Saturday, March 31, 2012

Making a career of evil

A cynical person (such as I am not) might wonder whether school vocational counselors and career officers and such as ever do much good, or have successfully matched anyone's skill portfolio to an appropriate occupational niche, apart from themselves of course. Also they are slackards. If I had limited myself to vocational counselors as a source of guidance then I would never have found out about "Professional Guinea-pig" as a possible career. Then I would never have met the Frau Doktorin, which would be sad.
Fortunately other sources of information called my attention to the role of model of Mike Lane, Inventions Tester, here shown in the background. A whole career pathway, of testing experimental pharmaceuticals, was available! Note that Professor Dee in the foreground does not closely resemble the Frau Doktorin.

Romantic story is romantic.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Speak to me in many voices Make them all sound like one; Let me see your sacred mysteries Reveal to me the Unknown Tongue

Well buggrit. We thought we had identified a gap in the market, i.e. a dearth of Creationist Scientists claiming that the O.T. account of language divergence is as valid as the Evolutionary Linguistics version and should be taught alongside it at univesity. Not even Conservapedia goes there. So we were halfway through rebranding Riddled as Intelligible De-Sign, hoping to extract a lucrative donation from the Discovery Institute, only to discover the Institute of Creation Linguistics.* Buggrit I say again, this time with feeling.

Left: Tower of Babel. Do not confuse with

Right: Bower of Table
Also easily confused with
Below: Tower of Cable
What set us to thinking about Historical / Comparative Linguistics was the discovery that the Library pixies, not clear on the concept of a 'language tree', had filed various dictionaries and grammars among the branches of the olives in the Old Entomologist garden bar.

This was all very well until last week's gusty conditions brought the second volume of Wackernagel's Altindische Grammatik down on Another Kiwi's head causing him to forget the words of 'Mademoiselle from Armentières'.

Wheeler / Misner / Thorne's "Gravitation" -- 1279
pages, 2.3 kg. A copy fell from a tree on Steve
Jobs' head and inspired him to invent the Apple
The Whackyweedia informs me that in mainstream comparative linguistics, the grouping of languages into a family or tree is not established until their common ancestral Proto-language has been reconstructed... a laborious process that creates work for entire generations of linguists.

Greenberg's far simpler Method of Multilateral Comparison is not well-thought-of among the linguists whom it threatens with widespread redundancies. "Greenberg may be right about the language families of Africa," they say, "but his methods are unsound".

Greenberg and his chief critic Lyle Campbell square off in debate:

Evidently Blue Öyster Cult favour the traditional approach.

* Sample 1:
I mean, really: how could accident, randomness, and the *Germans* come up with a word like "schadenfreude"?? It clearly is the product of divine intention...
Sample 2:
How does evolutionary linguistics explain the irreducible complexity of the expression "irreducible complexity"... ??

Oh that cheeking tongue Oh that cheating lunge

It is another typical day of hard graft in the Riddled Research Laboratory. As soon as we find the appropriate adhesive to glue the tongues to the wheel, the Lick Machine will be finished. I am not entirely convinced that there will be a market for it but tigris assures us that it will revolutionise the world of cat hygiene. She is supervising while Greenish Hugh and his brother-in-law who has the HT license reveal to her the unknown tongues.
I have no idea what has happened to my right buttock. It is just another of the unforeseen side-effects of blogging.

When we 'volunteered' to help the Doktorling make a large model of Penfield's motor homunculus for her school science fair, we had little idea how much work would be involved.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's always raining over the border \ There's been a plane crash out there

Gerry Brownlee, well-known New Zealand politician and overstuffed-walrus impersonator, has impugned Finland.

This will not end well. Any fule kno that Finland is the home of shamanism and sorcery. Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings in her girlhood learned seiðr from warlocks there, and used her weather-witchery against Egil Skallagrimsson. I for one will not be boarding any ship in the near future that is also carrying Mr Brownlee despite his potential as a flotation device.

New Zealand and Finland have long-standing cultural links, consisting of us stealing the Intermezzo of the Karelia Suite to brand NZ itself in 1970, TVNZ from 1975, and Bremworth shagpile carpets in the 1980s. There is no record of Finland stealing Lilburn music for their own nationalistic advertising. The countries are of similar size and population, although NZ lacks the geographical advantage of being the testicles of Scandinavia. Like NZ, Finland is bilingual, to support the cultural identity of an economically-disadvantaged minority.

