Monthly Archives: May 2007

Cheerful driving

Was out driving this weekend, down the rolling hills to a little place called Ashburton somewhere in the deepest West Country. Out of the blue my old work pal, “The Professional” sent an email round announcing that he’d decided to do the right thing and marry the teutonic girl of his dreams. It seemed like a good chance to duck out of the big smoke for a day or so, clear the head, before confusing it again with beverages, and catch up with some old friends.

beer in the sunAnd indeed it was. Nice to crank the car up to 90 and see the countryside blur past at high speed. Good to stop for a snack in a village pub, have a joke with the local alcoholics and move on again, dodging Massey Fergusons and scraping the hedgerows. Excellent news when you just about manage to grab the only cab in town, draped in crisp suit and obligatory pink shirt/tie combination. Proceed to spend an evening investigating the qualities of real ale, soft-rock tribute bands, quiche and generally spectating in the obligatory first dance / speech umms and ahhs.

The Professional looked deeply contented as did his new wife and I generally felt a sense of right with the world, trading witticisms with the assembled crew and finding ample opportunity to throw a few erratic shapes, sliding around on the polished floor with my new shoes, just another drunken suburbanite out for a country break. The next day I felt rough, but on my return I felt rested. Ready to wreak new havoc, I came up with some interesting new ideas quickly, which reminded me of something important, which amazingly I had forgotten about: Breaks really are a good thing.

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Romance is dead despite a mild flicker of life just outside Barons Court

Girl with Bench on her bum
Wearing black
Up to and including her black hat.
There’s Bench where she might recently have sat upon.
The face obscured she remains anon,
Slender, pale, but by no means wan.
A flash of blonde appears from the black hat’s behind.
(With which very little has ever rhymed).
Thus I pined for the girl which she really is not,
With hair all brunette and no Bench on her bot,
Whom I’ve got near the point just recently,
Of saying she’ll stoop to go out with me -
If only my cowardice would let me agree.
I flee from the power that desire lords over
My instinct to avoid certain post-coital hangover,
And grass stains one gets from a roll in the clover…
Stop! Ode’s over before it could start -
Before I could sickeningly mention ‘my heart’,
For that would mean transport to Staines in a handcart!
My art henceforth cheapened, I shall proceed to fuck off and do something else for a bit.

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I am clozing ze window, you fuckzewit

Just a quickie.

Does anyone know why it tends to be people who stink of piss, eggs and Castrol Super who insist on closing ALL the windows on the bus when they get on, claiming it’s ‘cold’? (Bordeaux in May is very rarely cold, by any means, although some of the locals do nonetheless take the opportunity to stick on a nicely patterned husband jumper and a kerchief when it dips below 18°c)

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Beauty is only skin deep

20070111_waist.jpgWhat a phrase!
Normally only meriting a snicker as the testosterone riddled youths point toward the girl who hath fallen bodily and impendingly from the ‘ugly tree’, hitting all of the branches on the way down… not to mention knocking herself out with a good nutting of the trunk on terrestrial impact.

But no, this is not of what I speak. I think this phrase needs a more positive spin. Take the beautiful girl – more often than not, amazing beauty can indicate amazing lack of faculty. But frankly, and I believe I speak for many in saying this, there is a certain level of beauty that is just right for a man. A little less and the lady may not be appealing; a little more and the possibility of having a thought more structured than that of a pidgeon in the instant of copulation becomes unlikely. I don’t wish to say that this is it, done and dusted, or that this ‘certain level’ is set in stone. Far from it…

What I am getting at, in a manner that is increasingly circular and possibly more irritating, is that that ancient phrase can be so wrong. Every so often one can find oneself in deep conversation. Then you realise it… it hits you round the face like a giant iced haddock. You not only are interested and enjoying yourself – lost in a moment, buried in thought – but in fact you realise that you are attracted to the girl with which you are speaking. This is not some attraction solely created through the workings of the testes, but is something more: an entire cranial throbbing of delta waves hitting some kind of harmonic. And in that moment, the mild attraction can somehow take on a totally new dimension. The promise of partnership in a life which in reality is fundamentally solitary… Descartes was certainly not barking up the ugly tree all those years ago.

And so to my conclusion. There is more to beauty than skin. It helps, but I certainly wouldn’t say beauty is only so deep – it reaches far deeper: savour those moments and you are taunting Descartes, my dear boloists!

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Things ‘r gonna get bettah (Nnn-ha)/More bad coffee

Oh, Tony! You had to do it on a slow news day – or at least on one on which the papers finally realised that a certain tragic three-year-old is not being looked after by a kindly mute Portuguese farmer with an ice cream maker. The poor fools on the tabloids had just given up their excuse for veiled racism in slagging off the dopey dago police for not trying hard enough to rescue someone who’s not going to get any more dead than after the first twelve hours and gone to town on every minute aspect (one page each) of the fatuous question of BLAIR’S LEGACY.

