Thursday, August 31, 2006

In Latvia the money is called Lats (and Santimi)

My friend Cheryl with a Ch (not a Sh) has recently been to Latvia (The land that sings!) and, like many people I know who go abroad, I badgered her into bringing me back some coins for my collection of foreign money. As such she joins an illustrious list of people like Allison, Abs, Viv, Irony Boy, Cath, Tez etc.


I’ll shortly be adding the Lats and Santimi to my big bottle o’coins. This is now gradually filling up but is already quite heavy. I like to tip out the coins occasionally and run my fingers through them like a mad miser. It’s weird to think that all this redundant or foreign cash is in reality nothing more than scrap metal. It’s a reminder that all ‘earthly treasure’ is transient and the money we work so hard to earn today is tomorrow’s incidental junk.

So there’s a nice little thought for the day…

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Terkel in Trouble

WARNING: DON’T SEE THIS FILM!

I’ve decided to start doing my film reviews in rhyming couplets, mainly for my own entertainment…

Terkel in Trouble
Last night I went to see a film for free
It wasn’t worth the entrance fee
So I left to avoid more pain
But that’s half an hour I won’t see again

Then today I got an email asking me for my opinion of the film. I thought I’d reproduce my feedback here for everyone to see:

Thank you for coming to the screening of Terkel in Trouble, we hope you enjoyed the film! We'd love to know your brief thoughts so please do take a moment to fill in this short feedback form.

Thank you very much.


Which screening did you attend? Cardiff

How full was the screening? Pretty empty

What are your thoughts on Terkel in Trouble?
It was so awful I left, along with my 3 friends, about half an hour into it. The plot was just rubbish, the dialogue was hard to understand and the whole experience was just horrible. At one point a character gets a fork stuck in her eye. If I'd had a fork I'd have been tempted to stick it in my own eye just so I didn't have to watch any more of the film.

I'd have left earlier except some of my friends thought the film would improve.

It didn't.

If there was any justice in this world the people who made this film would be lynched for crimes against animation. I mean what was the point of it? Was it a comedy - in which case it wasn't funny. Was it a serious piece about bullying - in which case it was just sick. Why was it so boring? Were the voices meant to be unintelligible? What was the point of the ridiculously violent episodes?

How would you describe the film to a friend?
I have already told everyone that this film is abominable. On the basis of this film it would seem that Al Qaeda are right and films ARE the work of satan. Except this was so shit even satan would disown it. If I really, really hated somebody I'd tell them to go see this film and then laugh till I puked.

Rating out of ten: One

Any further comments?
There's no zero on the rating so I had to give it a one.
That was generous.
If I go to hell when I die at least there's some consolation in that they won't be showing this film. Unless that is the new definition of eternal torment.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

High score update

Last week I invited readers of this blog to try and beat my score shooting people in this game. Apart from Jenny S, nobody said they'd even had a go, so to put you all to shame I've upped the ante.

That's right, as of today my new high score is 5150, which incidentally was the name of the first Van Halen album after Sammy Hagar replaced frontman David Lee Roth. Van Halen borrowed the number from the Californian legal term for arresting a nutter who might stab someone because the voices in his head tell him to.

So, there you go. Reading this blog is nothing if not educational.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Come and have a go, then

Under the 'games' section of my links it says 'shoot people'. This highly addictive game probably falls under the psychological conditioning known as killology, but, hey, when psychological conditioning is this much fun, who cares?

So, the challenge is on, for anyone who thinks they can be more lethal with a mouse than me. Today I scored 3,500 points exactly. Beat that if you can (hint: I used the pistol, even though the shotgun is much more fun).

The 80% experiment

Here’s a fun thing to try out. Next time you’re in one of those conversations where everyone is trying to set the world to rights, say: “The trouble with the world is that 80% of the people in it are thick!”

What you’ll inevitably find is that the person/people you are talking to will agree with you, every single time. But nobody will ever consider that they might be in the 80%.

This works best if you’re in a group with four other people (it has to be four). Make the statement and then wait for everyone to nod and agree. I’ll bet you none of the 80% will pick up the implicit insult in what you just said.

Monday, August 21, 2006

5 things people say that are rarely true

I’ve occasionally been accused of being pessimistic and cynical. I prefer the terms realistic and experienced, but I’d agree that to the untrained eye, that isn’t much of a distinction.

