Friday, October 31, 2008

How consultants really help

To all of you who deal with restaurants and understand the need for the service to be faster, this story is a timeless lesson on how consultants can make a difference to an organisation.

Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange. When another waiter brought our water, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket.

Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets.

When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?"

"Well", he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."

As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare. "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen, instead of making an extra trip to get it right now."

I was impressed. I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the
waiter's fly.

Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"

"Oh, certainly!" Then he lowered his voice.
"Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you-know-what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39%.

I asked "After you get it out, how do you put it back?"

"Well," he whispered, "I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."

Teachers should be allowed to use the rod (Jo-Anne Lee, Today, 30/10, p24)

I refer to “Different strokes required” and “Splitting up the classes may help” (Oct 29).

I do not envy teachers these days. Not only is the nobility of their profession not respected, parents now also believe it’s the teachers’ role to nurture and groom their kids.

Ill-behaved children? Of course there are. The question is, are they just being children or being disrespectful? I teach Sunday classes. The preschool kids are lovely because they’re young, innocent and impressionable.

There is a big difference between parents being liberal and open minded with their children, and being simply over indulgent. “Over compensate” is the word Mr Ho Kong Loon used. I couldn’t agree more. Was there not a recent media report about a young woman whose parents give her money to buy designer bags?

The constraint on teachers where discipline is concerned is getting ridiculous. If the parents shirk disciplining responsibility and hand it over to the teacher, then they should let the teachers discipline their kids with the cane, rod or whatever they deem fit and not interfere.

I’ve seen too many brats who are not only spoilt in the material sense but lack social graces and graciousness. Basic courtesy and civic mindedness have gone down the drain. Mr Arthur Lim says there’s a lack of tolerance in society and children need their “space”. I agree, but how much space is enough before we realise they are getting out of control? And split up classes? Doesn’t he know that we are facing a shortage of good teachers?
Please don't spoil this generation. Don't ask the teachers to discipline your children - BECAUSE WE CAN'T.

Beautiful vowels

It took seven years to write Eunoia.

Eunoia is the shortest word in English containing all five vowels - and it means "beautiful thinking". It is also the title of Canadian poet Christian Bok's book of fiction in which each chapter uses only one vowel.

Mr Bok believes his book proves that each vowel has its own personality, and demonstrates the flexibility of the English language. Below are extracts from each chapter.
Hassan Abd al-Hassad, an Agha Khan, basks at an ashram - a Taj Mahal that has grand parks and grass lawns, all as vast as parklands at Alhambra and Valhalla. Hassan can, at a handclap, call a vassal at hand and ask that all staff plan a bacchanal - a gala ball that has what pagan charm small galas lack. Hassan claps, and (tah-dah) an Arab lass at a swank spa can draw a man's bath and wash a man's back, as Arab lads fawn and hang, athwart an altar, amaranth garlands as fragrant as attar - a balm that calms all angst. A dwarf can flap a palm branch that fans a fat maharajah. A naphtha lamp can cast a calm warmth.
Westerners revere the Greek legends. Versemen retell the represented events, the resplendent scenes, where, hellbent, the Greek freemen seek revenge whenever Helen, the new-wed empress, weeps. Restless, she deserts her fleece bed where, detested, her wedded regent sleeps. When she remembers Greece, her seceded demesne, she feels wretched, left here, bereft, her needs never met. She needs rest; nevertheless, her demented fevers render her sleepless (her sleeplessness enfeebles her). She needs help; nevertheless her stressed nerves render her cheerless (her cheerlessness enfetters her).
Hiking in British districts, I picnic in virgin firths, grinning in mirth with misfit whims, smiling if I find birch twigs, smirking if I find mint sprigs.