Politicians have taken to pointing to Finland as an example of how a small resource-poor country can prosper through innovation and high-value exports. This is what inspired Gerry to deliver his angry diatribe to parliament, denouncing Finland as the poverty-stricken third-world hell-hole of under-nourished, ignorant, murderous misogynists that is not the US.

Surprised that his comments were quoted outside of the House, and aggrieved because Santorum gets away with it all the time, Gerry has since explained that his comments were not intended to be factual. They were in fact hum'rous and satirical. We can only assume that like Monty Python's Bloody Bigots Club, he was satirising a particular mindset of moronic nationalism. Personally if I wanted to traduce Finland I would have made fun of their language -- I ask you, 15 cases! -- but then I am not considering an alternative career in stand-up comedy.

A Finnish blogger responds:
But since I don’t want to be too hard on Mr. Brownlee, and I want to charitably accept his later comment that his words were satirical, yet with a grain of truth in them… well, don’t worry, Mr. Brownlee. I don’t bear a grudge.

Just you New Zealanders stop raping sheep, children and your Maori slaves, which is a satirical comment with a shadow of fact in it so no hard feelings, and we’re okay.

Forging ahead

These people are not clear on the raw materials for "mind-forged manacles".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A three-speed bicycle: Adagio, Moderato and Allegro

Catastrophic though it was, at least the freak accident took place right outside the Old Entomologist. The scientists from Riddled Research Laboratory were well-placed to rush to the scene as soon as they had finished their pints. No-one else would have had the training, or indeed the inclination, to salvage the pathetic fragments of carnage scattered around and reassemble the victim.
It only occurred to us later, as we congratulated one another on a job well-done -- except for Another Kiwi who was grumbling about the packet of Mrs Miggins' taro crisps that he had left half-eaten on the counter and which greedy bastard flogged it? -- that perhaps there might have been more than one victim.

Then one discovers through the Great Gazoogle that exactly the same thing has happened before. Perhaps it is an old tradition, or a charter or something.

In related news, Modern Science brings us graphic proof of the Molecule Theory of bicycle-human atomic interpenetration. Below is a photograph at the cellular level showing bicycle atoms migrating in amidst human atoms, impelled by the agitation of cycling across the potholed roads of the parish.

A corollary of the Molecule Theory: every time Megan McArdle buys a bicycle, the atomic interchange will progress far enough for the vehicle to acquire some of her personality, whereupon it will Go Galt.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Before and after science

Before [right eye]

After [left eye]

When the Tleilaxu eyes go out of whack like this and get stuck on different chronometric settings, there is binocular rivalry and double vision rather than binocular fusion.
Some afternoons it is just not worth getting out of bed.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

And the train conductor says "Take a break driver 8"

"... a speeding locomotive abandoned for years to the delirium of a virgin forest"

-- for values of "speeding" that include 6 mph uphill and 10 mph downhill.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Giant-brained Oyster Boys are swimming for me now

Who would win?
Genetically-engineered intelligent sea-otters outnumbered by hostile aliens on a largely-aquatic planet...

Later editions of Startide Rising switch to sodding Serif Gothic on the cover art. Evidently someone in the marketing department decided that dolphins are sufficiently lupine to be covered by the Wolf Effect.

Watch out for Doctor Dream

The newest upgrade to the Riddled Dream Machine is proving popular with the punters.* See how long the queue has grown! It is the 'subtitle' feature that draws in the crowds, for Riddled's loyal customers are cultured and educated and they would rather watch the original foreign dream than wait for the inevitable Hollywood remake with Nic Cage or Tom Cruise.
The next customer in line is receiving his complimentary pint of Matariki Mild (we strain the lumps out!). Normally they do not struggle while it is administered. I am not convinced that it is a good idea to use the library pixies' swimming-pool as the Restraint Chair but the architect said it was multipurposed negative space and inwards / outwards flow.
As for the customer with the pet skwirl, she was warned about the "Mrs Spat" problem so she shall not be receiving a replacement.
Evangeline van Holsteren's
idiot boyfriend is BARRED
No-one has adequately explained to me how the Dream Machine actually works. Yes, it sucks in psychic images from the Ectoplasmoferous Æther and concentrates them around the user's head in the manner of a sweat lodge with warmth to open the pores, but when I ask AK for details, it's all just hand-waving. It looks to me as if the imagery is sticking to some sort of adhesive blanket, though that's probably because my mind is still on "Air-Hockey and Mucus-Sheet Feeding in Nemertean Worms Evening" last night at the Old Entomologist.