One thing that I’m quite realistic and experienced about is the behaviour of other people. I don’t feel too bad about this because to other people, I’m other people, and I expect they think the same things about me. So, we’re all square. And in that realm of pessimism/realism, there are some times when I don’t believe what people say, even though I’m sure they believe what they’re saying. Here are 5 examples:

1 – “I’m a bit mad, me…”
This is usually said by desperate people trying to explain why they are either awfully unfunny even though they think they’re hilarious (chaps), or why they can’t perform the simplest of tasks without getting sidetracked into a meaningless conversation about inconsequential celebrity trivia (girls).

Anyone who tries to pin flakey idiocy on ‘being a bit mad’ has missed the point of madness. I have, in my short life that feels so long, met a few people who are seriously quite insane, and not one of them has ever entertained the notion that they might be the ones that are mad. For them it’s perfectly rational to talk about how they want to skin the yappy dog that lives next door and post the flayed corpse through their neighbour’s letterbox. They never then break into a grin and go ‘I’m a bit mad, me’ even though everyone in the room has started nervously edging towards the door.

What I’d like to say: “No, you’re not a bit mad. You just lack a personality and to make up for it you act like a prick.”

2 – “I don’t mean to be racist, but…”
Any phrase that starts with a qualifier is going to be bad. You know it’s going to be bad. The funny thing is: they know it’s going to be bad. But the difference between the person saying it and the person listening who thinks ‘Oh, my God!’ is that the person saying it doesn’t think it is racist, it only sounds racist!

One of my favourite ever quotes that runs along these lines is the woman at the bus stop in Grangetown who said to her friend: “I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but Ely people are scum!”

What I’d like to say: “When you said ‘you didn’t mean to be racist’, what did you mean by that?”

3 – “I don’t want to gossip, but have you heard about so-and-so?”
Again, another qualifier that tells you everything you need to know about what you’re going to hear next. I have met so many people, almost all of them women, over the years who ‘don’t want to gossip’ but somehow can’t help themselves. It’s like an addiction.

The real sting in the tail is that you know whatever you say in response to their gossip will become fuel for further gossip. “You’ll never believe what Jon said to me when I tried to tell him about the situation with Mrs Toast and the six members of the rugby team…” and so on. Every rebuttal and every protestation of ‘I don’t want to hear this’ gets mixed in. Just walking away doesn’t help. Real masters of the art of gossip can use that as much as anything because ‘actions speak louder then words’.

The only solution I’ve found that works is to respond to everything with: “Oh, yeah, everybody knows that. Come back when you’ve got some real news.” The power of gossip lies in you knowing something everyone else doesn’t. If you’re constantly being ‘scooped’ then eventually you’ll give up.

What I’d like to say: “Gosh! I guess stories like that are why everyone calls you a bitch behind your back.”

4 – “I want you to be honest… does this outfit make me look fat?”
It’s almost a cliché, but this is the ultimate man-trap. The thing that annoys me the most is the hidden subtext which is that ‘fat is bad and if you think I’m fat then you must think I’m hideous and unappealing and you’ll leave me for a younger, fitter woman.’

I know the media doesn’t help on this with its constant ‘thin is beautiful’ message, which leaves us with celebrity ‘beauties’ that make the inhabitants of Belsen look overweight. I mean, honestly, if I can count your ribs, then you’re too thin, honey. Take Callista Flockhart – a classic example of a woman who looks like a skull on a stick. Uuurgh. I’m pretty sure there ain’t much difference between the ‘sexy celebs’ on the cover of Heat and the pin-ups on the front of Corpse-Fanciers Monthly.

Incidentally that’s how you can tell that Heat is aimed at women and Nuts is aimed at men. You don’t see voluptuous women with decent sized asses on the front of Heat, do you?

What I’d like to say: “Hmm, not sure. I think it’s best if you go naked…”

5 – “God works everything together for good…”
I’m sure the people who say this really believe it. I’m just not sure I do any more. It’s the kind of bland piety people say to make themselves feel better, like ‘God takes the best ones first’ (why are we paying old people pensions then? They must be the worst kind of scum to still be alive after all this time!).

I’m sure that even in the worst tragedy, there are positives to be found. I know many people who have lived through terrible situations and as a result found deeper friendships, a renewed appreciation for life, and sometimes a better place then where they started. But equally there are people who are devastated by loss and never recover, or who have lives blighted by illness and never seem to get well. What purpose does that serve?

