Friday, November 30, 2007

Name checking

Further to yesterday's post about their genius song lyric, Scouting for Girls' latest single is called Elvis Ain't Dead, which got me thinking about songs that namecheck other bands or artists.

Ironically Scouting for Girls are in direct competition with Living Colour, who released a track called Elvis is Dead back in the 90s. REM claimed "Andy's goofing on Elvis, hey baby" on Man on the Moon, and Counting Crows sang "she wants to meet a boy who looks like Elvis" on Round Here.

In fact the Crows are notable namecheckers. Two other examples spring to mind: "I wanna be Bob Dylan" (Mr Jones) and "Got Ben Folds on the radio" (Monkey). Then there's Snow Patrol urging a girl to "put Sufjan Stevens on" (Hands Open), and Bowling for Soup namechecking Nirvana, Blondie, U2, Madonna and probably loads more in 1985.

When it comes to names in titles, 'Roll Over Beethoven' springs to mind (originally By Chuck Berry but made famous by The Beatles), while currently I'm loving The Wombats tune 'Let's Dance to Joy Division'. And of course there's the classic Ballad of Tom Jones by Space & Cerys Matthews.

There's probably loads more if I really thought about it - any ideas?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Contender for best lyric ever

The Scouting for Girls album is excellent, and in 'The Mountains of Navaho', they have surely coined one of the best song lyrics ever...

"I'll never be a guy like He-Man
And I'll never be a girl like She-Ra
I'm a lonely beast like baaaaaaaaaaaaattle caaaaaaaaaaaat!"


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jongudmund recommends

Here's a tip - check out one of the funniest sites I've been on in a while: Basic Instructions. These cartoons are often laugh out loud funny, because the dialogue is so razor sharp. ("There's no such thing as enough Mr Pibb")*

I also like the way the cartoonist, Scott Meyer, is dialoguing with his readers, experimenting in an open way with the strip and seeing if people notice/care/approve. He's also taken advice from Scott Adams, decided it hasn't worked, and then reverted back to what he does best - four panel formats. It takes guts to turn round to the world's most successful living cartoonist and say 'your advice isn't working for me', but to be fair, Scott has said the same thing.

Unfortunately, it seems the strip format which works will mean the strip won't get picked up by newspapers, which is a crying shame when you compare these 'toons with some of the drivel which passes for humour.

So that's my recommendation for you. Visit the site and prepare to laugh - particularly if you've ever wondered how you can be suave!

* Mr Pibb tastes like Dr Pepper, but is presumably named after a surgeon or a medical school drop out...

Monday, November 26, 2007


My joke about male turkeys suffering more from bird flu is on the 'more soon' tag line on Newsbiscuit. Woohoo.

(Wait for the rolling headlines to move round to it!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bill Bailey ~ Tinselworm

BB on David Beckham moving to LA Galaxy: "It's a bit like Adolf Hitler turning up at a BNP meeting in Tiverton."

"Ar, well, mister Hitler, your far right views are a bit out of our league, but you're very welcome!"

I'd write more but I'm feeling rough with the man flu.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Guidance seeker

A Parable

A man was in a drinking establishment with a friend complaining about his job. He said: "I'm fed up. No one has any respect for the work I do. I've poured my energy into every project I'm given, but when they moved my department round I got ranked below everyone else. The atmosphere has changed recently too. We used to be a team, pulling together; now everyone feels nervous and edgy with each other. I've seen friends who were shown the door after years of loyal service and I wonder if I'm going to be next. I know I could earn more money somewhere else and be just as happy, or at least no more miserable. I feel like I'm wasting my life and all my achievements add up to nothing..."

His friend nodded, then said: "Well, why don't you look for another job then?"

The man shrugged and said: "Well, you know, it's not that easy. I'm a god-fearer and I really can't just change my job without guidance from above."

His friend looked puzzled for a moment: "Guidance from above?" he asked.

