pressures of hits and ratings, the essence of what we once had gets subsumed to the easy, the popular and the banal.

    Last night I watched Heathers, a low-budget but fascinating film with Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Deeply-flawed, but with the germ of a great idea, fallen foul of too small a writing budget.

    Tonight the deeply-flawed Ms Ryder appeared in Girl, Interrupted, to which I sat eager to engage. The play begins in hospital - her character being rescued from OD. Nothing startling so far. We've (almost) all done it.

    Following that, there was the interview with the shrink. (Yawn, yawn.) But it was one particular, brilliantly-written sentence which shocked me out of my bedtime torpor.

    "Susannah. Do you know how much you're hurting everyone around you?"

    Think about it. She's just tried to top herself, and the "health professional" lands that on her. Doctors make you worse. And isn't that typical of the way that modern family life isolates and stigmatises its weakest members? With medical assistance if available.

    A family is a minefield. A nest of vipers more poisonous than ricin. If they're putting shit like that onto you, then it's time to escape at the earliest opportunity, and just never look back.

    It took me about thirty years too long to realise. Years I'll never get back. Don't be kidded - they're after you, big time. And no - they won't leave you a penny. It'll all go to the other one with the grandkids.



    SARS

    We're all going to be exposed to it over the coming weeks. Some will become ill, and of those roughly 5 percent will die. Pretty horrifying, eh? Here's how to maximise your life-expectancy. (I have no medical training, nor any authority whatever to advise on health matters. But I'm just gonna do it anyway. All right?)
  • Be aware that your immune system is your only defence. Unless a mask is taped to your face, then most of the air you breathe will simply sneak round the sides. Even that air which does pass through the mask will not be adequately filtered. Virus particles are very small indeed.

  • Stay where you are. Your immune system is already adjusted and tuned to your customary surroundings, and will handle the incoming virus far better on its own turf, so to speak. A holiday hotspot would be the worst possible scenario for the battle.

  • Take Vitamin C. Four or five grammes a day. This is somewhat laxative, so build up, but start NOW.

  • Wash your hands often, and don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless with very clean hands.

  • Sleep, good food and a happy outlook all help those vital immune cells do their work. As does meditation.

  • If and when you do become ill, seek medical help. There's nothing your doctor can do to stop the virus, but he/she can treat attendant bacterial infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia as they arise.
  • Good luck. And when this is over, consider introducing a measured level of unhygienic practice to your life, to keep your immune cells in peak condition. It seems no coincidence to me that Toronto and Singapore are two of the cleanest places on earth.

    Sars Links:

    BBCi
    Department of Health (UK)
    Centre for Disease Control (US)
    World Health Organisation

    More cheerful news...

    Jonno, creator of the world-famous Penis Blog, writes in my comment box in answer to Marc of Kill Your Boyfriend...
    "I would've liked to have more uncut (i.e., non-American), unerect, and uncaucasian penises represented. But c'est la vie. Re: the comments in Green Fairy's box: all penises on the site were verified for authenticity. You're going to have to trust me on this. And finally - how exactly does Marc know he got three right? Just wondering."
    You can read much more about the evolution of the Penis Blog on Jonno's attractive site.
    "I never thought I'd say this, but right now I'd be happy if I don't see another penis for a long, long time."
    Three sites 4 U

    Somewhere Under the Brooklyn Bridge. More first-rate material from across the pond.

    Back home...

    Invisible Stranger and Diamond Geezer. Work out your Diamond Geezer Number!

    Thanks to all for your Happy Blogday greetings yesterday. Hope you enjoyed those blasts from the past!

    Fair Shares

    Heavens to Betsy! We're now listed for trading at Blogshares! Get in quick while we're still only 38 cents. Could be one of your better investments! (Someone's already bought 1000!) Me, I haven't a clue about share-trading, but I do know an ethical investment when I see one.


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    Thursday, April 24, 2003

    IT WAS TWENTY TWO YEARS AGO TODAY...

    Tuesday, April 24, 2001

    Hi blogfans. My first blog courtesy of our lovely friends at blogger.com



    Oh dear. Something interesting has happened already. Or, rather, appalling. A creature, sounding large, is running all over my kitchen ceiling. There are three possibilities... bird, mouse, or even RAT!! It's a nightmare. Surely it must be a bird - a rodent would be naturally quiet, to say nothing of nocturnal, mostly. (For those new to magnificat, one lives in a hovel - uncleaned and uncared for - with various food containers scattered over the floor.) However, there is no food, ABSOLUTELY NONE, above my kitchen ceiling.

    I do vaguely remember scampering feet in the past, with no ill-effects. Yep, it's a bird. Definitely. We live in the top floor of a block of flats you see, under the roof. Plus it's springtime, when nesting takes place on a massive scale. Except in my heart.

    Oh dear, as I say. Who would have thought my blog would take off so quickly?




    But our web-presence long precedes the advent of Blogger...

    April 1997

    Sitting here contemplating not really very much, the thought struck me that maybe you'd like to see some of the comments which readers were kind enough to send in on our recent poll. And they're not all complimentary, by the way! No, not at all! Here are one or two which my secretary has pinned to the bathroom wall for those pesky constipated moments.
  • "Great page! Well done! If it continues like this, I'll be wanting it for my Dome!" P Mandelson MP
  • "Loved the pic, kid. Look me up next time you're in LA." Leonardo DiCaprio
  • "You should tell that Tony to take a hike! And he should stop using my nickname, by the way. New Labour, new Tony." A Blair MP
  • "I've never read such a load of self-referential, feeble, puerile attempts at "wit" in my whole life. Seen better in a school magazine. Primary school at that. Considering the gifts bestowed on you at birth, and the selfless way your mother and I sacrificed for you all your childhood, you should be a Captain of Industry by now. Ronald from two doors down is a manager in the Co-op, you know. But I hear you're nothing more than a shop assistant." Your dad.
  • "This page looks best when viewed on Microsoft Internet Explorer." W Gates.
  • "It was in the cards that all this would happen. Where's that joint? Oh - that'll be fifteen quid, by the way." Granny
  • "President Clinton fucks little girls' faces then expects to be praised for championing abortion clinics. So what? So we can get our insides scraped?" Germaine Greer
  • "The so-called Peace Process won't even see out the Spring, far less the Summer. There are far too many vested interests wanting the war to continue. It is the nature of our species to divide into opposing camps and hate each other. That is our fatal flaw, and it will quite quickly now lead to our extermination." Peter
  • Lots of historical snippets there, and clear indications of the future style and tone.