There is a theory that we live in a ‘vale of soul-making’ and that our experiences in this life turn us into ‘real’ humans. But I don’t know any human beings who wouldn’t trade their ‘soul-making’ experiences for a comfortable and easy existence.

To sum up: I think people say this because it offers some indefinite hope that however bad things are it’ll all work out in the end, even though there’s no basis for that optimism. And that presumably makes them feel better.

What I’d like to say: “Does he?”

Feel free to add the common lies you hear from people in the comments!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sensual blankets

One of the ‘joys’ of my job is proof-reading. Sometimes this throws up all kinds of interesting typos and the like. The problem is that I have a fairly ‘earthy’ mind and many of the people I proofread for are saintly, innocent individuals. It can be awkward explaining to someone that they’ve inadvertently included a euphemism in their document. (A genuine example would be: “My step-dad was sitting in my place on the sofa, so I pulled him off!”)

I’m currently trogging through a full-on marriage course which has been written especially for soon-to-be-stepfamilies. It’s the first of its kind in this country and, overall, is very good. But, there was one part of it that has caused us much amusement in our office. In the section on making your new sexual relationship ‘unique’, it recommends buying a “sensual blanket”.

A what?
I have to admit, despite my worldly, sexually-aware mind, that I’ve never heard of one of those. Neither has anyone else in my office. Eventually we googled it and discovered that there are shops that sell “sensual blankets”. How they differ from an ordinary blanket, I don’t know.

Helen my manager/colleague/partner in crime suggested that they’re made out of a particular material. I can understand this, because of the whole friction problem. Using the wrong sort of blanket could leave you with painful patches. Carpet burns are no fun, after all. Although, I’m not sure if you’re meant to be on top of the sensual blanket, or underneath it.

Anyway, Helen gets a phone call from Paula, and proceeds to ask her if she’s ever heard of sensual blankets. Paula hasn’t. Helen: “Well presumably the people who wrote the course have come across one.” (At which point I collapse in hysterics)

Oh, that could have been better phrased.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What's in a name?

A few years ago four friends went to mid-Wales. They stayed in a cabin in a wood out in the wilds. One of the nearest villages was called Pantperthog.

Now, it’s probably supposed to be pronounced Pant-per-thog, but we called it Pant-pert-hog, which makes it sound like a frisky piggie who’s a bit more excited than he should be!

It’s a sign!
I had my photo taken with the Pantperthog sign, probably because I’m a bit sad like that. Then a couple of years after we went to mid-Wales and discovered Pantperthog, we went to Moray in Scotland on holiday. We stayed in a place called Dallas, which apparently was the reason Dallas, Texas, was so named.

Dallas was so small it had no amenities, except a postbox. It didn’t even have a pub. But this being the highlands, it naturally had a distillery. In fact the Dallas Distillery is apparently one of the highlights of the Highlands Distillery Car Tour. Presumably if you’re on the car tour, you aren’t sampling the product at all the distilleries you’ve visited. Although that would explain the way people drive on highland roads…

Anyway, near Dallas was the little village of Knockando, which sounds a little bit like ‘No Can Do’ (especially if you say it in a comedy high-pitched Scottish accent – which we did). I was hoping there’d be a nearby village called Knockanrun, but no such luck. Still, I got a photo of me with the sign.

Pantperthog the googlewhack
I decided to call my blog ‘from Pantperthog to Knockando’ on a whim. I looked up and saw the photo of me with the Knockando sign pinned to my notice board and it struck me as a great name for a blog that probably wasn’t taken. And it wasn’t.

Then Cathy decided to try to find a googlewhack using Pantperthog as one of the words and she found one. I’m not going to tell you what it is because then that would ruin the googlewhack, but if you combine ‘Pantperthog’ with a type of long-necked African animal that eats leaves and comes in reticulated skin patterns, then you’ll find it.

Interestingly when Cath combined ‘Pantperthog’ with ‘llamas’ she got four hits. There’ll be five now.

As soon as my designer buddy Matt returns to work and has a spare five minutes, I’ll get the photos scanned and melded to use as my avatar.

In other news…
I got my dividends from Sportdaq today. I earned £61499.00. That’s a 39.82% increase, which put me at number 16,615 in the charts (down from 15525 last week).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nacho Libre

Back in the days when I worked in minimum wage hell, I was a lowly minion in a cinema. It was around this time that I first became aware of Jack Black – mainly because we had posters up advertising Shallow Hal and I apparently bore more then just a passing resemblance to Jack, as he appeared on the poster (hugging Gwyneth Paltrow).