So I thought this is a bandwagon that I’d not exactly jump on but tag behind on my skateboard like Michael J Parkinsons. One thing is certain: the most noticeable thing Blair is leaving behind is a vacuum of personality, power, and above all leadership, which will proceed to suck in every principle-flogging succubus in what Alastair Campbell managed to fool us for many a year is not a degraded party: it is one that has managed unbelievably to become more hated than the preceding Tory administration if only because they failed to learn the lessons from it. It seems that, like the popular impression of ‘today’s society ‘, they are so dependent on and expectant of guidance from above that all instinct for a situation has evaporated bar the rat-like urge to scrabble over each others’ backs to fulfil false ambition, in this case of being Him, or the Tone (r) Brand that He sold them (mental image appears of Messiah pose, glinting teeth and corresponding ‘ting’ sound effect…).

Of course, another certainty is that the world has been left with a British Statesman-shaped hole which, looking at the mugs’ gallery mentioned above, is unlikely to be filled – and certainly not by the slavering, corpulent, double-brained, side parted, possibly gay charismectomy patient waiting to try and shoe-horn himself in. A great economist, and an even greater politician, given that he’s always produced a kind of triumphal budget which has consistently left the Daily Racist and Currant Scum reeling in a petty nit-picking stupor (and he got away with the last one, despite raising tax for the poor and cutting it for the rich – genius: Nigel Lawson must be jealous). He’s also on his Third or fourth Shadow Chancellor (now let’s ee, that’s Maude, Letwin, Osborn, and there’s got to be another non-entity in there). However, his greatest repect worldwide has only ever been as a perfect foil to the perfect leader, and his greatest danger besides his appearance and lack of personality is that he hasn’t a foil of his own.

However, after all that it would be ironic if it opened the door for the Posh One from Notting Hill (“I Saw You Coming” – cheers Harry and Paul) – who presumably will in his early days do a sort of Stars in their eyes “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be (shy guffaw)…”: at first the audience applauds wildly because they’re just like them – amazing!, then inevitably it all starts to go a bit flat and hairdresser from Brentwood. Yes, he will be a statesman alright – right up until Sarkozy gives him that look and sends him whimpering up to the top of his wind turbine with his Permanent Secretary between his legs. I look forward to the future once more.

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Animalised

Firstly, apologies for the paucity of posts on the good ship bolo of late. I am a shambling, buholic, webmaking shenanigan splicer, but that’s no excuse.

Got home today in a pretty good mood because whilst my branding meeting up in town had revealed some interesting setbacks, essentially everyone was happier on some of the other points than I had expected. I had also managed to save to disk, four and a half years worth of emails, contact details and calendar, so that put me on a logistical good footing, something I never expected or ever dreamed I would one day hope to achieve.

Then crisis. Round to Crimpacine’s to fill him in on the meeting, because he’d been laid up all day with the sickness and I made the foolish mistake of having a quick check of the email. One of my website’s key features was in the process of breaking down and I was to blame. This was to prompt a quick few hours leading up to now checking through queries, making some quick fixes and pondering carefully over the wording of an apologetic email. This activity was only punctuated by cups of tea, occasional marootage and most momentously by the surprise phone call from the bank to check whether I had recently placed a large bet in an online casino out in Arkansas. Funnily enough, the answer to this was in the negative, and the polite Indian call centre man I spoke to informed me that my credit card had been compromised. Some toerag was attempting a rinseout on me and I was much enraged.

Anyway, it was kind of alright, because apparently the card is covered for fraud, which is very nice indeed. Still, that was the kind of evening I’ve had and the weekend, god bless it’s ramshackle ways, can’t come soon enough…

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Let’s talk Facebook

A conversation I had with a friend using GMail:
——————————————–

R:…facebook is shit and now i am sucked into it, I keep getting ‘news’ about people now i am best friends with [name deleted]

me: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO that sounds like hell

R: it’s not that bad. i just will disable emails i think, i don’t know why i do it really. i have a myspace too.

me: why?

R: i don’t know everybody’s doing it i thought it was cool and then one day i just realised it wasn’t fun anymore you know…

me: it’s not as if you have anything to add to the bollox that is the internet, and you don’t have any friends either except [name deleted]

R: [name deleted] IS my friend, maybe i will send him a little icon of a cake as a ‘gift’, it let’s you do that, facebook

me: can you actually do that?

R: cool.

me: how sad… I’m amazed

R: it is amazing.

me: that is a new level of pointless wankery in my book

R: [name deleted] has far more friends than me

me: [name deleted] doesn’t really have friends, he has social associates, business partners in life

R: have you met my associates?

me: what? no

R: i have none.

me: well that’s why then

R: hum.

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Oh happy days

sun1copy15.jpgJust thought I would write and wish all boloists a good weekend.
For some unfathomable reason, I am having one of those days where I am calm, relaxed and undeniably happy.
The sun is shining, it’s nice and warm and there is an evening of beers and chatting with nice people ahead.