    One of our many celebrity readers.So - thank you all for your interest in this ongoing work. Thank you also for the kindness so many have shown. And thanks of a different sort to Tony of WordWrap Web Development, whose generous donations of time and skill have made the whole merry-go-round possible.

    My only aim is to continue doing Naked Blog, in whatever style or format, until my gnarled, arthritic hands can no longer operate the keyboard.

    As Judy would have said, "I love you all". (Wipes away a solitary tear.)


    And you say? (12)   Link to this


    Wednesday, April 23, 2003

    NORMAL SERVICE

    Sorry we were AWOL for a couple of hours this morning. This was because of network maintenance, not any sort of tantrum. (It's springtime - not the tantrum season.)

    Gorgeous George

    Will Galloway survive? I sense from the comment, "I'll stand as an Independent, if necessary", that he realises the writing is on the wall, in whatever language. That "Sir, I salute you," clip they keep showing, of him addressing SH, will not go down well with his local selection committee. Plus he almost certainly has the internet against him, and that's a hard beast to control.



    Independent? The last one I recall doing that was my own former MP, Ron Brown, the Member for Leith. Mr Brown had developed a special relationship with Colonel Gaddafi of Libya. (What is it about Scottish Labour MP's and despotic tyrants?)

    This trundled along for some years, but it was only at the time of the mace-throwing, and subsequent "frolicking in showers" with his secretary, that the local party deselected him. Oh, he stood as an Independent... "Honest Ron, the one you've known and loved for years," sort of thing. But he got nowhere. The Party is bigger, infinitely so, than any one person.

    So it's tata quite soon for George, I confidently predict.

    So many men, so little time...

    I'm indebted to Green Fairy for this little tale. It's called Penis Blog, and you have to match the penis to the blogger. They didn't invite me to take part, but it's still worth a look, nevertheless. [Caution. Not for those who don't wish to see penises. Personally, I couldn't get past the second one. Too many fond memories.]


    And you say? (11)   Link to this


    Tuesday, April 22, 2003

    LABOUR MP GALLOWAY ACCUSED BY Daily Telegraph
    "George Galloway, the Labour backbencher, received money from Saddam Hussein's regime, taking a slice of oil earnings worth at least 375,000 a year, according to Iraqi intelligence documents found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad."
    Telegraph... (Might require registration.)
    Guardian...
    Nothing surprises me about politicians any more.

    POLL RESULTS

    "Is the war in Iraq justified?"
    YES 44%
    NO 56%
    A close result. When the BBC commissioned the same poll a few weeks ago, presumably on UK residents only, the results were
    YES 58%
    NO 42%
    Here, with our educated, international readership, we've almost exactly reversed that finding. Thanks to all who voted.

    New Poll

    "Are the coalition forces helping post-war Iraq as much as we might expect?" Please vote. Your opinion matters.



    THE PLOT THICKENS

    Did you, like me, wonder at the ease with which the Americans took Baghdad? We looked in vain for Saddam's crack fighting forces, which appeared to have melted faster than an ice cream on a sand dune.

    From the always-interesting Ethel the Blog last week, we can delve into a fascinating story of secret deals between the Pentagon and the Saddam regime. (The post links don't work, so scroll down to THE DEAL and MORE ON THE DEAL.)

    WHAT A MONSTER!

    Yes, now that Spring is in the air again, it's cashing-in monster-spotting time once more in Scotland's world-famous Loch Ness! Just to spice things up a bit, it seems there's now evidence of UFO radiation in the Loch Ness area, bringing exciting new theories to the great monster riddle. Story and webcams.

    There are various competing Nessiecams around the joint, and another one, showing more actual water, is here. The visibility at Loch Ness seems poor today, but when I looked there definitely were a couple of monster-looking shapes you could make out.


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Monday, April 21, 2003

    EASTER MESSAGE

    "On the third day He rose from the dead."

    He didn't. Just didn't.

    Death, by definition, is an irrevocable state. If you seem to rise from it, then you were not dead, but in some other condition. (Coma, catatonia, et al.) Whilst rising from a coma might be nice for all concerned, and a definite talking point down the boozer, it's not in any sense miraculous.

    It's not a sufficient basis for the world's biggest religion. (Roman Catholic Christianity.)

    Therefore, what such clerics say about me, or you, or anyone else, is as nothing. Ignore every word and get on with your lives. You have my permission.

    God, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish.

    Mysterious Ways

    Yesterday, at the junction of North Bridge and Princes Street, there was a Falun Gong stall. A group of about twenty oriental-looking people were standing about with their eyes closed, possibly in prayer or meditation. Others handed out leaflets.

    What our spiritually-minded guests probably didn't realise however was that just a few feet beneath the glass bricks they were standing on was a former notorious gentlemen's convenience. GHQ it was called - a subterranean pissoir which had rocked around the clock through two World Wars at least. Every queen's last resort after a night on the tiles. Tom Driberg the Labour MP got arrested there once, spotting badgers with a Guardsman, or maybe it was a Norwegian sailor.

    It just tickled me, the juxtaposition, that's all.


    And you say? (8)   Link to this


    Saturday, April 19, 2003

    LAST EXIT

    And so we hugged each other, outside some seedy little restaurant where we'd just shared our final meal together, and said goodbye. It's been quite a few months for goodbyes.

    Earlier, the evening nearly went off the rails completely, when I threw a mini-tantrum. He and Sandra (who's down from Caithness) were having an intense head-to-head, leaving moi ignored on the sidelines. For fifteen minutes. "That's why I never brought Stuart round to your house," I said to Sandra. "Because I knew this would happen. I even told you about it."

    Stu went ballistic at that. "Stop giving me all your evilness!" he cried. "I'm not being evil," I retorted. "Just accurate." "You are - I can feel it coming off you," he said then. (There's no real defence against that one.)

    He flounced off to the gents, leaving me and Sandra. "It's just the same with Johnny," Sandra said. "Wherever we go, he's the candle for the moths. I'm just there to keep him out of trouble and get him home."

    "Men," I said to her. "Too right," she agreed.



    The stakes were high all round last night. Sandra and Alligator Johnny are here for the weekend, which overlaps with Stuart's leaving. Too much emotion. More than two hours of company and I like to go to bed and watch the telly for a bit. All my life I've earned my living by speaking. It's work.

    Stu and I called pax, but by then I was planning my exit strategy. "Are you and Stuart going off somewhere?" Sandra asked. "No," I truthfully replied. "I'm going home."