One of the naff ways the cinema tried to be ‘fun’ was that it made you have your favourite movie on your name badge alongside your name. It wasn’t long before some jokers ordered me a name badge with Shallow Hal on. (Still it was better than the ribbing my mate Gareth ‘Bacardi’ Lynham got when the poster came out for Amelie and it was discovered he looked the spitting image of Audrey Tatou – she of Da Vinci Code fame).

Recently Shallow Hal had its TV premiere and three people, none of whom knew about my minimum wage hell experience, said that they’d “seen this movie last night which really reminded me of you…”

Then last week, within a 24 hour window, my foster sister told me that she thought I ‘was’ Jack Black, a friend who I’m going to collaborate on writing a film script with told me we could do an autobiographical with Jack Black playing me, and my office’s resident filmaholic asked me what I was doing that evening, because there was this film he wanted to see with me called Nacho Libre.

So, I went to see it last night with Cath, Dr Nicholls and Irony Boy. What a disappointment. Not going with Cath, Dr Nicholls and Irony Boy – they’re good company to go to the cinema with. But the film…

The thing that got me was that this was a huge missed opportunity. The basic premise is flawless – a monk, wanting to buy decent food for the orphans in his care, ignores the Church’s condemnation of wrestling, dresses up as a (masked) wrestler, and in this secret identity wins enough money to buy the orphans salads for a change. As a concept, it can’t miss. As a film, it did.

Jack Black is a good comic actor. I liked Shallow Hal, despite the constant annoying comparisons. I liked Orange County, which if you haven’t seen it, is just brilliant, mainly because of Jack’s performance as a hippy stoner. I liked Envy, where he outperforms Ben Stiller – no mean feat.

Admittedly he wasn’t great in King Kong, but then King Kong was awful. And I personally thought School of Rock wasn’t that good, although I know people who loved it to bits (you know who you are, Sian Lewis).

I’m not a huge fan of his band, Tenacious D, although I will admit the video for ‘Tribute’ is pant-wettingly funny (especially ‘he asked us “Are you angels” and we said “Nay! We are but men!” ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh’), but the album is ropey at best, with too many ‘spoken word’ segments. (The best one is ‘Cock Pushups’ where Jack tries to convince Kyle that once they’re famous they’re going to get loads of groupies, so they’d better get in training by doing ‘cock push-ups’). Unsurprisingly, there’s a Tenacious D movie in the works.

So, where did Nacho Libre go wrong? Well, firstly the script was poor. It felt as if the actors were improvising. There were lots of standing/sitting around scenes where not much happened. To make scenes ‘funnier’ the director had the brilliant idea of having Jack’s character Ignacio, sitting on a toilet while talking to someone else. Ooh, my aching sides! Ignacio and his tag-team partner get beaten up a lot by a variety of dwarf wrestlers/ women wrestlers/ bizarre character wrestlers. Hilarious! He falls in love with a nun who seems to spend most of the film combing her hair while wearing a long nightdress. Call the doctor – I’ve split my sides!

I’ve reached the conclusion that there are only so many times you can watch Jack Black getting beaten up in a wrestling ring without it getting deathly dull. That number is somewhere between once and twice. After that, it’s just boring.

Ignacio is a bit of a dunce, and therein lies another missed opportunity. This could have been a powerful comedy drama with a hint of ‘liberation theology’ as a monk takes his calling to stand up for the poor and dispossessed seriously, flouting pious religiosity to become a folk hero. Instead he comes over as a pathetic, misunderstood clown. There are nods to the dramatic. Ignacio asks ‘What is the gospel?’ with the questioning attitude of many who have discovered that religion talks the talk but does not walk the walk. But that’s about it.

Ultimately, the biggest disappointment of Nacho Libre is that it could have been so much better – a great concept, a great comic actor, a huge marketing push.

Oh, if only Hollywood could discover an as-yet-untapped scriptwriting genius.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Therapeutic Philately

It’s kind of an open secret that back towards the end of last year I wasn’t feeling too good. I took six weeks off work and started on some medication. Which meant that earlier this year I celebrated my 30th birthday feeling like a bit of a cliché: a writer on Prozac. How original.

