Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPAD Introduced by John Serafinowicz

Winter Weather and a musical interlude

Its been really cold here and yesterday evening it was -10C when we were walking home from the Club. (Someone had an iPhone app for it!) What with the cold and the gin & tonic, we all agreed that we needed a short comfort stop.

Somebody decided it would be fun to write our names in the snow. So we tried that but at -10C I had a couple of problems a) the normal shrivelling effect of the cold on men's bits and b) a long term issue that I have with a tight foreskin. (Not being religious I have never taken any measures to have this fixed) I mention these only by way of explanation as to what happened next.

Without being too graphic or drifting into the realms of medical science, the build up of fluid trying to escape was having difficulty in doing so because the said apeture was almost closed off.

Apart from the disturbing build up of pressure in the foreskin, whereby it acted as a small pressurised vessel or intermediary reservoir, giving the appendage the overall appearance of a small snake charmers flute.

Fortunately, with due bladder and flow control, there was sufficient leakage to allow a level of comfortable relief. Unfortunately, the said build up of pressure and the subsequent high pressure escape resulted in the production of a high pitched whistling noise that could only be described as that of a small bagpipe in distress or a theramin warming up.

My companions were becoming alarmed at the noise coming from my post, and I felt that I needed to somehow aleviate their fears, as I was relieving myself in this bizarre manner. So I tried to dampen the sound and succeeded in only dampening myself. But it was during this move that I discovered I could vary the pitch of the noise by some gentle squeezing.

So, I completed the task in hand, rather slower than expected but managed to write my name in the snow to the theme tune of Dr Who. Dum-de-dum dum-de-dum dum-de-dum daa.... All things must pass!

I did consider entering the X-Factor show with this performance but don't think they would have let me through!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's wrong with these pictures?

Tiger Woods and Sex Re-hab

Tiger Woods and Sex Re-hab - StumbleUpon

Sex addiction is marked not simply poor decision-making in the face of temptation, but by a sense of powerlessness before one's own compulsive sexual behavior. There are many different types of sex addicts, including so-called sexual anorexics who avoid physical intimacy with their partners and seek it out in fantasies or with others. Despite the shortage of statistics, researchers agree that the vast majority — over 90% — of sex addicts are men. Rob Weiss, the founder and executive director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in southern California, estimates that up to 5% of Americans deal with some form of sex addiction, though he says that there is no real way to know.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Restaurants force us to choose expensive meals

Menus are not simply a list of dishes. Rather, they are a cunning marketing ploy

It comes as no surprise that the main goal of menu design is to draw your attention to profitable (as in "overpriced") items. But the detailed plotting that goes on is fascinating.

Industry convention divides dishes into "stars" (popular items for which customers are willing to pay a good deal more than they cost to make), puzzles (high-profit but unpopular dishes), ploughhorses (popular yet unprofitable) and dogs (unpopular and unprofitable).

Also, restaurant consultants are often employed to transform puzzles into stars, nudge customers away from ploughhorses, and convince everyone that the prices are reasonable.

This menu, for New York restaurant Balthazar, uses some classic tricks of menu psychology.

Picture shows a typical menu for New York restaurant Balthazar.

1 The upper right-hand corner
The typical diner will look here first, and Balthazar isn't taking any chances, with a picture drawing the eye to the most expensive dishes. Photographs are among the most powerful motivators but, extensively used in low-end chain restaurants, they are considered death to any place with foodie pretensions. Balthazar's tasteful drawing is about as far as a restaurant of this calibre can go.

2 The price anchor
Menu consultants use this prime space for high-profit items, and price "anchors", in this case the Le Balthazar seafood plate, for $115 (£70). By putting high-profit items next to the extremely expensive anchor, they seem cheap by comparison. So, the triple-figure price here is probably to induce customers to go for the $70 (£43) Le Grand plate to the left of it, or the more modest seafood orders below it.