"Yes," said the man. "Some kind of sign that I'm in the wrong place and I ought to move on."

There was a long pause and they both sipped at their drinks. Eventually the man's friend said: "I guess you're right to wait for a sign. Just because you're unappreciated, undervalued, underpaid, unhappy, and you're worried about the future and whether you'll ever make your mark in the world doesn't mean you should take matters into your own hands. But just out of interest, what kind of sign are you looking for?"

Monday, November 19, 2007

Caring husband

Cathy's had a blurgy birthday which started with a trip to our nice GP who told her that she's developed sinusitis now and will probably suffer from it for the rest of the week. Still we had birthday brioches and some nice post for her to open when we came home, and she got to open her presents from me.

I gave her a handbag made out of a recycled truck inner tube, a set of cubees (bizarre singing cuboid animals from Japan - natch), a Darth Vader rubber duck and a Peanuts calendar. No toiletries or socks from this big kid! This evening Viv and Ian popped round and gave her even more funky frivolous things, including a Play-Doh Mr Potato Head set. But she's going to wait until she can smell properly before she opens it because apparently the thing with Play Doh is 'it's all in the smell'.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Immature clown

Thanks to Connor "I hate nature!" K, the whole world can now see me reveling in visual humour of the most mature kind.

And no, I haven't grown an Afro. It's a wig, before you start...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chastened ranter

My friend Martyn gave me a bit of perspective on my spleen-venting rant about traffic-wardens...

"They are human just like you and me. They just love doing their job and have great job staisfaction. Your hate for them is greatly appreciated by them as this only serves to further improve their job satisfaction rating.

And it isn't really their fault is it? If you hadn't parked where you shouldn't have, then the pleasure they experienced by writing out a ticket wouldn't have been possible and the hatred you now feel would not have materialsied and they would be miserable and not you.

But take it as your good deed for the day and I'm sure you will begin to feel a little better yourself. Who knows it may even help you to overcome your hatred. Next time it happens say thank you with a smile on your face, tell them you forgive them and think they do a wonderfull job for society and your satisfaction will be greater than theirs

Giving is far better than receiving (even if it is a parking ticket).

Perhaps you have a ministry in improving the lives of Traffic Wardens.

Furthermore, why not broaden your mission field and try speeding as well."

Okay then, consider me rebuked. Mutter, mutter, mutter, they're still gits, mutter...

But snapping back to reality for a second, my £20 parking fine pales into insignificance compared to the news I heard yesterday that my boss - a man who lives and breathes the ethos and values of the outfit we work for - has had his job engineered out of existence during a restructure.

And to compound the disaster for my team we're getting sucked into a vortex known as "Internal Services" where we'll be at the beck and call of people who won't know a good piece of writing or design if it bit them on the arse. Yet again the creatives are shoved into a box and told to keep quiet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tardy invalid

After being referred to the physio department back in June, I finally had my first appointment for my dodgy ankle today. It ran over the 45 minutes they'd told me which meant I was about 15 minutes late back to my car, where I found a nice traffic warden had left me a parking ticket under my windscreen wiper.

Seriously, on the ticket it records the time my £1.50-worth of parking ran out (9.24) and the time they wrote the ticket (9.35). I got back to my car at 9.39 and there was no one in sight, which leads me to conclude the buggers slap on the fine and then scuttle back off to lurk under a nearby rock.

The ironic thing is we're always told to be helpful to the council and the police and whoever else, but when we need someone to give us 15 minutes grace, that grace isn't forthcoming from the greasy little retarded jobsworths employed to make everyone else's life just that bit more difficult.

One consoling thought is that 'what goes around comes around'. Apparently traffic wardens are one of the occupations most likely to develop work-related stress, depression and mental problems. Well, good. I've heard it said that a good maxim for happiness is to seek to try to make the world a better place every day. In which case the git who ticketed me deserves to be miserable and filled with self-loathing until he stops being such a complete *$%#!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Slacker theologian

After almost two months, I've finally got round to putting a new article up on freelance theology. And I only managed to find the time this evening because the free preview I was supposed to be going to with Bryan was full. Ah, well, I guess it's a more worthy use of my time.