I am aware that there are those among you who are not happy with this onward march of progress, and would stand athwart history, crying "Stop!" This is not advisable due to the narrowness of history; Greenish Hugh slipped off when he was trying it and was all "Ow! My balls!" Anyway, agitate as you will, the Riddled Research Laboratory will not bring back the original Firkin model of Dream Machine, which condensed the psychic detritus into wine.**

For the sake of older customers, set in their ways, we will continue to support the previous model, with the hot tub and the angel wings and the penguin mask for anonymity.

Left: Monochrome setting

Right: Full-colour dreams are more expensive

* All pictures of the Riddled Dream Machine were produced using the Riddled Dream Machine. The management offer no warranty.

** I'm not sure what tigris wanted the wine cask for.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A joke's a joke, but what does that make me?

I'm a bit tired of people using historical photos as fodder in their so called "comedy". Here was a day when Smut and I, noticing a bird on the roof of Riddled HQ, wanted to see if it was a banded Coot . This would be a valuable observation and of interest to twitchers everywhere.
Thus we borrowed the House 'o Fun Krazy ladder and I sallied fourth, fifth and sixth up to see what it was. Now, notice what the "comedians" have done. The banded coot is saying "cuckoo' and I am saying "It's a penguin!" They seem to think that Smut is trying to pronounce house! Is this the edgy humour that we hear about on our lawns?
Also Riddled HQ is taller than that.

Ripped from the pages of Histry, and that.

In the past many (well one) reader has asked about the Riddled Bookstore. Whilst memories of it still bring me awake, screaming I will attempt to outline this glorious chapter in the fecking book of some bollocks thing.
It began, as these things usually do, with a supernatural tree appearing in the Riddled Outdoor Dining and Kabuki Area, with a mysterious message entwined in it's branches.
"Start a bookshop!" it said "Don't make me manifest myself again!" Smut tried to enquire of the tree if it was a Ghastly visitor from the eldritch dimensions and it threw branches at him so we thought we should do what it said.


The Riddled staff were helpful. Smut and Greenish Hugh gathered up all of my bound copies of Miss Busty 1978-1998 and put them on sale. I shall never see their like again, I fear.
Staffing was a problem as we did not want to overload the already busy Riddled staff. We interviewed a chimpanzee and an Apricot Macaque, but the combination of apes and books just did not feel right. It may be a sight best Unseen, he said knowingly.
Also the fit-out of the bookshop did not go well. We purchased the floor from an online kitchen design emporium and, well, it did not download quite as we expected. Several of the staff complained of nausea just walking on it but this may have been due to the opening of the 2011 Naujolais, a wine described by Smut as "unsettling".

Of course the packing room was where the real action was as everyone got work for their relatives. My cunning plan of training dogs to run the place hit a few operational snags. Surgical operations in two cases.
But see Evangeline van Holsterin's idiot boyfriend and his cretin friends trying to pack rectangles into barrels. Square pegs, those guys!

Unsurprisingly, the library pixies were not very helpful. Here they are playing "Elephant, Elephant Whose Got Your Trunk" or some other game involving being naked and blindfolded. Or maybe it's a normal tea break for them. Note the lawyer in close attendance.

 But it's a funny old game, the book game and we are expecting great things from the Riddled Staff book of photo essays entitled "How Does This Fecking Camera Work?", Hooder and Stovedin 2012, 668 pages, many with words on them.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I counted two and seventy stenches, All well defined, and several stinks!

Good news for parfumiers. Bad luck for honest law-abiding bloggers whose pop-culture jokes are stolen before they even make them.

Service at the Old Entomologist

Much faster after we noticed the architect's blunder and turned the bar through 90°.

SMUTDATED with bonus playing-field irregularity inspired by AK's comment.

Background: The New Zealand Rugby Union is accused of favouritism toward the Otago Rugby team -- disadvantaging other teams -- after the Otago team managed to lose a few $million in the middle of the World Cup rugby boom and went tits-up into receivership.

At Riddled we do not rate for the literal use of figures of speech, for throwing-under-bus-related activities are traumatic for the drivers and lead to delays on the #1 route when some of us might be trying to get home from the pub.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tabling the Evidence

The experts are divided at the Thundrablog:

If there is a Sidney Sime illustration then there is probably a Lord Dunsany story. QED.