    But no sooner had I left the Malt and Hops than there was this delicious voice behind me. "Patricia - come here!" Stu was calling. (That's me. Also Aunty Pats.) We looked for somewhere for a bite. Neither of us dared say the "last time" words. We found some near-empty Chinese joint just across the river. Eat all you want. 9.99.

    To say it was emotional would be to somewhat overtax the term. But we got through it. And parted. And here I am alone again. 1994 we met, Stu was able to calculate. Time flies when you're getting on. That's why the elderly look so tranquil - they know they're going to be dead in five minutes anyway.

    More Cheerful News...

    Naked Blog is now indexed on Blogshares, but not listed for trading yet. You have to be valued at $1000, and so far we're only $404 and a bit. Now would be an excellent time for various high maintenance sites to give us a wee mention. Not hinting, mind you...

    Plus, I'm assuming by now that you've all seen the dullest blog in the world.


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    Friday, April 18, 2003

    GOD HELP THE MISTER

    Sisters has a special connotation for gay men, which doesn't easily translate to the heterosexual world. Gay men class as their sister another gay man with whom they have a very intense bond, greater than mere friendship. Typically, two sisters will be of roughly the same age, background and income. They might meet in a "pickup" situation - might even have some sex in the early days - but soon come to realise that the other's company is worth much more than a shag or two.

    At that point the sex stops - if it ever started - and other shared interests kick in. Almost always, the pair realise that the other isn't really masculine enough for their sexual interest, so they then become free to openly fancy whoever lights their candles - which is usually the same type of man. Anything with trousers on, after enough drinks.



    There's much going out and manhunting together. This can lead to squabbles, and these have to be overcome if the sisterhood is to survive. Yet there's an agreement, spoken or not, that their own bond is greater than that with any passing consort. (Trade.) Sexual exploits are freely discussed (this is compulsory), and joked about over a gin or two. "Really, honey!?! I don't believe it! You mean he...?" "Yes - would I ever lie to you?" "My God - you're such a star baby! Be sure and pass him on when you're finished with him..."

    Sisterships can last for years - decades even - but they usually end if one or the other develops a more permanent relationship with an "outsider". It's not compatible with the fragile state of an early romance to have someone about who knows you in a way that your new lover may never do. So the sister gets ditched, mostly quite willingly, as with the arrival of the new beau the dynamic is no longer acceptable. She's made it, and you haven't.

    I've had five sisters so far. One left town. One hooked a guy. Another married a woman - to our communal astonishment. One died, and yet another leaves town next week. Who will be number six?


    And you say? (3)   Link to this


    Thursday, April 17, 2003

    FOR STUART (Für Elise)

    Others will give Stuart physical gifts, as I will too. But this - here on Naked Blog - will be my main testament. This site, which without him would never have happened, is where I want to tell our tale.

    Many years ago, in a distant galaxy, I'd just been maced in the face and robbed at knife-point in my home. The whys and wherefores of that will remain for the book. One friend who seemed ready to help was Angela H. I visited her house a lot.

    On the third day, when I rang, she said that Stuart, a friend, was there - but I could still come up. Her flat was in Pirrie Street. I bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker at the corner Vicky Wine.



    There we were, the three of us, and - to be honest - I thought Stuart was some straight guy. Angela was going out with Bobby at the time - one of my former customers - but that never worked out good, and she ended up being secretary for Tony my IT manager. That's secretary. Nothing more.

    We sat on Angela's bed, the three of us - chatting, smoking, drinking. I told Stu all my recent details. He'd heard them all already. No secrets. Full disclosure. I kind of took to him.



    "Stuart's very good at tarot," Angela said to me. "You should try it."

    I doubted, very much. Never been into stupid shit like that before. But man was I desperate - for something. Anything to let me know that I might live for another week. So I agreed.

    "It's fifteen pounds, " Stuart said, "And you get a tape of the reading."

    Mardi Gras, I thought, with a thousand quid roll in my shirt pocket. Yeah I'll have one... make it the de-luxe.

    And so he read. Carefully and calmly he listed out my life over the last few years. He said that yes - something awful has happened, but that I'll be safe and OK for the next six months. That a blonde woman in particular would help me. That I had no further need to be afraid. It was over. Finished.



    Folks - you have NO idea how comforting that was. A bond was forged between us that night, which would never weaken, only grow. Stuart knows it. Angela probably does, although now she lives in Bristol with her new husband.

    We moved on from there. Discovered a shared love of the outdoors and nature. Inside, he cooked and I washed up. We played Dune and Myst till we knew every move. Glory days. DX50 and 8Mb RAM. They just don't make games like that any more.



    Then there was the night - from which all of this originally sprang - when I decided to try a "Home Page" as they were called then. Nettie Composer. "Drag and drop", Tony said to me.

    Well - guess what was the first thing I tried to drag and drop - yeah - it was an effing counter. Stupidly I thought I only had to move it from Tony's page to my own. How sad was that?

    Stuart sat with me, in the corner of my living room, both of us on cushions as I pushed the envelope out. Mike writes about troubled diva. Mine was magnificat. Magnificat because one day I cried buckets at the Monteverdi Vespers 1610. I had the name, I needed continuity. Stuart wasn't so much continuity as a new world order. With him I would move to better things.

    And yes, it happened. We've had our ups, our downs, our ins and outs - but let me salute a most remarkable man, whom I'm privileged to have as a friend.

    So why the elegy? Is he dead? No - but he is moving out of town to Fife - which isn't a million miles away I grant you. It'll never be quite the same, though... Stu always there for me at the far end of Junction Street.

    I love you like the brother I never had, and the sister I would dearly have added.


    And you say? (3)   Link to this


    Wednesday, April 16, 2003

    CONVERSATIONS WITH TELESALES PEOPLE #237

    Just moments ago...
    Phone: Ring, ring. I usually don't answer the phone, as it's almost always someone I don't want to speak to. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that the people I do want to hear from have given up phoning.
    Me: Hello.
    Nicola: (Speaking much too quickly in some southern English accent.) "Hello, squiible wahhwah blahdeblah blingbling corblahmey Scotland."
    Me: I'm sorry...
    Nicola: (Slowly, as if to a fractious child) Is that Mister [Naked Blog]?
    Me: Yes
    Nicola: I'm calling from the Bank of Scotland. Do you have a couple of minutes to spare? Ah - I do actually bank with them.
    Me: Depends what it's for.
    Nicola: It's for finding the best deal for you.
    Me: Not interested, thank you.
    Nicola: Don't you want to save money?
    Me: No.
    Nicola: (With genuine astonishment) Why?
    Me: Thank you for calling. I appreciate it.
    Nicola: (Long pause.) Thank you Mister NB.
    End result? I spend nothing, and Nicola and I waste the minimum amount of each other's time.


