I’m glad I’m getting out of Manchester. The useless wankers who run the council are so impressed by the Irish pub smoking ban that they’re planning on imposing one of their own.
Now, if Ken follows suit when I get down south, I’ll be *really* angry.
Incidentally, I think I’ve finally followed Damien and Dave in giving up on the halfwitted illiberal editorial line of the Guardian. OK, I do still buy it on Saturdays, but only for the Magazine, the Guide and the Review…
The latest list-meme is a ‘200 things you may or may not have done’-type thing. My total is 83, so my chances of achieving the full quota before I die are reasonable; questions below, with things I’ve done in bold.
1. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said ‘I love you’ and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars
21. Changed a baby’s diaper
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
36. Enacted a favourite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip
38. Taken an ice cold bath
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Ridden a roller coaster
42. Hit a home run
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer (do I get extra points for four?)
49. Visited all 50 states
50. Loved your job for all accounts
51. Taken care of someone who was rather drunk
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
55. Watched wild whales
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe
58. Taken a road-trip
59. Rock climbing
60. Lied to foreign government’s official in that country to avoid notice
61. (there is no 61)
62. Sky diving
63. Visited Ireland
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Benchpressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetised your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theater
80. Done something you should regret, but don’t regret it
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who’s not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn’t have
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Ridden a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
105. Got flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don’t remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone (I’m assuming ‘myself’ doesn’t count here)
123. Bounced a cheque
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
125. Read – and understood – your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favourite childhood toy
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
132. *Called or written your Congress person Member of Parliament…and confronted him…*
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over to be with the one you love
134. …more than once? – More than thrice?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. *Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
140. Wrote articles for a large publication
141. Lost over 100 pounds (Sterling yes, but I suspect the question means lb)
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone’s heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job
148. Won money on a T.V. game show
149. Broken a bone
150. Killed a human being
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Ridden a motorcycle
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100mph
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
157. Ridden a horse
158. Had major surgery
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi
171. Had your picture in the newspaper
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime (I’m assuming that spending the middle six months of the year not talking to each other doesn’t count as healthy, in which case I’m firmly stuck at the ‘one’ mark)
173. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
177. Changed your name
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them.
183. …and gotten 86’ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
186. Apologised to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office (I’m assuming student unions really don’t count here…)
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196. Dyed your hair
197. Been a DJ
198. Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal
199. Written your own role playing game
200. Been arrested
Via Neil’s World, among others.
Pseudopunks Green Day have hit on the best ever scheme for making money in the digital age: selling blank CDs printed with their album artwork, which people can burn downloaded album tracks onto. The cost of the blanks isn’t much, but it’s still more than Green Day would get from a legitimate album sale.
I imagine their record label are deeply, deeply pissed off. And that all new artists’ contracts are going to involve the company owning artwork copyrights… (via New Links)
News from Iraq: the US administration planned to use the CIA to fund its preferred candidates in the forthcoming elections. The plan was only derailed by principled opposition from the Democrats, who felt that some kind of democratic election might be preferable.
Every day we find out more and more about the clowns running the world’s most powerful nation that makes clear they should be impeached, imprisoned and executed. And yet there’s no rioting in the streets of Middle America, and sane, educated Americans who agree that George Bush has lied and cheated still worry about voting for John Kerry because they don’t like his flip-flops. What gives?
Sorry. I’ve just been informed that it’s the liberal professors of political science who hate America and should be imprisoned, not the gang of thugs, crooks and bigots ru(i/n)ning the country. Apologies to the thugs, crooks and bigots.
Mark Blumenthal knows good opinion polling, being an American opinion pollster with 20 years’ experience. This means that his blog is probably the best place for US opinion poll analysis – making him the transatlantic Anthony Wells, I guess.
Most opinion poll interpretation in the press is nonsense, because most journalists either don’t understand statistics or polling methodologies, or don’t think their readers will. Obviously, most bloggers are even worse (I don’t just mean the mindless idiots here – even those of us who understand what we’re talking about tend to let our political views bias the stats we select, hence my focus on Economist/YouGov and Harris polls and pro-Bush bloggers’ focus on Gallup).
Mr Blumenthal (and/or Mr Wells, depending on your geographical focus) are both strongly recommended if you care about why different opinion polls produce such different results, rather than cheering the ones that put your favourite party in the lead.
Fact-killer Harry Hutton wants to be the number one hit for British National Party. And who am I to discourage him?
The Adam Smith Institute has its failings, such as its willingness to take US$34 million in government subsidy while campaigning against government subsidy. However, its guide to logical fallacies is one of the best such guides I’ve seen.
If you’re particularly bored, you could even use it to come up with a bingo game: pick a source, and see how many of the fallacies you can tick off from the previous week’s articles. Beginners should start at TCS or Medialens, with advanced candidates working the way through the rest of the blogosphere in order of credibility. True masochists should attempt this with someone like Jon Edelstein or Josh Marshall [*].
Alternatively, if you’re Christopher Hitchens, you can do this exercise as a solo drinking game, not very well, and have your columns published in print in exchange for large cheques.
[*] I’m trying to work out whether or not it’s coincidental that the two names that come to mind when I’m trying to think of a credible blogger are both liberal secular American Jews.
I haven’t written on British hostage Ken Bigley so far, mostly because the relentless media attention is so out of proportion to the story.
Tony Blair has handled the situation correctly so far: in a place like Beslan, where hundreds of lives are at stake, the decision on whether it’s morally right to make concessions to terrorists to save lives is a difficult and horrible one. In this case, it’s an extremely easy and horrible one. The only question is whether the media’s daft sentimentalism will encourage Mr Blair to give in to the terrorists, which would be wrong but populist. Fortunately, it appears not.
One thought, though. Why does the possible death of a man who went to Iraq to acquire an enormous pile of cash get so much more attention than the deaths of journalists, aid workers or soldiers? Dying for one’s beliefs or one’s country seems a rather more praiseworthy thing to do than dying for one’s wallet.
Odeon Cinemas have launched an accessible new website. Whether they’d have done so without all the shrill blog campaigning is, as ever, another question – but well done anyway.
It would be interesting to see some statistics on the usage of cocaine and cocaine derivatives, by country, with value and volume sales broken down by end product, income group and ethnic group.
Why? I’d like to know to what extent the stereotypes of crack being a drug for low-income black people and powder being a drug for high-income white people [*] are true, whether low-income groups pay a significantly lower price, and how much usage of either comes from groups who aren’t stereotypical consumers.
Working out this data would actually be quite a similar project to the work I’m doing at the moment, except that the ‘interviewing people in the industry and asking them to describe market conditions’ side of things would be somewhat less feasible. And to make any cash out of the project, the results would need to be written as a mass-market book, not a database sold to people in the industry. Unless the world is even stranger than I believe it to be.
So… if anyone who isn’t an international drugs baron wants to pay me to spend a year working on this, then I’m open to offers.
(vaguely inspired by some Harry Hutton Killer Facts).
[*] ‘People’ is used purely as a biological descriptor in this context, and shouldn’t necessarily be taken as assigning any of the positive qualities normally associated with ‘personhood’ to the group under discussion.