Stop that pigeon

This morning, walking to work, I saw a pigeon wandering in and out the door of the local Bakers Delight. It was affecting nonchalance, but the young bloke behind the counter was watching it with an untrusting glare.

Pigeons: the natural predators of bread.

Or at least the crumbs.

Another year, another doomsday

It’s January, so it must be time to check who’s predicted the world is going to end this year. Let’s see… Ah yes, it’s Mr Harold Camping, who assures that the Rapture will take place on 11 May 2011.

He ought to know, as he’s an old hand at this game, having previously predicted it would happen on 6 September 1994. Admittedly, his book was called 1994?, so it was really more of a tentative prediction. But still, points for experience.

1994? by Harold Camping
The answer is no

Despite the fact that their main source material explicitly states “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (see The Bible), nothing stops these would-be KenKen enthusiasts from crunching any numbers they can find to get the result they want. Yes, I’m looking at you, Sir Isaac Newton.

But, you know, maybe they’re onto something. Back in 1992, a Korean group called Mission for the Coming Days predicted the Rapture on 28 October of that year. One of the students in my Honours class was working at a hotel at the time, and she reported that a bunch of these devotees had booked a room and then proceeded to trash it, assuming they wouldn’t need to pick up the bill in the morning. That’s kind of cool.

Sure, the next day’s going to suck, but imagine the sort of party you’d have if you truly believed the world was going to end tomorrow. Even if you wanted to avoid burning all your heavenly bridges, you could still have a pretty good time. And these guys who predict apocalypse after apocalypse must be constantly planning the next shindig. I can see the appeal, and I also wonder if there are people who are hooked on the whole doomsday thing for the social life alone.

Just don’t pick the castration cult, that’s all I have to add.


Contents may differ from package

Today’s post has two shameless, self-serving objectives. The first is to raise awareness of Melbourne Cupcake Day, an alternative first-Tuesday-in-November event for those who prefer sweet treats over losing money and throwing up. It deserves to be a phenomenon – the bake-off that stops a nation (better slogans are welcome).

Secondly, I want to put my own cupcake day entry on the internet:

Space invader cupcakes

I admit they’re not the most beautiful things in the world, but those are red velvet cupcakes topped with space invaders made of pop rocks.

It’s my belief that that is exactly the sort of thing the internet loves, so I’m going to put it there and see how long it takes for the first search engine hit to land. Take it away, Alta Vista!

And while we’re on a slightly retro topic, there’s something I’ve always wanted to say about Space Invaders, the game. It was hugely popular in its time, so much so that for me and my peers it became the generic name for all video games (“let’s go play the spacies!”).

And yet, I was always a bit disappointed that the aliens in the game didn’t look like the creepy monsters on the side of the machine:

Space invader machine

Someone please make a version with them in it. That would be so cool.


Not related to gastroenteritis…

…although you may change your mind after reading this. You see, last weekend, I attended one of those increasingly popular surprise housewarming parties. My contribution to the festivities? Lolly cake.

Lolly cake, close up

Every nation has its proud culinary traditions. But then there are those tastes that are acquired through the sort of forgiving ignorance that forms the basis of traditional family relationships. Such is lolly cake, New Zealand’s unique amalgam of fruity lollies, malt biscuits and half a tin of condensed milk.

For more information, and a picture of New Zealand’s the world’s longest lolly cake, see Isaac Freeman’s natural history thereof.

There you will also find a link to Star Wars/lolly cake fan-fiction. The internet: truly, the happiest kingdom on Earth.

Getting somewhere

Apparently, a good thing to do with blogs is rant about things that annoy you. And I’m all in favour of doing good things with blogs…

By the way, today’s theme is – vaguely – science.

  1. The other night NASA smashed a space probe into the Moon. Liking both astronomy and large explosions, I naturally looked it up in the newspaper the next day. What category do you think it turned up in? World news. I think they’ve missed the point.
  2. Kirk Cameron, renowned creationist and growing pain, likes to use bananas as an example of intelligent design. How they’re perfectly designed for us to eat, etc., etc. But what about those annoying stringy bits down the side? Which are clearly an anti-eating defense mechanism caught in mid-evolution. Explain that!
  3. Zeno’s paradox, dating back to ancient Greece, the notion that before you can move a distance you have to cover half the distance, but before that a quarter of the distance, and so on. You therefore have to cover an infinite number of distances, so motion is impossible. No offence to the ancient Greeks, but that’s clearly ridiculous.

As demonstrated by my effort today in attempting and completing a half marathon. Thank you, thank you. It was difficult, but made easier by weeks of carb-loading, hydrating and whinging.

And I did it as part of the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre’s Run for Refugees team.

You should acknowledge my heroic, ancient Greek confounding effort by donating lots of money to this worthy cause. Please donate online at

Don’t make me smash a space probe into your crater.

Mobile phones are no good for poetry

Or at least so claimed the graffiti I saw on the way to work this morning.

But is that really true? My first guess would be “of course not!” But I’m having trouble thinking of txtspk that rhymes better than “C U L8TR L E G8TR”.

Can anyone suggest a better one? A mobile limerick, perhaps? Or maybe we should just change the rules, so that instead of 160 characters, each SMS has to be 17 syllables?

As the kids say*, that would be totally Obama.

* At least so the Sunday Age assures me. But really I’d rather go with the bloke outside the pub last night, who claimed the band inside was “totally off the hook”. Right on.

That’s what they want you to think

Just to follow up on Thursday’s post about voodoo science, and the seven signs thereof, the big one is that “the discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work”.

On that theme, what do you think are the chances that the 9/11 Truth people will accept the results of the latest study about the collapse of building 7? Slim? Non-existent?

Ah, conspiracy theories, you just can’t beat ’em. Any evidence to the contrary is of course a conspiracy itself. Or, even better, that there’s a deeper conspiracy at work, and that they’re just humouring our conspiracy theories to stop us stumbling upon the real truth. So what is that real truth they’re trying to hide? Welcome to the neverending induction of conspiracy theory…

Of course, all right-thinking people know that 9/11 was really caused by flying reptiles. Keep watching the skies!

Slappin’ all over the world

Just a quick one today, to let you know that Slapping Christie has been accepted into yet another competition, the Festival Internacional de Cine de Marbella. Otherwise known as the Marbella International Film Festival. And after a bit of fretting about translating puns for the Spanish subtitles, it’s on its way to be screened sometime between 2 and 5 October. Once again, if you’re one of my Andalusian readers I strongly recommend you attend.

If you’re thinking you won’t bother, then take a look at this review of Christie’s Seattle screening over at Rotten Tomatoes. It may well change your mind.

Souvenirs of the apocalypse

For posterity’s sake, and because I’m sure no one believes me (see previous post), here is the photographic evidence:

SPC Y2K sixpack of tinned tomatoes

Yes, back when the year 2000 was the scary, scary future – i.e. before it became the innocent, carefree pre-9/11 – the good folks at the Shepparton Processing Company helped us in our disaster planning. If you’re going to head to the hills and barricade yourself in a tiny shack with only a shotgun and a handful of unabombs to protect you from the hordes of mutants that weren’t smart enough to head to the hills etc., make sure you at least have the ingredients for a good lasagne.

Actually, they had sixpacks of spaghetti too, but I thought the tomatoes were funnier. And actually actually I bought these after the big date, because then for some reason they were on special. (No, not because before Y2K I was cowering under my bed with a tinfoil hat, I don’t know why you’d think that…)