    And you say? (8)   Link to this


    Tuesday, April 15, 2003

    FIRST WITH ALL THE NEWS

    If yesterday was about anything in these parts, it was about Dr Condoleezza Rice. Much heated debate in the attached comment box, and thanks to all for that. You can, if you wish, read Dr Rice's official biography. (Mr and Mrs Bush and Cheney are there too.)

    Another thing we touched on was the Tony for US President meme, which first came to my notice on Sunday evening's BBC Panorama. What gnashing of teeth there must have been then at the Guardian offices, as that was their lead story in Monday's G2 supplement.
    "As Tony Blair dons the laurels he will soon share with George Bush, the prime minister's popularity in the US has already reached extraordinary altitudes. In recent polls his approval rating is higher than that of the president. Throughout the country, in cities and towns where most people usually pay little attention to the resident of Downing Street or any other foreigner, talk-radio hosts and newspaper editorials salute him."
    Read more...
    OK then, whom do we want from the US in return?



    VIVA ESPANA!

    Yes - it's true! I've been invited to join some friends in a "let's get wrecked in Ibiza" jaunt, starting in late June. How jolly!

    Remember three queens and two dogs do Dumfries and Galloway last summer? Well - it's the same crew, minus the dogs of course. Sam, Graham, Valerie and yours truly. And rather than sleeping in tents, they've invested in an apartment. (I should point out that Valerie is neither a queen nor a dog, but a real woman.) Won't that just teach me to write about nude beaches? Talk about prescience!

    However - let's not get over-excited by this, as I've just spent the entire night having plane-crash dramas. It's a bugger. So, reluctantly, I've decided to decline yesterday's kind invite. I'd just get ill, and have some sort of emotional collapse onboard, which wouldn't be a pretty sight.
    "Don't touch me! Of course I'm not all right! We're all going to die!!Give me another fucking tablet!!"
    (Please don't write in with well-meant but ultimately unhelpful statistics. I hold degrees from quite prestigious outfits in those very matters. But I earn my livelihood in gambling, and numbers do come up, on a regular basis.)

    TUESDAY TWO

    Ethel the Blog, written from Texas, and highly critical of the US administration and its plans for post-war Iraq. Many news reports which I hadn't previously seen. Your views might differ.

    The World, Backwards, written from England (I think), and an attempt by the writer to understand his recent deliberate overdose.

    And finally...

    There's still time to enter David's fabulous 20 songs in 18 seconds quiz, and there's always time to buy your exclusive Troubled Diva merchandise. Great stocking fillers!

    Don't suppose any of you pop historians saw The Tommy Steele Story (1957), during the night on Channel Four? Does Mr Steele warrant any sort of award or tribute act? He was huge at the time, and I even used to fancy him. (But I was probably only about nine.) It was the Teddy Boy period.

    Word of the Week

    Deba'athification, as espoused by Dr Ahmad Chalabi on Breakfast With Frost. It was also from Dr Chalabi that I gleaned the correct pronunciation of his country. It's Irrarrk, but with a somewhat rolled leading r. (Touch your top teeth with your tongue as you say the r.) This, at a stroke, puts all the ack-ack merchants in the wrong. But will they change? Is the Pope etc.? And why is Sian Williams sitting in Natasha's seat these days?


    And you say? (16)   Link to this


    Monday, April 14, 2003

    BY ANY OTHER NAME

    In last night's Panorama, some dude in Washington DC was saying that now is a very good time to have a British (sic) accent in the US. He said that, privately, many of our starred and striped cousins would love to have Saint Tony for President. Reasons given: he's a family man. He's religious without being evangelical. He's articulate, and he's never been in a Betty Ford Clinic.

    Well, Naked Blog is now in a position to return the compliment. Not George! Oh no - perish the thought. I'm sure he's a delight deep down, but rather I was thinking of the US Secretary of State. Yes, Co-Lin Powell for Prime Minister! I watched him on Breakfast with Frost yesterday, and he was masterful. Screened questions, it seemed, and rehearsed answers, but what the heck! Life is a cabaret, my friend - even if our place is simply to sweep the stage.



    And this added another strand to something which has been occupying my fertile mind for a day or two. Just how important is a name - in terms of success? Would Co-Lin have got nearly so far if he'd been stuck with plain old Colin for a moniker?

    Take Condoleezza Rice. Doesn't she just merit some sort of prize? I'm back-projecting to her birth-time, and probing her mother's train of thought. What could Mrs Rice call her new daughter that would make people sit up and take notice?

    Mary Rice? Nah - doesn't do a thing. Jeanie? Same, but worse. And as for Rita Rice - well, we're talking playground ridicule and social exclusion.

    No, Condoleezza it had to be. And the results are yours to judge.



    FAT BASTARD NEWS

    Listen guys... do you, like me, sometimes look in your mirror naked and despair? Do you remember the day when your oh so manly body hair lined up into a love-trail, rather than being stretched over a globulous whalebelly? And ladies... do you recall your once-pert tits and bum, wondering if now a farmyard might be more figure-friendly?

    Well, worry no more, for help is at hand - from Scotland of all places. (The home of chips (aka freedom fries), fatty pies and deep-fried Mars Bars, no less.)
    "Their study found volunteers who fasted for 36 hours shed about 3lbs and did not regain the weight by over-eating. Nutritionists say fasting for a day and a half is the most effective way of losing weight yet tested. The Aberdeen-based team is now conducting further research to develop a controlled regime of fasting to help curb the worldwide epidemic of obesity." Read more...
    It's a miracle. I'm going to do it till I'm as slim as Condoleezza.

    Noon Update: Caption Competition Just what is Condi saying in the pic above? I had a couple of ideas, but I'm sure you'll do much better. Answers in the comment box, s'il vous plait.


    And you say? (19)   Link to this


    Saturday, April 12, 2003

    TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

    Some time ago everyone was oohing and ahhing about an item called Alexa Search Bar. This was a hitherto-unknown setup which published lists of the top twenty weblogs searched by its users. What fun we had, noting who was up, down and no-change since last week! Interest subsided though, when the penny dropped that no-one at all - whom we were aware of - actually had an Alexa Search Bar.

    But there is another, much better-known searching commodity, and its name is Google. Such is the Rumsfeldian might of the weblog you are reading, that should you access Google and search for the simple word blog, then you will quickly find us there, at position number 29. In the discovered universe - give or take, mas o menos.