Midspring brings with it singing birds, six kinds, (finch, siskin, ibis, tit, pipit, swift), whistling shrill chirps, trilling chirr chirr in high pitch. Kingbirds flit in gliding flight, skimming limpid springs, dipping wingtips in rills which brim with living things: krill, shrimp, brill - fish with gilt fins, which swim in flitting zigs. Might Virgil find bliss implicit in this primitivism? Might I mimic him in print if I find his writings inspiring?
Loops on bold fonts now form lots of words for books. Books form cocoons of comfort - tombs to hold bookworms. Profs from Oxford show frosh who do post-docs how to gloss works of Wordsworth. Dons who work for proctors or provosts do not fob off school to work on crosswords, nor do dons go off to dorm rooms to loll on cots. Dons go crosstown to look for bookshops known to stock lots of top-notch goods: cookbooks, workbooks - room on room of how-to-books for jocks (how to jog, how to box), books on pro sports: golf or polo. Old colophons on schoolbooks from schoolrooms sport two sorts of logo: oblong whorls, rococo scrolls - both on worn morocco.
Gulls churr: ululu, ululu. Ducks cluck. Bulls plus bucks run thru buckbrush; thus dun burrs clutch fur tufts. Ursus cubs plus Lupus pups hunt skunks. Curs skulk (such mutts lurk: ruff, ruff). Gnus munch kudzu. Lush shrubs bud; thus church nuns pluck uncut mums. Bugs hum: buzz, buzz. Dull susurrus gusts murmur hushful, humdrum murmurs: hush, hush. Dusk suns blush. Surf lulls us. Such scuds hurl up cumulus suds (Sturm und Druck) - furls unfurl: rush, rush; curls uncurl: gush, gush. Such tumult upturns unsunk hulls; thus gulfs crush us, gulp, dunk us - burst lungs succumb.


Can you write using only one vowel?

I think this is gimmicky!
Katherine, Arizona, USA

A Lancs man asks "Can that mad, bad, Yank MacCain catch Barack?" Lancs Man says Yanks want Barack? Fab!
Mike W, Lancashire

Prhps hs nxt ffrt wll b nthng bt cnsnnts!!
Gordon Knight, Boldre, New Forest

Expends excess weeks, never sleeps, yet renders wretched verse. Geek!
Ian , Glasgow, Scotland

Wild high wind - vivid spirit,
Zips, licks.
I wish, wish it still
I sigh, will it lift,shift?
Wild high wind
lilts, tilts, kills.
Eileen Tiffin de Quadra, Newcastle upon Tyne

A far away star gasps gas.
Star falls
Alas warmth past
Man gasps
Man falls
"Mam Dad Why??"
Phil Harris, London England

Every sheep relent ! Seven enter where'er three entrench. Ten express envy. Better repent eh ? Very deep....
James Upton, London

Why eke verse when these verses deserve temper? He needs help even when he's clever. He renders me bereft, needy. He spends me pretty well. Bye bye energy. Better flee, perplexed!
Sebastian Hickey, Dublin, Ireland

Dull. Dull, ugly, uck:
Tumult upturns, hurls, bursts,
Curbs plush hush,
Dull murmur gusts -
Humdrum duck clucks thus.
Laura Redfern, Conwy, Wales

Owls howl from lofty woods. No moon shows. Crows look coldly. No worms, no food, only gloom.
Ed, UK

...his gift is instilling illicit instincts in I!!
Jayne, Prestatyn, Wales

Efrem revered the verse
He cleverly kept jests
Petty pretences he etched
Rhyme heckles the style
Bereft; regrets refresh excite
Eden thy sleep swells decry
GH, Carrickfergus

I think this is slightly silly!
Michael Phillips, Southsea, England

Brand - What a scandal! A daft prat! Sad, mad Brand. Sack!
Ross - No good! Fool. Clot. Stop Ross's work. Show Ross door. Bog off, Ross!
Susan Harvey, London

To 'show off'; wordworm snoot who jots down words of Wordsworth or Byron by lots of solo o's on show.
Martin Boronte, London, UK

