Friday, January 23, 2015

Fouled Plugs and Stale Petrol

1949 BSA
Oh woe, it will not go…

Mech: What’re the symptoms?

WBB: It’s been sitting, it started, then I shut it down, came back, it turned over, then backfired with a great BANG.

Mech: Let’s take a look (unscrews spark plug). Plug’s fouled. Coated with carbon, see? The spark grounds on the metal shell rather than jumping the gap. And the petrol smells old.

WBB: You can tell?

Mech: Sommeliers have noses. Mechanics have noses too.

WBB: Gas I bought in 1949.

Mech: Eww. New petrol, new plug.

Bike engines are fussier than car engines. If the machine has been stored, and you can start it, keep it running, take it out on the highway for a half-hour run. Otherwise, as Mech says, "New petrol, new plug."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


In a newsroom…
Andrew Preston: Associated Press are using ISIL instead of ISIS now.

Wally Post: ISIL? ISIS is a little easier to say, and it recalls the Egyptian goddess of fertility, Isis.

Andrew Preston: So ISIL seems more like an abbreviation than an acronym?

Wally Post: Wouldn’t go that far, they are both pronounceable. It’s just the majestic image of Isis in “Glory to Egypt, hail to thee, Isis of strength and power…”

Andrew Preston: I think it went
“Glory to Isis and the land
By her firm arm protected!
To Egypt's King elected,
Raise we our festive songs!”

Wally Post: Anyway, ISIS as an acronym that connotes something majestic. Not sure if Islamic State of Iraq and Syria suggests that… I mean, terrorism is not majestic.

Andrew Preston: So maybe a clumsy and brutal abbreviation is more apt than a cultured acronym.
ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
ISIL: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dogberry and Malaprop

Colin Cornouiller
Colin Cornouiller et Mme Maladroit longeron au salon…
Mme Maladroit: I think you should accept the New Year honours award.

Colin Cornouiller: I don’t think so.

Mme Maladroit: Some people like to slide away from the reality of viewing a truth horse in the mouth.

Mme Maladroit
Colin Cornouiller: What are you saying? What verbosity! And a Dogberry to boot! Like George Bush’s "It will take time to restore chaos and order."

Mme Maladroit: Dogbelly?

Colin Cornouiller: Dogberry. Like a Malapropism.

Mme Maladroit: I know Dogberry. Just kidding you with my capricious creativity.

Colin Cornouiller: Sure it wasn’t your fluctuating dementia?

Shakespeare’s Dogberry with lines like “You are thought here to be the most senseless (sensible) and fit man for the constable of the watch…” (Much Ado About Nothing, Act 3, scene 3, c1598) was well ahead of Sheridan’s (1775) Mrs Malaprop with lines like "She's as headstrong as an allegory (alligator) on the banks of Nile." Donald Davidson observes that doing such things with words is indicative of the complexities of cognition.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

White Rabbit, White Sheep


Why does the RABBIT morph into a SHEEP? 
2015 is the Year of the Sheep.
Why the APPLE? 
No telling what the year will bring.
Wm. Tell (Archer).

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Magi Mistakes

After the gift giving…
Melchior: I thought she would have liked gold.
Balthazar: And I was sure she would prefer frankincense to Dior.
Gaspar: Likewise, I thought she’d prefer myrrh over chocolate.
Gift-giving is a tricky business.
Some people want luxury, some want practical presents.
Like pampers.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

LINE Sticker Sheep Manga

A new direction for LINE?

Myrrhy Christmas, Frank.

Could LINE become an alternative coauthored interactive manga?

What are the possibilities for authorship?

What are the possibilities for readership?

Send your own designed LINE sticker greeting.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Plagiarism or Influence: Changing form but not the content

A book review seems not to be plagiarized… Or is it?
Professor Wang: It’s well written. Are you sure it’s his own work?

Professor Tsu: I tried a plagiarism search. Nothing showed up.

Professor Wang: What they’re doing now is changing all the key words.

Professor Tsu: Sounds just as much effort as writing an essay from scratch.

An example of rewriting by changing the form but not the content. It may fool computer plagiarizing software but not a human reader… But we do learn from models…

Original Book Review
Suspense in "The Charm School" (1988) keeps being ratcheted as on a rack. Had to keep putting it down to draw breath. Its "charm" lies in waiting for the axe to fall. Which it does, repeatedly.

I also read Nelson DeMille's "The Gold Coast" (1990) which was less wrought up, and funny, and I still kept stopping but for a different reason. That was to highlight lines of clever writing where he shines a light on human capers and frailty.

So it's as if Nelson DeMille decided to do "The Charm School" as dollops of derring-do with dashes of diplomatic back-stabbing, then to pen personality profiles tongue in cheek in "The Gold Coast".  Great span of talent.
Rewritten Book Review
Anxiety in "The Charm School" (1988) keeps being increased. I had to keep stopping to take a break. Its so-called charm is in waiting for crises to happen, which do, very often.

I also read Nelson DeMille's "The Gold Coast" (1990) which was less tense, and humorous, and I still often stopped reading but for another cause. That was to mark lines of skillful writing where he illuminated human strengths and weaknesses.

So it's as if Nelson DeMille decided to do "The Charm School" as a mainly an action novel, then to write about characters ironically in "The Gold Coast". He has a great range of skill.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bird’s Nest National Stadium

Bird’s nest ceramics?
Q: Commissioned for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished at 428 million dollars, under the 500 million dollars budgeted, the stadium looks like a bird’s nest. Am I being a little facetious about its appearance?

A: Not at all. The designers looked for a Chinese ceramic motif, a vessel that would hold people. And in China, bird’s nest is an expensive dish for a festive occasion. It’s a rather auspicious design.

Q: Who were the designers?

A: Swiss firm, Herzog and de Meuron. Chinese artist Ai We Wei was a consultant but he withdrew his name after he learned local people had lost their homes by the project.

Q: This bird’s nest design. Looks like random steel girders.

A: Exactly. They were to hide the pillars for the retractable roof. But that was sacrificed in the interests of safety.

There actually are Chinese ceramics which feature a random pattern of lines. But it’s decoration, rather than structure. This post-modern design structure recalls a decorative design of antiquity.