    So what? I hear you asking. Stop blowing your goddammed trumpet and get on with it!



    Well, the plot thickens, almost as quickly as your author's waistline. You see, a gentleman by the name of Benjamin Edelman of Harvard Law School has been researching Naked Blog, along with some others, with particular attention to the weblogs that the Google SafeSearch facility omits. And it's quite a few. And this is one of them.



    What outrage! I hear you crying. Everyone knows about Naked Blog's listings in the Guardian (twice), plus BBCi, not to mention every leading awards ceremony (which we never win.) How dare this... this foreign algorithm discriminate thus?!?

    Quite easily, as it turns out. But I must admit my gas is at a peep. There are no - that is not one - pictures of the unclad in these pristine parts. No naughty stories. (Well, maybe this one, but that was in 1999.) No drug misuse, cigarette-smoking, Darwinism without the alternative, blasphemy, violence... oh, I could go on all day.

    Enough already. I've more than made my point. But should you wish to see the complete list of UnSafe Blogs from the otherwise Google Top 100, then it is here.

    Thanks to Anders Jacobsen for bringing this to my attention.

    The omitted URLs are: Ring around the blog... (#2), rabbit blog (#10), Ethel the Blog (#14), Blog Sisters (#19), Naked Blog (#29), www.nytimes.com/2002/07/28/magazine/28ONLANGUAGE.html (#42), Shark Blog (#43), andersja's blog (#48), Blog of a Bookslut (#49), World Cup Blog - Follow the Action (#51), josh blog (#54), The Tard Blog (#67), kd decides to be hooha.us (#71), captions blog - is it funny? (#72), Samizdata.net - Glossary (#82), how to blog (#84), Bruner Blog: Rick Bruner's self-indulgent rants, peeves, trivial ... (#88), ***Dave Does the Blog (#96), d/blog (#97), greeblie blog (#98), Blog Anon (#99)

    Take a walk on the wild side!


    And you say? (3)   Link to this


    Friday, April 11, 2003

    WITH NO PARTICULAR PLACE TO GO

    Results of the great "men's hairy back" poll...

    Do you find a man's hairy back a...
  • No-no 32%
  • I prefer women 25%
  • It wouldn't bother me 18%
  • By then I'm looking elsewhere 9%
  • I'll take anything I can get 8%
  • Yes, please 8%
  • So there you have it. The results didn't really surprise me, except possibly the fact that only one quarter of NB readers seem drawn to the fair sex. Although I've never understood heterosexuality, I cannot deny that it takes place on a massive scale. But clearly not here, however. (Unless I entertain a much larger number of lady readers than previously estimated.)



    Today's poll reverts to that topic again, and I hope will provide a snapshot of NB readers' opinions. The wording is culled straight from the BBC, but I'll withhold their result to avoid influencing you.

    (At this point I can imagine you all furiously claiming, "But I'm not that easily influenced!" Well - an entire advertising industry says you're wrong.) Don't blame me - I didn't design the species; I only comment on it.



    There's comment on comment going on around the blogs. Suggestions are being made in various places that rather than express their views on Iraq, bloggers should remain silent. A powerful, but by no means isolated, voice is here...
    "There's too much to say about the sheer snide vanity of much of the blogging I've read, both pro and anti invasion. Any writer who can't match the ambivalent, precision-bombing genius of Get Your War On should just shut the fuck up." (The World, Backwards, aka vaguenoodle)
    To which we quickly replied...
    "Dear Noodle. So long as my own blog remains free, I'll write there whatever I choose, and it's on a strict take it or leave it basis. The whole point of blogging surely is that the writers express their own views, which will change from time to time. Such views include of course your own, as expressed here."
    I'd be genuinely interested in your own thoughts - to blog or not to blog?



    There was an hilarious show on BBC1 last night, about policing in the West End of London. It starred PC Toby Grigg, who - with his copious hairgel and 'bring it on' attitude - struck me as nothing so much as a Pop Idol with handcuffs. The two most common crimes in that part of town seem to be drug dealing and mobile phone pinching. Neither of those would apply to this weblog. I'm old-fashioned enough that when I'm out, I want to stay out. I see the latest Nokia, etc creations as nothing more than tracking devices - electronic tagging that people are mug enough to pay for themselves. Ah well.



    Marc of Kill Your Boyfriend has moved to www.killyourboyfriend.net Plus his new-look page has a tasty self-portrait. (At last!) [Please note: this site contains images that some might not enjoy.]



    My friend and drinking-companion Rex has re-launched Dysfunktaboy. The site that puts the fun into dysfunction!



    I'm finding myself ever more drawn to the US Secretary of Defense (I suppose I should spell it), Donald Rumsfeld. Now - I know you might disagree with his actions, but you've got to admit he's a total star. Donald has got the it factor, whatever it is.

    I especially love the way he eschews modern gadgets such as autocues, and instead reads his speeches (which are to die for, btw), straight from the book - with a delivery as deadpan as the late Bob Hope.

    Secretary Rumsfeld uses timing to great effect, pausing between sentences lest the press-pack feel the urge to cheer or applaud. His dress and hair are immaculate, unlike our insipid equivalent, Geoff Hoon. What kind of name is Hoon, I ask you? All of the above, plus being in charge of the world's mightiest army, and guess what - Donald is seventy, yes seventy years old!

    There's hope for me yet. Maybe San Quentin isn't the only option available.

    (US readers, and there are a couple, will doubtless know considerably more on this matter. They are as free as the very birds to disagree.)


    And you say? (11)   Link to this


    Thursday, April 10, 2003

    NEW POLL

    Self-explanatory. No third option. Exactly the same wording as the BBC used - except this isn't the BBC. Please vote.

    Results of the last poll tomorrow, together with an in-depth look at that most elusive of men, the US Secretary of Defence.


    And you say? (0)   Link to this


    Wednesday, April 09, 2003

    JUST REJOICE On the downfall of Saddam Hussein's statue, Baghdad.

    Just rejoice.It was a "moon-landing moment", wasn't it? The glory of the day was that it was the Baghdad citizens, not the US forces, who started the task, just eventually aided by the necessary engineering force.

    My heart fell a few inches when they draped the Stars and Stripes over the effigy's head, but this came down to be replaced by the flag of Iraq - that too soon to be removed, so as not to symbolically fall with the regime.

    It was Rageh Omaar's "Hindenburg moment" also, as Maxine in the studio kept telling him to go on, even though the lad had clearly run out of things to say. (You should remember that the Hindenburg was history in about ninety seconds - this statue hung on somewhat longer!)