One day I'd like to find a way to get freelance theology paying for itself. Any ideas out there how to do that without selling my soul out to google-ads? Sometimes I daydream that I could quit my job and write answers to theological queries all day, every day. How sad is that?

There's also a freelance theology Facebook group you can join if you haven't done so yet!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tired but happy

Yeah, I'm a good role model, me. A weekend away with the youth in deepest darkest Herefordshire resulted in some aches (particularly in my dodgy ankle), some pains, and more nettle stings than I've had in years. But, oh, we had fun.

Three things I'll remember...

1 ~ Chucking glow-sticks into trees to see if we could get them stuck up there (some did!)
2 ~ Trying to 'pee my name' on the embers of a fire. I managed a J, before my efforts turned into a splodge (but doing this is a nice way to warm your nethers on a cold, cold night).
3 ~ A lad called Connor who wasn't used to wide games in woods telling me "I hate nature!"

I didn't get much sleep and I was totally bush-whacked when I got home yesterday, but after a weekend like that I really didn't fancy going back to work. Who would?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Good thing Cathy prefers Ernie

According to, that really is Bert from Sesame Street posing with Osama Bin Laden (look just over his right shoulder!). But how he ended up on a poster being waved by an irate Islamist is a whole other story, which really shows the danger of stealing pictures off the internet!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Life's too short

I got about twenty minutes into tonight's episode of The Riches on Virgin 1 and I thought "This really is rubbish." It's amazing how any screenwriter could take the two sublime talents of Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver and somehow sling them together in something so stupidly mundane.

So I went and updated the Fair Do's website which I've been meaning to do for ages instead. Ah, the sweet feeling of meaningful achievement.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I chose to do a talk with the youth today on the topic of names. As part of my research I looked up what my name meant on various websites. Obviously I knew the gist: Hebrew, root meaning 'God has given', etc.

I don't think the kids could have been less interested, until I told them that 'Jonathan' in American street-slang apparently means 'bad ass'. So now if anyone asks me what my name means, I'm going to say "'Bad Ass!' You dig?"

Yeah, I feel like Samuel L Jackson.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Another night, another Sean

I've been laughing a lot recently! We saw two comedians in two nights and they were both called Sean. First off on Thursday we saw Sean Hughes at the Sherman Theatre (or the 'Man' as Sean pointed out because half the lights were out on the sign), then last night we saw Sean Lock at St David's Hall.

It was the first time I'd been to the Sherman and it was a good venue - not too big, but not a club either. The bloke next to me fell asleep before the interval, which shows the seats were comfortable I suppose.

As you'd expect, given the time lapse, Sean's routine was very different from when we saw him about 11 years ago. He began with a bit based on his role in Coronation Street, and ended up talking about how he'd narrowly cheated death in the Tsunami. There were some good jokes along the way - muslim speed dating ("You've got lovely eyes"; "You've got lovely eyes"; "You've got lovely eyes"), working in a factory producing subliminal advertising ("We only got paid £2.00 an hour, but everyone thought it was very reasonable"), and a large number of sex jokes. I also thought his method of dissuading trick-or-treaters from knocking on his door was inspired: "I just paint the word 'paedophile' on my door in big angry red letters..."

Sean Lock was a bit different. He seemed a bit lost in a big venue, and the first half of the show was quite flat. But he livened up in the second half, talking about his cure for baldness he was taking on Dragon's Den (basically pretending his hand was hair instead) and loads of other random bits and bobs. Plus, this one has to go down in the annals as the comedy show with the most unexpected ending - as he stripped off to reveal his secret identitiy as...

...nah, I'm not going to spoil it for you. You'll just have to guess.