One of the things that helped me get my head straight was rediscovering philately – stamp collecting to those who have an aversion to fancy words. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the most reproduced image ever in history is the portrait of the Queen by Arnold Machin that appears on UK definitive stamps. People often call them ‘Queen’s head’ stamps, but their technical term is Machin definitives. I spent a number of hours sorting through boxes and bags of stamps and compiled all my Queen’s head stamps into the right order in a large album – making sure my Machins matched.

Cheap therapy
The thing about stamp collecting is that it requires a lot of concentration, but isn’t actually very important in the long run. It’s time-consuming, but if you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. And therein lay the secret of why it was so good for me – at a time when my head was running with itself in terms of crazy thoughts, something so mundane could keep me enthralled and prevent me from stressing out.

I’ve kind of kept up with it this past year. Recently through a couple of chance finds I’ve become quite interested in stamps from the South African colonies before the Unification of South Africa in 1910. Considering these small bits of paper are up to and over 100 years old, they’re quite easy to find and, best of all, cheap. The other day I noticed the following stamp for sale on eBay, hard-to-find and consequently not cheap.



Head’s up
I just love this stamp. I didn’t bother bidding for it because it was pricey, but I did copy the jpeg onto my hard drive. It makes me laugh, because it goes to show that we are all human. I don’t know if anyone showed King Edward VII, who was a keen philatelist and took a personal interest in designing the Royal Mail’s stamps, but if they did, I wonder what he thought of it?

Errors are big business in stamp-collecting. Mainly this is because they’re rare. When an error is discovered, the remaining stock is usually destroyed. They don’t tend to happen so much nowadays, anyway, because of the computerised printers that are used (although some Machins got printed a couple, of years ago without £ signs on). This kind of error is possible because the plates were assembled by hand, and each section of the stamp was printed seperately.

My point – and I do have one
It would be interesting to know what happened to the hapless printer (let’s call him Bob) who loaded the central image the wrong way up on this stamp. I can imagine Bob came in for some flak – maybe he was ‘investigated’ by his managers. You can bet Bob’s mates would have ribbed him mercilessly: "Hey Bob, you on the printer today? Don’t forget to put the King’s head in the right way up! Har har har!"

But the irony is that Bob’s cock up is now worth quite a bit, whereas all the printers who paid attention and never screwed up produced stamps that are worth only pennies now.

I don’t want to spoil this story by drawing a lesson from it, but it’s worth adding that I sent out a press release yesterday about an event that’s coming up. It was a beautiful press release – the headline was great, the quotes were great, it ran together nicely, it was concise and to the point.

The only thing I forgot to tell people about was the date.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Challenge

This is an interesting comment from Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society

DEAR MR PASCAL: ALL BETS ARE OFF
Do religious people really believe the incredible things that they say they do? I mean, really underneath it all, do they honestly and truly believe it? It’s something that has puzzled me for a long time now.

The question arose again this week, when a survey of 158 worshippers drawn from eight Anglican churches across Wales has revealed that superstition plays a big part in their lives even though it contradicts the teachings of their religion. Many NSS members will, at this point, be saying: “But surely their religion is a superstition in its own right?” (This is a reasonable assertion, given that the dictionary definition of superstition is “an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear”.)

Of those questioned in the survey, 29% (carried out by Bangor University) said they believed it is lucky to find a four-leaf clover and 26% said they thought it was unlucky to open an umbrella indoors. Ten per cent would wear a crucifix for luck but only 1% would use charms to protect themselves from evil.

Indeed, many people read their horoscope in the morning paper, half-convinced that it is going to tell them something important. But if you ask them ten minutes later what it said, most of them wouldn’t remember. There is an element of wishful thinking here, and Pascal’s wager comes to mind. Pascal thought you might as well believe in God because there is nothing to lose if it isn’t true and everything to gain if it is. Woody Allen put it this way: “I do not believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.”

This applies to walking under ladders, too. You might as well not do it, just in case. After all, it doesn’t take much effort to walk round, does it? Even though you know in your heart of hearts that it’s senseless.

This leads us to conjecture on how many people in the pews, and indeed, in the street, are acting on the Pascal’s wager principle. It simply doesn’t cost anything to say you believe in God, but it does save a lot of hassle about having to explain and argue. You don’t have to make any kind of commitment to that belief, and I’ve lost count of the number of people who have said “You don’t have to go the church to be a Christian” which is the perfect way of saying “I really couldn’t care less one way or the other. All I know is, it bores the hell out of me.”