Yes! Here we see English text expressed ever freer. Letters re-dressed, remember French seer?
Marko B, Leeds, Yorkshire

Yes, very clever: yet empty. He expended energy yet he vexes deeply. Berk!
John Dudley, London

Pop, pop, chop, chop, strop. Go on to work off lots of knots. Do not stop. Do not!
Marie, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Happy happy day...that day, my man had a way, had a play, had a stay....ah, that day!
Laura, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Fiddly, I find. Still, I didn't shirk. I didn't quit. This fits - it's right. I think it did it.
Jon Wallis, Bristol, UK

An arrant grab-bag; a bland, flat mass. Appals as far as charms. Alas, Art! That many days a man can scratch hard, and halt at that tat. That man wants a slap.
CRC, "Cantab"

John won't borrow Bok's book - too bloody wordy! Only O's? Noooooo!
John W, Sheffield

No con do !!
Roy McCallum, Whitley Bay

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nicholas Carlton - Oz Girl

Really impressed!

Traditional ways of disciplining kids are now deemed harsh and stifling (Ho Kong Loon, Today Voices, 29/10, p30)

I REFER to “Ill-behaved pupils on excursion” (Oct 29).

I share Mr Lionel de Souza’s unhappiness and concern about how the school children had misbehaved, and the apparent lack of supervision on the teachers’ part.

This phenomenon is not an isolated one. As a retired teacher, I have personally witnessed the proliferation of errant kids. The “I, me, my, mine, myself” genre has become the rule rather than the exception.

A better educated and liberal generation of parents has revolutionised the manner and approach to parenting. The traditional way we disciplined our kids is now deemed harsh, cruel, inhibitive and stifling. Kids today enjoy unbridled freedom, independence and rights.

I do not doubt the sincerity and good intentions of those who advocate a more liberal, lighter touch in raising and disciplining children.

But for many young parents, it is the inability to see the trees from the forest that trip them.

Mired in a relentless pursuit for a better life, the dues many working parents pay are usually less time with their kids, slavish dependence on domestic help, elderly parents or child-care centres, over indulgence and over compensation.

Teachers have their work well cut out for them when it involves managing kids who are restless, hyperactive, disobedient, aggressive, vocal or disruptive. In short, their hands are tightly bound, metaphorically speaking.

Educators today are well aware the parameters they operate within are distinctly marked out: No scolding, no corporal punishment, no writing of lines, no detention class, no deprivation of recess, no negative remarks, no threats ... the list is endless.

I taught the less-academically-inclined kids for 40 years. A glare from me was all it took to still a restless kid or alert an inattentive one.

Very few kids dared defy their teachers then because they knew they had no recourse to parental protection or interference. The discipline master or the school head dealt with cases of indiscipline firmly and effectively.

Can we as adults do much to remedy the present malaise and deteriorating state of discipline?

There are Singaporeans who will argue comprehensively, articulately and passionately that Mr Lionel, my peers and I are dinosaurs, time frozen by our mindset.

Are we?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Botak Jones

Ha! Finally went with Jasmine, Shannon & Ailsa. Was told to lower my expectations and it seriously wasn't too bad at all, and the price was quite reasonable. Service was excellent for a kopitiam, so no complaints there. They've a few branches islandwide so will try again sometime this year.

Wilson Phillips - Medley (1991)

Wilson Phillips - Hold On

Wilson Phillips - Release Me

Estadio Municipal de Braga

This is one weird stadium, where the area behind the goals are an open space and a rock face!

The Ant & The Grasshopper - A Malaysian Parable

The Version You Know

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer, building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool, and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.

Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed.

The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.
The Malaysian Version

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer, building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant's a fool, and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

TV1, TV2 & TV3 show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The majority of the Malaysian Parliament are stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this poor Grasshopper be allowed to suffer?

Khairy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant's house.

Nazri goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

The Malaysia Government immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the summer so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Hishammudin makes 'More Special Reservation' for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions & in Government Services.