3 Bonus boxes
A box around a menu item draws the diner's attention. Is $16 (£10)such an indulgence for a shrimp cocktail, they might think? Not next to a $115 extravaganza! A really fancy box is better yet. The cheeses at the bottom are probably high-profit "puzzles".

4 Columns are a no-no
The most common menu mistake is listing prices in a column, as here, because it encourages diners to choose from the cheapest items, instead of choosing what they want and then deciding if it's worth it. But at least the Balthazar menu doesn't use leader dots, which draw the diners' gaze away from the dishes to the prices.

5 Menu Siberia
Unprofitable items, such as the easy-to-miss burgers, can be "minimised" by exiling them to inconspicuous positions – menu Siberia.

6 Bracketing
This is a common trick whereby items are offered in two sizes. The customer isn't told how much smaller the small portion is, but no matter. They assume the smaller size is attractively priced because, um, it costs less. In reality, this is the size that the restaurant wanted to sell all along, and the "lower price" is what they intended to charge for it.

Extracted from Priceless: the Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone, published by Hill & Wang, price £14.99.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Relaxing Cats are Cool

Paper Trail: Telling which way the wind blows

'Right, OK, Mr HR Manager sir. That's great!'>

'So you say that all we have to do now, is pick up the CVs that have fallen face up and those are the candidates we want to interview.'

'Are you sure this is what all the GOOD companies are doing now?'

Bloodhound: King of the Hunting Dogs

OK! So you've found me, now what!
Quit Stalking me!

Motivation for Entrepreneurs

Discrimination at NASA HQ?

The Dark Side of the Moon

Marketing Swings Like a Pendulum

Helper Monkeys: Good or Bad?

Fear of Flying Takes Many Forms

The Fat Man's Store ....Let's Call it what it is!

Fan Fare Fashion Clothes....

...and if it gets too hot you can switch the fan on!

You Have a New Boyfriend: Well! Can he do This!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Llama ate my Nose

Hoi! Watch it!
The llamas at ZSL London Zoo enjoyed the snow, so much that keepers made them a snowman. Perry and his fellow llamas were quick to spot the snowman's carrot nose and headed over for a bite

Picture: ZSL

Most Popular Bear with the Ladies

Zoo visitors got a surprise when this small bear rolled his foot-long tongue out of his mouth when it yawned. The bear measured only four feet long.

The Sun Bear may look bizarre to us, but it is perfectly designed for foraging for food - especially honey.

And he is very popular with the ladies!


Death of a Snowman

Lookout! It's behind you!

Vinyl Records are the Best

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bizarre Crazy Baby Pacifiers

What should I do if She says No!

Well, here is one thing you can do with all those spare condoms that you are never going to use.
Having learned this new skill of Novelty Balloon sculpture, you now have a very unique way of saying, Hello!
Unfortunately, you will be breathing heavily at this point and may even be gasping and heaving like a landed fish.
None of these things are attractive to women and are also a common characteristic of a perverted stalker, allegedly.
So you will have to have a very snappy line to set it all off. Think of something uplifting and inspiring and please avoid any references to toilets, germs, H1N1 viruses and any other disgusting items.
Now! Get out there and blow!

Cold Calling in the Big Freeze

Shady Lady man brothel of Nevada

A sign leads the way to the Shady Lady Ranch brothel in Nye County, Nevada.
Brothel owner Bobbi Davis is now accepting applications from men who will cater to a female clientele, making her brothel the first in the US to offer legal male prostitutes
I have to say it's a bit disconcerting when the sign is bigger than the premises.
I am not sure if you are going to get a big choice of 'facilities' here. Don't expect a pool or a pool table, even. If there is a 'star' rating for such places, then I am gonna guess that this is probably a one-star no-frills establishment that relies heavily on self-catering!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Have Fun! Pure and simple

Recycling Xmas Trees

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Woman breaches water like a dolphin

Winter swimmers: walruses brave the ice and freezing temperatures around the world - Telegraph

A woman dives into a pond at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China

A woman breaches like a dolphin at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China

Monday, January 4, 2010

Money in Music: Courtney Love does the math -

Courtney Love does the math -

This is an unedited transcript of Courtney Love's speech to the Digital Hollywood online entertainment conference, given in New York on May 16.
Today I want to talk about piracy and music. What is piracy? Piracy is the act of stealing an artist's work without any intention of paying for it. I'm not talking about Napster-type software.