One day I’ll figure out how to make myself have more of these days. Until then, I’ll just try to enjoy the ones I have.

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Self-deception

This is pretty interesting so I thought I would post it. I wonder how easy it would be to get a self-deceiver to realise how deceptive they were being? Would Tony Blair’s mind ever be able to cope with accepting that going to war was not “the right thing to do”???

When Seeing Is Disbelieving
by Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post
Reposted from:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/29/AR2007042901152.html?referrer=delicious

Four years ago tomorrow, President Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln and dramatically strode onto the deck in a flight suit, a crash helmet tucked under one arm. Even without the giant banner that hung from the ship’s tower, the president’s message about the progress of the war in Iraq was unmistakable: mission accomplished.

Bush is not the first president to have convinced himself that something he wanted to believe was, in fact, true. As Columbia University political scientist Robert Jervis once noted, Ronald Reagan convinced himself that he was not trading arms for hostages in Iran, Bill Clinton convinced himself that the donors he had invited to stay overnight at the White House were really his friends, and Richard M. Nixon sincerely believed that his version of Watergate events was accurate.

Harry S. Truman apparently convinced himself that the use of the atomic bomb against Japan in the fading days of World War II could spare women and children: “I have told Sec. of War to use [the atomic bomb] so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children,” Truman noted in his diary.

Nor are U.S. presidents alone when it comes to deluding themselves: Successful politicians may just be more skilled at self-deception than the rest of us. Most people, perhaps all, seem hard-wired to be able to interpret reality to suit their ends.

Self-deception has been uncovered in a wide range of situations, says Robert L. Trivers, an evolutionary biologist at Rutgers University who has studied the phenomenon. Before the Challenger explosion, for example, NASA engineers noticed that one of the O-rings on the space shuttle had been eaten a third of the way through. Since the shuttle had flown and returned to Earth, the engineers concluded that it was not a problem. Surveys show that four in five high school seniors believe they have exceptional leadership ability, and nearly every single professor in the country believes he or she is above average.

During Colonial times, there were even people who managed to convince themselves that slavery was in the best interest of slaves; later on, some maintained that colonialism was in the best interest of poor countries.

War provides especially fertile soil for self-deception. Societies at war do not look kindly at derogatory assessments of their own fighting ability and motives, and they do not encourage talking up an enemy’s strengths. This explains why both sides in many conflicts believe they are morally and militarily superior. (Each believes the other is deluding itself.)

Self-deception seems to be a universal trait, which presents an interesting problem for science, especially for scientists who study behavior from an evolutionary perspective. It makes sense for deception to abound in nature — viruses find ways to sneak into our bodies, predators stealthily stalk prey, and countless species use camouflage to hide themselves from their attackers. But why would nature, after spending millennia evolving highly sophisticated senses to perceive the world, build in a psychological capacity that allows us to ignore what is right in front of our eyes?

Trivers says the primary use of self-deception appears to be that it aids people in deceiving others.

“Self-deception evolves in the service of deceit for two reasons,” he said. “It improves your ability to fool others and, second, it reduces the cognitive costs of deception.”

The thing to keep in mind, Trivers says, is that even as evolution rewarded deceivers, it also punished deceivers who got caught. (The ability to spot deception evolves along with the ability to deceive.)

Deliberate deception among humans, furthermore, requires effort. It requires you to hold both the truth and the untruth in your mind, and consciously suppress the truth. This is why the stereotype of liars depicts them with sweaty palms, croaking voices and shifty eyes — lying can be hard work, and liars are often nervous about getting caught.

Self-deception, said Trivers, who has studied the phenomenon in contexts ranging from the Challenger explosion to a plane crash in Florida, offers a way around this psychological hurdle. If you can make yourself believe the untruth, for example, by marshaling evidence that supports your view and ignoring evidence that contradicts your position, it becomes that much easier to persuade others.

Like many other aspects of brain functioning, self-deception does not require people to sit down and decide they are going to lie to themselves. (That would actually defeat the point of self-deception.) No, it usually happens subtly, without the person even being aware of it.

“The costs of deception are being detected and punished,” Trivers said. “There is definitely a downside to self-deception, and that is you are putting yourself out of touch with reality, but it cuts down the risk of getting caught.”

Lyn Nofziger, a longtime adviser to Ronald Reagan, once said the same thing about his boss — and about the utility of self-deception in politics: He could “convince himself that the truth is what he wants it to be. Most politicians are unable to do this, but they would give their eyeteeth if they could.”

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Bad headstock

Downloading images off shutterstock and feeling like I’ve been sniffing glue. Pages upon pages of information flick by and my fingers click, wait for this slow machine to kick into life, then click again. Too many images, burns out the brain and once you kill the head, the body will die. Old messages it’s true, but believe me, nothing can sear your eyes like an lcd screen, with the contrast up so high and the distant hum of wireless signals passing somewhere between the box and the receiver, through the centre of my head and out into my earlobe transponders.

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