The Ant is fined for failing to share 30% of his food with the Grasshopper.

Prime Minister announces that this is part of the NEP. Every ant must not question it.

Many years later...

The Ant has migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company there.

100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite the 'Special Reservation'.

Losing lots of hard working Ants and feeding the Grasshoppers, Malaysia is still a developing country.

All because the ANTS are just doing their work.
Received by email

Dubya endorses McCain & Palin

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Corrinne May

I've jumped on the Corrinne May bandwagon. Love her 2nd album Safe in a Crazy World especially. Apparently she knows Wen and she's sorta a senior.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Alicia Keys & Jack White - Another Way to Die

Over-enthusiastic syncopation, over-use of triplets - this has OTT written all over it. Apart from learning that Jack White can play almost any instrument (which I already knew), not much can be learnt from this directionless mess.

Roman Pavlyuchenko - Member of Parliament

While Spurs (still) lay claim to having the same number of points as a toothpick (two), at least they have someone no other club has - a Member of Parliament.

Roman Pavlyuchenko has been elected MP in Stavropol Krai, southwest Russia. Maybe he can lobby Valdimir Putin for extra funds to buy a striker Roman CAN play with.

Roger Federer vs Pete Sampras

Roger Federer's monster kick serve

Gayest tennis serve

Dann & Brian Battistone: double-handled racket & jump serve

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blue - Best in Me

Adam & Eve break up and resort to personal ads

Joey Scarbury - Theme from Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)

Wilson Phillips - You're In Love

The Billion-and-One Commandments

Wanna know where's the Parks Act? Well you can find it here at Singapore Statutes Online, together with other obscure novelties like Animals & Birds Act (isn't a bird an animal?), Application of English Law Act, Banishment Act, Boy Scouts Association Act, Bretton Woods Agreement Act and the ultra-relevant Cattle Act.

Robbie Dupree - Steal Away

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.- You Don't Have to Be a Star

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Parliament: Cops scared of crooks, so base closed! by Royce Cheah, The Star Online

The stupidity and incompetence of the reply is really quite chocking, but then again, little shocks you about Malaysia anymore.
KUALA LUMPUR: A police beat base in the Chow Kit area of downtown Kuala Lumpur was closed down because it was in a location that was considered unsafe, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

In a written reply to Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali (PAS-Titiwangsa), Syed Hamid said the beat base was located in a dirty area where there was a possibility of being exposed to contagious diseases.

The presence of criminals also posed a threat to the safety of police officers, he said.

Lo’ Lo’ had asked why the beat base on Jalan Haji Taib was closed considering the high number of vice-related activities in the area, as well as what kind action had been taken by the police to curb such activities.

Syed Hamid said that the police were looking for a new location to build a police beat base that would be able to give “guaranteed and continued service to the public.”

Lo’ Lo’s was the 30th question in the Order Paper and hence did not get a mention in the House during the daily one-hour Question Time. However, Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) managed to raise it when he interjected during Azmin Ali’s (PKR-Gombak) speech during the debate on Budget 2009.

Dr Mohd Hatta said that if the police themselves felt unsafe in a beat base, then it would be even worse for the public.

“The minister has to resign if he is worried about the safety of police in that area. Maybe it would be better to put the beat base in army barracks,” he said.

Dr Mohd Hatta then managed to raise the issue again during his own debate on Budget 2009 saying that Syed Ali’s response was not rational.

“The police are there to make a place safe. If they themselves are scared and run away, then how can we hope for others to want to be there?

“It is embarassing and that is why the criminals will always be there,” he said.

Dr Mohd Hatta said if the place is dirty, then it is up to the police to organise gotong-royong activities to clean it up or if they did not want to then they should move to Putrajaya or Parliament.

“And what is this about contagious diseases on Jalan Haji Taib? The only kind of contagious diseases that are present there are sexually-transmitted ones.