    So, what now for the doubters and naysayers, as Charlie has often asked. What now for Messrs Cook and Galloway MP? Do we hear the sound of by-elections being called? I think we certainly should.

    It's easy to get carried away by emotion at times like this - especially easy for professional "fence-sitters" such as myself. We remember the many who have died to achieve the events of today, and we thank them however we can. And we remember also that more blood, both military and civilian, will still be cast aside onto the indifferent sand and stone.

    Today, just for a time, I felt proud of my species again.


    And you say? (20)   Link to this



    DISUNITED STATE

    Gimme the moonlight...People tell me I'm a disciplined drinker. "We never see you getting trollied, Peter," they say to me. "You always know when to go home. How do you do that?"

    Well, I can tell you. It's a mixture of experience and caution. All of my public appearances are a facade, you see. I've worked in falsehood for so damn long that I've completely forgotten how to be genuine. That's why I spend roughly twenty hours a day alone... the alternative is too exhausting.

    But sometimes, very occasionally, a little too much of the Al Jazeera flows down the gullet, and then all hell breaks loose, when my real, thoroughly unpleasant personality is unleashed onto whoever is around.



    Take yesterday with Stuart, my closest friend, and soon to leave me forever. But that's a different story. There we were sitting in one of our locals, and I'd foolishly swapped my [dark beer] for some palatable white wine. Served in those potty-glasses that hold half a bottle. Well, I had several of those, and then Chemical Ally came in, the proprietor of the quite excellent Village.

    Guess what? I launched straight into a harangue about the lack of sponsorship emanating from his wallet. Then I came home and insulted all my readers in a comment box. Then I penned the nippy little ditty below. Then I phoned some people I haven't seen for ten years, suggesting a meeting. Thank God they weren't in. Here's hoping they've moved, and some other poor sod is puzzling over the answerphone message.

    Disciplined drinker? Well, now you know why. Mostly.



    And now I'm off to The Village for one of Barbara's delicious lunches. Two generous courses for just 6.95 - served with all the gossip of the day. I hear Andy and Bernice are back together again, but Stuart isn't impressed.


    And you say? (8)   Link to this


    Tuesday, April 08, 2003

    SPONSOR THIS
    An illustration of why you should never drink and post...

    The Naked sponsorship deals are not working well. Not at all. One publican - whom I cannot name for legal reasons - has taken on a completely frosty attitude towards NB. Now (after two years of free, prime publicity) he looks down on me like the trash he serves his drinks to.

    Another gentleman I was chatting to tonight came up with stuff like, "You'll have to prove how many hits my site is getting from Naked Blog."

    Fair question. Except that now that I've deleted his pub, there won't be any at all. Fuck them all. I really don't care. No more mentions on this weblog. Our stories will progress perfectly well without the backgrounds. There's no such thing as a free mention. Too late, senores y senoritas - I never gave a shit in the first place.


    And you say? (2)   Link to this



    THE POPE OF ROME

    "So, Stuart," I said to him. "What do you think about Bush meeting Blair in Belfast tomorrow? Why Belfast, of all places?"

    We were sitting having a few pints in one of our locals, and generally chewing the fat. We'd already dissed and dismissed "Chocolate Alex" (a boring old git supreme), and were looking for the next handy topic. "It's Bush's first time out of the USA, so far as I know," I pressed on. "So why the hell Belfast?"

    Stuart's face took on a faraway look, of the type I'd seen and often feared before. "It's for implanting the Demon Seed," he announced. "What better place?"

    "You mean like Masons, and the New World Order?" I begged to ask, frantically trying to recall my Jon Ronson, and his tales of the Bilderberg Group and suchlike. There was also the clearest of evidence that George Bush Sr was part of the Bohemian Grove owl-burning set. Tomorrow was looking more and more treacherous by the moment, and I shivered inside, as Stuart pressed on with his ancient, arcane knowledge.



    "Tomorrow, Bush and Blair will be initiated into the IRA," Stuart opined. "What Iraq is going through now, Ireland has suffered for centuries. And Blair of course has fresh young blood on his hands - so now he has to pay the price."

    I paused then, pint of [dark beer] halfway to my mouth. "Man, you can't be serious!" I exclaimed. "It can't be anything of the sort - must be something to do with the refuelling of the plane... like in the old days when they flew from Shannon to Gander."

    "Nonsense!" Stu retorted. "Just how simple are you, Peter - and how long have we known each other?" (About seven years, would be the answer, but it seems more like that number of decades.) "The two of them will sit on the Blarney Stone," he continued. "To see who will be King Of The World!"

    "Oh no!" I gasped, thinking of all I'd learned about Bilderberg, Bohemian Grove, The New World Order, the World Bank, and so on. Thinking about the very people whom Our Lord Jesus Christ had ejected from the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, but who now seemed set for the re-match, both home and away. Earth to earth, bomb to bomb, missile to missile.



    "Darling, it's all going to crumble," Stuart went on. "They're lost, they're dinosaurs, but they don't yet know that they've lost it. On September 11th, 2001 the earth moved onto a higher plane.

    "People thought it was the end of the world, and it was - to the old order. So these are the dumb phantoms, the lost souls burning in mortal torment who'll meet tomorrow in the Devil's playground."

    "Whoa! You're going too fast!" I muttered, frantically trying to handwrite his wisdom. "That's it," he said then, terminally. "You've stopped the flow. I can't go on. Next time you'll have to get a dictaphone."



    So now - dear reader - we'll never know. The questions are yours to answer. The sole purpose of this war, and everything else - including your very life - is to further the needs of business. Do not be kidded, as we say here, somewhat less hermetically.

    Sicut erit in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.


    And you say? (12)   Link to this


    Monday, April 07, 2003

    GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

    Well, applications have now closed for sponsorship of this site, and I have to confess my disappointment. Although my mailbag was literally bulging, I'm sorry to say you won't be seeing any of the results. For after rejecting any number of arms dealers, cigarette manufacturers, baby milk pushers, religious fundamentalists and penis-enhancement promoters, we were left with little indeed.

    So Naked Blog has decided to revert to its previous impoverished state, free at the point of consumption. And if at some near future time we have to abandon the thing, and concentrate our energies on the Big Issue instead, then at least you'll know you had the chance. But it will seem strange, never again naming any products or businesses.

    Success Stories

    It's not doom and gloom for everyone, however. Gert of Mad Musings has picked up a sponsorship from the Doorstep Cafe. Well done!

    You can see linkspace for rent here, and active sponsorship on the nicely retro-designed London Blog. (Nice domain, too!)