Indifference is the true measure of religion in Britain. Research by the BBC a few years ago revealed that even many self-defined Christians, when pressed, can’t bring themselves to believe the silly things that the church demands of them. The research subjects felt confident enough to admit that they didn’t believe in the virgin birth, the resurrection, the miracles and all the other stuff that common sense and experience tell us are impossible. But they can’t quite let go entirely of their cultural conditioning and so they continue to define themselves as Christians.

Consequently we have the census result apparently indicating that 72% of the population of this country think they are Christians. Very few of those people could tell much about the religion they say they belong to. This suits the church hierarchy who get all the benefits of an apparent mass movement, with few of the problems (except, of course, lack of contributions).

But the increasing numbers of people demanding non-religious funerals and weddings shows that there is a greater willingness to be honest. It seems, Mr Pascal, that all bets are off.

An additional note from Jongudmund:
I've never really trusted the Pascal's Wager theory, because it strikes me that if religion is true it should be evident that it is true. To say 'I'm going to believe it anyway, just in case' turns belief into an insurance policy, and I'm not sure that's the kind of faith God would really be looking for. Using Pascal's Wager to 'convince' people to hedge their bets by subscribing to a religion is the last resort of the desperate evangelist who has no convincing evidence to back up his desire to make converts. You just wouldn't use it in any other part of life would you? "I have no evidence that gargling with baked beans will make me live to 103, but I'm going to do it every day just in case it does..."(!t works until you choke on a baked bean!)

I guess the challenge is to live convincingly, rather than argue unconvincingly and appeal to the gambling mind.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Limping Scrod

This is what happens at the place I work. The highly talented writers and designers put together a magazine every so often, which then gets taken into a meeting of people from all around the building. They then proceed to shred said magazine. When I say ‘shred’, I mean metaphorically, but that’s only because no one can be jiggered to unplug the giant shredder and lug it up the stairs.

This process happened a couple of days ago and, as usual, the creatives were waiting to hear which of us were going to have to do the most tweaking as a result of the meeting. (Naturally, we aren’t allowed in the meeting – that would be stuow-pid!)

While we were waiting, we read the day’s Dilbert strip, which struck us with its ironic relevance to where we were at, at the time. Matt the designer promptly broke all kinds of copyright laws and customized the strip, and now I’m risking the ire of Scott Adams by posting it here.



It’s worth pointing out that ‘limping scrod’ has now made it into our office vernacular.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jesus Songs

Occasionally I get it into my head to put together a mix-tape. Recently I’ve been doing this on my work computer. I’ve ripped a load of my favourite albums onto it and then I select 11 songs to make up a playlist for the day. (It’s always 11, I’m not sure why, but that feels ‘right’.) Sometimes I burn the playlist onto a CD and then stick on in the car.

I used to actually do mix-tapes on tape, which has the added bonus of not having to have everything you want to record on CD. I’m old enough to own cassettes and even some vinyl and it would be a real trog converting them to another format or copying them onto my hard-drive.

Recently I’ve had an idea for a ‘concept’ album of ‘Jesus songs’ – i.e. songs which namecheck Jesus in the title. Having a good trawl through the old record collection has thrown up a few interesting songs to include. As I’m probably never going to put the tape together, I thought I’d just list them here and that would be just as good.

Jesus Christ Pose – Soundgarden
I’ve never really ‘got’ Soundgarden. I mean they’re OK, but I can’t see what the fuss was about. My sis-in-law really likes ‘Black Hole Sun’. Again, I’m not too bothered. I’ve got this on a Kerrang compilation CD, although ‘Vanilla Radio’ by The Wildhearts is a much better song off that CD.

Jesus of Suburbia – Green Day
I personally think ‘American Idiot’ is the greatest pop-punk album of the 21st century, and definitely Green Day’s best. I know for hardcore ‘Dookie’ fans that’s tantamount to blasphemy, but there’s more variety on American Idiot and musically it’s streets ahead. This song is the second one on the album and divides into five parts, each one telling another section of the story. The refrain “the land of make-believe that don’t believe in me” continues the disenchantment of the kick-off track on the album, also called American Idiot. Later on, in another song which wraps up the story, they sing “the Jesus of Suburbia is a lie”.