“Is the minister scared that his charges will contract such diseases? That kind of thing is a matter of choice. In any case, if this is what he is worried about then we are worried that the police are not above this.”

Dr Mohd Hatta added that the police had to be brave people and that they were a different breed altogether when facing demonstrators. He said he hoped that the minister would clarify his written answer in the House as this is not the kind of police that the people want.

Bass drum independence

Tom-tom beats

Folk rock play-along

Funk drum play-along

How to tune a snare drum

Up-tempo Jazz Swing Drum

Rock Drum Play-Alongs at

Massa takes Hamilton out

Ferrari & Massa say it was accidental, and I believe them, but look at the reaction of the Ferrari mechanics!

Risk Assessment & Horizon Scanning (RAHS)

I thought this was some high-tech independent omnipotent computer system that detects threats before they happen. Think Minority Report.

Turns out our system is a bit more boring lah. Essentially, what it does is it allows data researchers and analysts to do their work better & more effectively by trawling Internet media sources for information. Here, factors like bias, credibility & motive are considered to confirm or refute a working hypothesis related to an issue - for example, why Iran is seeking nuclear power.

The analysts can explore different motivations to see if they affect the link between certain factors. For example, they could explore if Iran's leadership is a factor in the desire for nuclear power, or whether the lack of oil or hatred toward Israel is a more conclusive factor. The greater the effect a change in a factor causes, the greater the correlation. Hence a cause-and-effect relationship is established. Iran's oil supply and its government's statements toward Israel can then be monitored more closely to predict of Iran is developing more nuclear capabilities.

You can find a video demonstrating its capabilities here.

Belarus 1-3 England

Seven-stroke roll by

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fined $200 for sleeping

This takes the cake, it really does. Make us a laughing stock too. The worst kind of law is the one filled with loopholes and inconsistencies, and so it proves.

A man was fined $200 for snoozing at Sun Plaza Park. It was raining at the time and I guess he was just waiting it out. As you know, there really is no better time to sleep when it is raining. And so he did, on a sheltered bench. Two NParks officials came along, told him to get up, and here's where the story gets complicated.

The officials claim he didn't obey; the man claims he did. Regardless of that, they both agree that it was the man's first 'offence', if you can call it that.

Some of this may sound reminiscent of Mr Murali's excellent editorial, but I guess great minds think alike.

If it's his first offence (undisputed fact), why the heavy-handedness. Wouldn't a verbal warning or (harshly) warning letter suffice?

Besides, at no place in the park was there a sign prohibiting a snooze. In their great esteem, NParks couldn't find it either, and helpfully informed us that it wasn't on their website, but that the public could read about the offence in the Parks Act or something like that.

Hmmm, let's picture this:
Child: Hey Dad, let's go to the park!
Dad: I know, wait. Let me read the latest edition of the Park Act first, in case flying a kite that looks like a hammer is illegal. Might look like Workers' Party.
Child: Oh I see. Where do you find that Act? Maybe the NParks website?
Dad: Nope, not there.
Child: Ministry of Environment?
Dad: Nope.
Child: Google Parks Act?
And so on.

Next time you go to the funfair, better check the Funfair Act first. Sekali you drink water while on the ferris wheel and get fined for drinking at the wheel.

Moreover, motorists are fined relative pittances for putting motorists and pedestrians in danger, like by parking along double yellow lines, speeding etc. The message? Sleeping on a bench is a greater sin than hogging a busy road. Tsk. Just imagine the number of people he inconvenienced while sleeping - all those people walking in the park while it was raining - all two of them. Oh wait, those were the officials.

The biggest loser in the whole sordid affair must be NParks and its lawmaking. Forget Henderson Waves and all its good work. One PR disaster and all the public sees is a ponderous, heavy-handed government body bound with red tape that bullies tired people.

All this proves that laws are useless unless you have civil servants with the initiative and common sense to implement them.