I'm talking about major label recording contracts.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Yong Ho Ji Sculpture - Mutant

Victorian style Steampunked Computer

Avoiding Post-Xmas Blues

Ok, so now Xmas is over and the New Year (2010) is upon us with unashamed haste, what can we be doing to keep our flagging saggy spirits flying higher than a soggy flag on a rainy day.

Here are some of the things I like to do post-Xmas.

Visit Friends
Visiting friends after Xmas is great fun and you are always guaranteed two things 1) they will be in a better mood now that all those annoying relatives have gone and they have the place to themselves again and 2) they will be 'oh so up for...' a good drinking session and a general unloading of their thoughts on everyone. Always great fun!

Visit your Neighbours
This is partly fun and partly an act of charity. Take them all those leftover things that didn't quite work for your transient guests. Like the chocolate covered gingerbread idea and the mincepies with sour cranberries secreted inside them or the 5 litre bag of Chinese Fortune Cookies that only have messages in Chinese and German. Guten Himmel!

Your neighbours will love them but do refuse to take away any of their leftover stuff. Last year we ended up with a bag of Xmas decs that their kids had made at school. Having said that, I did discover that they were mainly shiny things stuck to a polystyrene core, which, when soaked in an accelerant, made great firelighters.

Visiting Rules
Given that Xmas is finished with for this year and the strict adherence to social rules and frameworks pertaining to the 'holiday period' are all now null and void, I am reminded that there are a couple of things I must obey, to avoid crossing the invisible line that divides 'good fun' from '....the self indulgent psychological torture of unfortunate others for your own amusement.'

Mr Clean
One of the activities that I used to enjoy was going around to Mr Clean's house. This is not his real name but it does describe the effect of his compulsive disorder. He was not a talkative man when it came to everyday small talk but once you got him onto his chosen subject, the history of cleaning utensils since the great plague in the 16th century, there was no stopping him. This man could tell you how to get a stain out of anything, even his stained glass windows were spotless.

Take Nibbles
I always brought plenty of nibbles to their house and in particular, peanuts. The reason I did this was two-fold. Firstly, the rest of the family were not allowed to eat any food that created undue mess and crumbs.

So it was a rare treat for them when I brought them such delicasies and one that they were sure to enjoy. I cannot deny that I also got some pleasure from watching them scoff the 'forbidden' foods.

Peanut chase
I am almost ashamed to say that the second reason I brought peanuts in particular was more to do with my amusement and the aforesaid psychological torture of the unfortunate man. He would sit poised like a border collie, ready to pounce on any stray crumb that dropped from my plate and there were many. Oh yes, because that was the nature of this engagement.

As I popped peanuts into my mouth and fired the occasional one in a random direction, simply for my own amusement, he would dash around retrieving them and trapping them in a suitable air-tight container. A container from which they could never escape and once more reek havoc in the house of clean.

This activity could keep me amused for many minutes and if my spirits showed signs of dropping, I could let fly with another peanut at any time during the evening, with the same startled but attentive response from mine host. His pursuit of his quarry was frighteningly effective, like a terrier after a rat.

The unkindest nut of all, was the one I aimed in the direction of his family and their panic driven attempts to escape the scene before they were pounced on by their father in hot pursuit of a salty snack. Legs and arms akimbo!

Parting sweet sorrow
It was always a joy to see him waving goodbye to us wearing his best 'handshaking' marigold gloves, having quickly changed out of his 'peanut purging' marigold gloves. We shared a moment of mutual satisfaction.

I, knowing that I had had a really good time and he, well he had had some really good exercise and at the same time had clocked up a personal best for SCUD (stray crumb and unidentified debris) retrieval. The universal balance was once more restored.