    Others who have newly come to my attention are Occupied Country, House of Hot Sauce, live from Auld Reekie, and an excellent photoblog called Edinburgh St.



    Open Wide... (just ignore the bleeding).

    And now it's dentist time again. but my cold-sores haven't quite healed. What a dilemma. I'm sure it must be SARS.

    More about this slightly worrying illness is in a comment box on prolific.org

    My own contribution won't come as a surprise to the NB aficionado.
    "Times like this I'm glad I decided to avoid antibiotics for the last fifteen years. Does wonders for your immune system. Avoiding washing up helps a lot too. Bring it on, I say. It's a corona virus. A cheap and readily-available assistance for viral attack is Vitamin C."
    It's maybe a bit late for some of you to not take antibiotics for the last fifteen years. But - I'm sorry - you've only yourselves to blame, in the majority of cases. The writing's been on the wall for yonks, and you're a pretty brainy bunch - all in all, give or take, mas o menos. Doctors make you worse. [Update: Cancelled the appointment. Well, it doesn't do to take chances, now does it? Blood and dentists don't mix. You never know who's been in just before you.]

    Search me, Guv

    Two today, the first one apropos the above...

    sars and book of revelations (We're in the Genesis slot for that one.)

    And the second quite tickled me, in view of NB's chaotic appearance...

    irritated design poor colour blog (From google.sg, wherever that is.)

    War Talk

    Chilling indeed was last night's Panorama, The Road to Baghdad, in which presenter John Ware clinically addressed the entire coalition "gamble" as he described it. He said that rather than seeing the the coalition forces as liberators, what the Iraqis actually perceive is invasion and slaughter. This view (he continues) is so shared in the unprecedented response from the other Arab nations, and Muslim peoples, that the US will need to go on to invade and dominate Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, amongst others.

    They also confessed a "catastrophic mistake" in allowing Saddam to continue broadcasting - a point they would have gleaned from this weblog, had they the wit to read it.

    This was an outstanding edition, even though some will disagree with its left-leaning, BBC/Guardian viewpoint.

    A Perfect Disaster

    Watched A Perfect Storm last night, or rather started to. I'd fancied it for ages, after noting the Clooney/Wahlberg line-up, fondly imagining some man-on-man wankfest supreme. And I must confess, some of the visuals were pretty appealing. But oh dear me - the whole damn thing was ruined - ruined - by the truly ghastly music.

    It was hour after hour of nonstop, overloud nonsense culled from the worst forties melodramas. Like DiCaprio freezing to death in the Atlantic, but all the time. No damn let-up. Utterly and completely unlistenable.



    There are two types of film music - that which you hear, and that which you don't. The former would be Barber's Adagio for Strings, at the end of Platoon, and the latter, Herrman's transcendent music for that shower scene. The "unheard" music is a very special art, and volumes have (rightly) been written on the matter. But "heard" music is risky indeed.

    A particular bugbear of mine is the inclusion of songs in a film. Towards the end of Spielberg/Bohem's alien TV-flick Taken, there suddenly appeared in my ears a song by Emmy Lou Harris. Yet Miss Harris was nowhere to be seen. Not in a flying saucer. Not on a stage. Not on the telly, or radio, or even CD player. (Contrast the arrival of Son of a Preacher Man in Pulp Fiction! Or Satisfaction (I can't get no) in Apocalypse Now.) Some directors understand their medium - others have need of a little more practice.

    Quote from a real critic...
    "James Horner's typically heavy-handed score doesn't help, cueing us what to feel with each swelling wave -- it's got muscles for brains." Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.
    Sorry, Steph, but I would say shit for brains.


    And you say? (7)   Link to this


    Sunday, April 06, 2003

    REINA BLANCA

    Sometimes, when you can't think of anything to write, it's an idea just to start. The trick is that after the first sentence is completed, a second naturally follows. And then a third.

    Well, that didn't work. Get a grip, Peter! (Yay! It's starting.)

    Dare I tell you it's springtime here in EC Scotland? And that today for the first time I noticed how leafy the trees are becoming? Photo tomorrow, when we're assured it'll all be sunnier.



    But not as sunny as in Northern Iraq, where the burqua-wearing, Kabul-liberating John Simpson has just been bombed, blue on blue. Except the principal colour appears to be red. There are bodies, and body parts.

    Body parts too for Chemical Ali. You hate the guy, but you gotta love the name. Reminds me of the Chemical Brothers, back then in you-know-when.

    Hilary Andersson (for her nerve, and lack of makeup and hairdos), Peter Hunt (for his glasses, open-necked shirts and teacherish attitude), and Simon Henderson, for being my age and still on the telly, are my favourite BBC commentators. Rageh is nice too, but way out of my league, darlings. If he survives the bombs, his bed will never be empty again - you bet your sweet ass.

    And talking about the ass/arse divide (see how well those starting instructions have worked, my young apprentices), I hear from Caroline at prolific.org of a Brit Slang quiz for our coalition partners. It's full of apples and pears and shit like that. I only got 8 out of 10.



    Browsing through my referrer logs I often come across this page, or one of its variants. Today I was beach_beauty_naked. Moi? I ask you. One glance at this carcass and the lobsters would jump right into the pots. But it wasn't always so...

    Fondly I remember Ibiza in 1980, one of the last "summers of love", before the darkness came upon us all. It was on a beach to the south of the island. (This was decades before Channels Four and Five, btw.) Still some class in the joint. Las Salinas, I think the beach was called.

    Covered with Factor 99 and nothing else, I quickly got bored watching all the nymphs and shepherds promenading past. What about a nice juicy burger and coke, just for something to do? There was a tented snackbar stall further along the beach, so bravely, very bravely I minced along, au natural. (Trust me, the heat does show even what little you have at its best.)



    Well, who should be sitting at a nearby beach table than four equally naked Spaniards - drinking beer, smoking and joking.
    Talking of smoking, have you noticed how you haven't seen one, even one, squaddie or GI with a fag in his gob? Bit different from the Vietnam coverage, when a pack of Marlboro in your helmetband was de riguer. Is healthy the new hard?
    But I ignored these handsome, moustachioed hunks, while counting the pesetas for my purchase. Then there were some wolf-whistles. (I was much younger, 23 years ago.) So I turned, crossly, and saw that every single one of them was staring at me - and not just with their eyes. Then I got a hardon too, in my confusion, which only added to the Hispanic hysterics.

    And that was the first and last time ever on a nude beach. You try walking back to your blanket, past dozens of people, with only a burger and coke to hide your condition.