Another conundrum: The law against homosexuals is loosely applied but this is not. What is a matter of greater importance then? People sleeping on the wrong bench or people sleeping with the wrong sex?

Signs that you are in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie by Peter W. Suderman

1. Your girlfriend is a waitress, but could be a model.

2. A bus explodes.

3. A psychopathic millionaire devises an elaborate plan to murder you or someone you know ...

4. ... and you feel compelled to stop it.

5. You are Nicholas Cage.

6. Despite a total lack of training, you are able to shoot and fight with the accuracy and ability of a special-forces soldier.

7. You are a cop or scientist, but could be a model.

8. A building explodes.

9. After capturing you, a terrorist with a foreign accent reveals the details of his plot in a long-winded speech.

10. The light always hits your face in just the right way.

11. You are in a shootout on the streets of a major city ...

12. ... and it involves helicopters and rocket launchers.

13. Everyone around you is a model.

14. Teams of well-trained henchmen are shooting at you, but they all miss.

15. You are engaged in a knockdown-dragout brawl with the leader of a major crime organization ...

16. ... in slow motion.

17. Everything that has not yet exploded explodes.

18. You save the world.

19. Your name is Jack.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Tilt-shift lens

Tilt-shift lenses allow the user to select a very narrow band of focus. Our brain then interprets the subject then as miniature, giving a Lilliputian look to the shot.

Formula One Grand Prix Singapore 2008

Chee Weng managed to get two walkabout tickets for free practice on Friday and asked me along. It really was a brisk walk around the circuit grounds, with not much to see but a lot to hear. Needed ear plugs on a stiflingly humid night, so it's not really worth whatever they're paying for walkabout tickets. You see the cars but they all look the same after a while.

They ketuk you with the food - dough sticks for $2 & fried rice for $8 anyone?

Check out the rest of the pictures at

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Serangoon Gardens apartheid

Yes, this may sound like Sepp Blatter calling Ronaldo a slave, and I may be accused of now reading up sufficiently on pre-Mandela South African history, but I dare say the whole "I don't want foreign workers in my backyard" tug-of-war between Serangoon Gardens, the Government and now Tai Hwan smacks of petty apartheid.

Granted, we are not talking about citizens here, but foreigners. But the Serangoon people are talking about them as if they are a bunch of molesters & murderers who only know how to get drunk & vandalise. That is about as broad a stereotype as you can get. Unwittingly, they are perpetuating the Singaporean stereotype of selfishness & self-interest.

Singapore is so small that eventually, they're gonna have to live in someone's backyard. The big picture is it happens to be Serangoon Gardens/Tai Hwan this time. Might be Hume Park next time, or Lentor Avenue. Put yourself in their shoes - if you were in a foreign land earning whatever you can so your family, who you won't see for years, can scrape by, wouldn't you want their sympathy too? Yes, you would. Now go and do likewise.

They had the cheek to complain they were not consulted. Hello? Does the land belong to you? No. Do you really expect the Government to accede when you say you want them somewhere else? Again, big picture. If everyone says no, where do we put them? Lim Chu Kang?

I know "dormitory" is an anagram for "dirty room", but it can't be that bad. Wake up, stop dreaming and have a little heart.

Crocked again

Will parents ever learn that rubber Crocs, counterfeit or otherwise, are deathtraps waiting to happen? How many trapped little feet, ripped big toes & traumatised toddlers do we need before they realise escalators & rubber sandals are a atch made in hell?

For goodness sake - if you love your kid, dump that sadistic footwear.