I Have Forgiven Jesus – Morrissey
I’m not a huge Morrissey fan, although Cathy did drag me along to a gig years ago which kind of converted me. This one is off a recent album, which we own on CD. I like it in a way, as Morrissey magnanimously forgives Jesus for screwing him over by giving him the potential to love, but nobody worthy of loving. Typical Morrissey ego, really.

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
Only one thing to say about this: Marilyn who? It’s got to be the original Dave Gahan snarl for me. Everything about this song is perfect – driving rhythm, slightly sinister vocals, edgy chords. Nobody does ‘get-in-your-head-and-make-you-taste-insanity’ like Depeche. Marilyn Manson must cry himself to sleep wanting to be as good as them.

Jesus Freak – DC Talk
The only ‘genuine’ religious song on this list, and actually quite good for a Christian song. I’m not sure what format I have this on. It may be a CD single, or it might be an old cassette that I copied (shock! horror! gasp!) off my little brother. In a way the post-grunge indie sound has dated a little bit, but this is still a great song to mosh to.

Hard on for Jesus – The Dandy Warhols
I’m not sure about The Dandy Warhols. I really liked ‘Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth’, and the cover of ‘Hells Bells’ on the ‘Bohemian Like You’ single is quite probably the best cover ever, but I’ve just never got round to buying any of their albums. I’ve got this song on a free CD that came with a music magazine. It’s OK. Interestingly, I’ve heard the phrase ‘Jesus is my girlfriend’ used by some Christians to derogatorily describe sickly lovey-dovey Christian worship songs. This is just the next step on, really.

American Jesus – Bad Religion
I’ve got this as a live version on a cassette single called ‘21st Century Digital Boy’. It’s an attack on fundamentalist American Christianity. So, naturally, I like it.

Jesus is Just Alright – The Doobie Brothers
While not one of the Doobies’ better songs, this still sounds pretty cool. DC Talk covered it – perhaps the first time a Christian band has covered a song about Jesus that was made popular by a non-Christian band. “We just liked the tune” is apparently the Doobies’ take on it. I think the Doobies are onto something here. Most people don’t have an issue with Jesus; he’s alright, it’s his followers who give him a bad name.

I think that’s about it. Obviously there are other songs out there, but I don’t think I own them (‘Jesus Christ’ by the Longpigs springs to mind – ‘Who?’ I hear you ask). Matt the designer suggested the country song ‘Drop Kick me Jesus(Through the Goal Posts of Life)’, but we don’t know who that’s by and we only ever had a dodgy copy that we found on some random website. Of course, I could use songs that namecheck Jesus in the song (‘Oblivion’ by Terrorvision, ‘Rewind’ by Stereophonics, too many U2 songs to list), but that would mean the track listing wouldn’t look as cool.

However, I do need another 3 tracks to make a complete 11-track album, so if you have any suggestions leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why are first blog posts always so lame?

Hey everyone I've got a blog... and the world sighs collectively as yet another muppet with nothing to say enters the giddy realms of blogging. Well, this isn't my first ever blog post. I've been a contributor to other blogs, run my own typepad blog etc. I just wanted somewhere to write.

So why a blog? Why indeed? I think I'll let one of the 21st Century's few genuine geniuses answer that. Step forward Mr Scott Adams:

When I see news stories about people all over the world who are experiencing hardships, I worry about them, and I rack my brain wondering how I can make a difference. So I decided to start my own blog. That way I won't have time to think about other people.

People who are trying to decide whether to create a blog or not go through a thought
process much like this:
1. The world sure needs more of ME.
2. Maybe I'll shout more often so that people nearby can experience the joy of knowing my thoughts.
3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy.
4. I know - I'll write down my daily thoughts and badger people to read them.
5. If only there was a description for this process that doesn't involve the words egomaniac or unnecessary.
6. What? It's called a blog? I'm there!

The blogger's philosophy goes something like this: Everything that I think about is more fascinating than the crap in your head.

The beauty of blogging, as compared to writing a book, is that no editor will be interfering with my random spelling and grammar, my complete disregard for the facts, and my wandering sentences that seem to go on and on and never end so that you feel like you need to take a breath and clear your head before you can even consider making it to the end of the sentence that probably didn't need to be written anyhoo.

If that doesn't inspire you to read my blog, I don't know what will. You can find the Dilbert Blog at http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/


So there you go. One post in and I'm passing off someone else's creativity to entertain people. Welcome to Pantperthog!