    Oh dear, this is all terribly self-indulgent. I shouldn't have started. People are being bombed to buggery, and I'm gabbing on about such matters. Enough already. Hasta mañana.

    Hint: If you want to pull a Spaniard, stay white. Much more exotic. Brown is all around them all the time.


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    Friday, April 04, 2003

    FRIDAY'S HUNK OF THE WEEK

    Where the hell does she find them?Mario, or SuperMario as he prefers to call himself, is a honey. A recent discovery, found basking in one of the pubs I often drink in, this is his internet debut. But I've a feeling it won't be his last appearance here!

    Mario is 34, and a Security Manager for some of Edinburgh's leading clubs. You might just detect some bruising round his right eye, the unfortunate side-effect of such a terrifying job. "Am I evil?" asks Mario. "It doesn't make me a bad person."

    Currently unattached, because, "most women won't put up with me," Mario classes himself as, "unlucky in love". If you're in town for a spin, girls, then you might find him drinking in the Port, Pivo or the Q Bar.

    Another claim to fame, (although not as important as being on Naked Blog), was his acting appearance on Rab C Nesbitt, where he played fresh-faced junkie No. 1. How cool is that?

    Naked Blog - the natural home of the stars.


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    BIOLOGICAL ATTACK

    I've got some cold sores on my lower lip, a sure sign of recent immune system activity. Now what could it have been? SARS, possibly. TB, maybe. I once had a dentist who was so minging that you always got cold sores after going there. How gruesome is that? (I can't name him for legal reasons - nothing to do with endorsement. Well, I can't imagine you all rushing along after that mention anyway.)

    Advertising applications are coming in at a steady pace - namely, none at all. Don't let the carefully-nurtured, "home-made" look of Naked Blog deceive you! NB is packed with programmable php-ness. (Thanks to Wordwrap Web Development.) It averages 5.5k page impressions per week, and almost anything I care to mention gets onto the first page of Google within 24 hours. You'd be mad to miss out!

    Mike of troubled-diva writes amusingly/hilariously about deconstructing the A-list, and his new product range. (Sadly, from now on, only pieces which specifically mention NB get linked from here. It's only fair, in the present harsh commercial environment.)

    And now I've got to go and get my hair cut. One is becoming a Naked Hippy. "Hair by It's a Snip." I can just see it. And so could 800 people a day here. Dream on.


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    Thursday, April 03, 2003

    BACK TO BASICS

    It's like being back in Primary or Junior School. We've already had Tigris and Euphrates, and this morning I rediscovered Nebuchadnezzar, after a gap of 50 years. Except it had changed from a person into a division of the Republican Guard.
    "The Whore shall give power to those who think they have power, but when they've destroyed the earth She shall devour them." Book of Revelations, as quoted by Stuart after four pints of Stella yesterday.


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    Wednesday, April 02, 2003

    SPONSOR THIS!

    After yesterday's shock discovery that all over the planet, webloggers are being paid good Amazon vouchers for pushing products, we set off to meet with the Naked accountants, Messrs Begg, Steele and Borrow. Quickly we knocked up a rate card as follows...
  • Casual but linked mention of any business we frequent in the local area, Ten Pounds. (That would certainly include the Port o Leith Bar, The Village and the Malt and Hops.) Hee-hee that's twenty-five squid for just that sentence! (Malt and Hops sadly don't have a website, so they get half price.)
  • Full restaurant review (glowing, including photographs), Twenty-Five pounds, plus free meal for two.
  • Opera Company critique (glowing), such as the Canadian Opera Company, One Hundred Pounds, plus all expenses-paid trip to Toronto, natch, so I can meet with Barbara and Trevor. (Friends continue to get linked for free.)
  • Household cleaning products used, such as Harpic Power Foam, Five Pounds (but I don't foresee much revenue stream from this one).


  • As you can see, the possibilities are endless. But wait - there's more... we've just this minute accepted a sponsorship from...

    It's fun! It's fabulous!! We're in it!!!


    And that's it, folks! Days of the free lunches are so very gone.


    Now (looking around the joint), what can I mention next? Did I ever tell you how great the Telewest Blueyonder Broadband service is? (Not linking till I see the colour of their money, btw.)


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    Tuesday, April 01, 2003

    THE MEDIUM IS THE (ADVERTISING) MESSAGE

    (Post delayed for 12 hours by Blogger's indisposition.)

    Last night in the pub, Tony my IT Manager was urging: "I hope you've got something good lined up for April Fool's tomorrow!" But sadly not. (I have no inventiveness whatsoever. A mirror can only reflect.)

    Bask instead in this from Diamond Geezer, which - although he might not realise it - follows an already classic tradition set by Paul Baker's excellent Jamie4U (Now apparently withdrawn. Bring it back on, Paul!), and Rex's equally hilarious Dysfunktaboy, which despite diligent searching also seems to have gone AWOL. Same exhortation applies.



    Also in our wide-ranging weblog chat, Tony suggested the following amazing hypothesis. "Could the ever-prolific Alan of Oddverse be the secret author of the Alex Asks, Trashwhore Diaries, and Elwood Krueger trilogy?" I think we should be told. Or not. I feel secure in positing this, as Alan has never secretly confided such to me.

    And finally, inspired by this article linked from troubled diva (bring back the fancy banner, btw, mike), we learn that weblogs are the next secret marketing tool. So I got to thinking. Could Naked Blog in reality be a covert advertising medium, merely dressed up as an old queen's neurotic ramblings? Just what exactly are we pushing on these pages?



    Guinness, certainly. Superqueen cigs, indubitably. A trio of pubs, nae doot aboot it. But is there anything else? Could you, reading between the lines, be seeing subliminal hints to buy Alldays Sanitary Towels With Wings? Does PAL Meat for Dogs genuinely Prolong Active Life? For Mash, should you really get Smash? And what about Shake n Vac? Freshness back, or not?

    The reader with an immense eye for my smaller details might even recall Purple Herbal Fairy washing up liquid, and Harpic Power Foam... both from aeons ago, and neither yet used up. (Total minger.)



    Shock Update: NY Times Article on the same matter. Also, much more shocking, and again via mike's comment box, a real-life example of an advertising blog here. (The author claims she isn't paid for her endorsements. Yeah, and I've got ten thick uncut inches.)

    Today has been the most graphic example of truth stranger than fiction, unfolding even as I wrote. My gob is smacked. My gas is at a peep. You couldn't make it up. So what now for our young medium, already debased by (American) business? Don't say I never warned you.

    What products does your site promote?


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