Eagle Eye

Plot: A young slacker and a single mom get tangled up in a terrorist cell plotting a political assassination.
My take: No kidding - this had me riveted. The idea wasn't original, I could see the ending coming, but I was still amazed at the prospect of such an sentient, omnipotent supercomputer and its ramifications. I loved the way they kept using closed-circuit camera shots to show us what Eagle Eye was seeing.
Now I shall call my friend and ask him to jump through a window - now. =]

Fan Chan (My Girl)

Plot: Jeab hears that his childhood sweetheart Noi-Naa is to be married, so he makes the trip back home to his provincial village. As he does so, the memories come flooding back to his childhood in 1980s Thailand. He remembers always being late to school, so his father would have to give him a ride on the back of the motorcycle. After school, he would always play with Noi-Naa and her girlfriends while the neighborhood boys rode their bicycles and played football and Chinese fantasy characters.
My take: This is so sweeeeeeeeeeeeet. =]

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Joke (unoriginal)

What do Tottenham Hotspur and a toothpick have in common?

They both have two points.

Joke (original)

What's the difference between a bad boxer and a zhichar stall helper?

One lacks the punch while the other packs the lunch.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pseudo-German - Blinkenlichten










Thursday, October 02, 2008

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt is a traditional children's song of obscure origin. Its lyrics are:

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too.
Whenever we go out
The people always shout,
"There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt."
da, da, da, da, da, da, da
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too... (repeat ad infinitum)
The song is commonly sung by young children at communal outings such as long bus rides and Boy Scout or Girl Scout outings. It's also a classic informal parade song in Pennsylvania.[citation needed]

The mock German name celebrated in the song suggests that some English speakers still find longer northern-European names to be inherently funny words; compare the Blinkenlights faxlore in which English words are deformed to form a pseudo-German warning text. The surname Schmidt and the surname suffix -heimer are of Germanic origin. Schmidt is one of the most common last names in German heritage.

Part of the appeal of the song seems to be its infinite loop, presenting the opportunity to turn a potentially intolerably long wait into an informal psychological experiment with the idea of infinitude and the infinite-loop motif. Compare "The Song That Never Ends", "My Name is Jan Jansen" and "High Hopes".

Each repetition is sung more quietly than the previous, except for the final line which is sung at full volume. The "last" repetition is sung in pantomime; typically the final line is then shouted as loud as possible.

World's worst roundabouts

Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England

Turbo Roundabout in Holland

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

Plot: Based on a popular video game, director Simon West's adventure places English aristocrat Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) in the middle of a battle with a secret society. Skilled in hand-to-hand combat, the shapely archaeologist moonlights as a tomb raider to recover lost antiquities. She meets her match in the evil Powell (Iain Glen), who's in search of a relic that holds power over time … and life. Jon Voight appears as Lara's dearly departed dad.
My take: OK lah.

Spy Kids

Plot: Carmen and Juni Cortez will soon find out that their favorite bedtime story, "The Spies Who Fell in Love," is really the story of their parents. So begins this affable fantasy, a James Bond adventure for wee ones with all the trimmings. When Dad and Mom (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) mess up their first mission after coming out of retirement, their kids must come to the rescue, equipped with some cool gadgets. The Cortez family gets involved in a bizarre plot hatched by a Pee-wee Herman-type entertainer named Fegan Floop (a wonderfully hammy Alan Cumming) that's as giddy as it is ridiculous. Needless to say there is plenty of derring-do concerning long-lost uncles, goofy monsters, double agents, evil robots, look-alikes, and energized chases. Did we mention the gadgets? Although Banderas and Gugino make terrific impressions, the movie is carried (as it should be) by the younger Cortezes, winningly played by Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara. Who would have thought an action/horror studio (Dimension) and writer-director Robert Rodriguez had this pleasing family film up their sleeves? Rodriquez (who produced with his wife Elizabeth Avellán) seemed to be mired in cheesy horror films but here breaks out by capitalizing on the talent that gave him instant status with his debut, El Mariachi (1992). Spy Kids has plenty of verve but never swerves into potty humor (OK, there is one good potty joke) or wicked gunplay. All 7-year-olds should have a film as fun as this in their movie-going lives. --Doug Thomas
My take: Rather fascinating, in that theme ride way.