Anyone who doesn’t think Hollywood is developing an edgy live-action My Little Pony movie has not been paying attention.
H. G. Wells’s epitaph was “I told you so, you damned fools!”. His Outline of History persuaded Costa Rica to abolish its military.
Workers building the Homer Tunnel in the 1950s were fed kea soup by their Bulgarian cook, a local codger tells the Little River Informer.
A Mormon at the door. I thought they only came in pairs, so was waiting for another to appear in my peripheral vision like a velociraptor.
In my experience, two hundred 13-year-old boys would make short work of a zombie apocalypse provided they had enough cricket bats.
When someone says “90 per cent of the time”, it’s a guess, not a statistic (90 per cent of the time).
If someone called Perrin Rowland were to meet someone called Rowland Perrin (both exist), would they stick together or explode?
To artificially inseminate queens, apiarists often need to extract semen from bees. It’s as easy as “Hey, bee: semen!” Thank you, you’re wonderful, I’m here all week.
The shampoo is designed to stand upright, and the conditioner on its head, but this obviously isn’t enough and I need a mnemonic. “Our upright stance is a SHAM; topsy-turvy is the human CONDITION.” #haircaremnemonic
The Hobbit credits are so long they have a three-act story arc. There’s a “making-of the credits” featurette in the DVD release. In fact the Hobbit credits have their own credits. Be sure to stay to the end of the credits credits for a surprise! [SPOILER: You get to go home.]
As a kid I thought the aristocracy were battle rankings: a Duke beats an Earl, unless the Earl’s on his home ground or has special powers. If a Viscount beats enough Knights he levels up, and evolves into a Count. Like Pokémon.
Tangerines, tangelos, mandarins, tambourines, clementines, satsumas. One of these isn’t even fruit. What a mess.
NZ Home magazine seems convinced all new houses should be grey shoeboxes with sliding glass walls. Like Baby’s First SketchUp.
Can a novelist still write about jigsaws, or are jigsaws now symbolic, incurring an automatic Metaphor Penalty?
There are 10 types of people in the world: those who have heard that binary joke 1 to 9 times and… scratch that, 9 types of people.
Poor Taylor Kitsch: going from lead in John Carter to lead in Battleship is like getting an awful haircut which then catches on fire.
Labelling something a First World Problem, then feeling guilty and taking it back. #firstworldproblems
A “soul patch” is just a toothbrush moustache grown on the other lip. Nobody would have one if they were called “underhitlers”.
NZ syndrome (n): “Gold! Woo! We rule! Give ’em a taste of Kiwi! And now adjust all the rankings for population because we’re so little.”
I think of the Olympics as a video game: events are levels, the medals achievements, there’s no boss fight, and somebody else is playing.
“Synergy” is when a combination of items is much greater or more terrible than the sum of its parts, as in the phrase “classic Dutch rock”.
If The Bourne Legacy had breathed new life into the franchise the two-word review would be Bourne Vita.
“Have-you-read?” lists let you count books read when your brain was pink and ill-formed; ones you’ve forgotten; ones you never understood.
Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth ends with Lily Bart spending her last $20 on a derringer and gunning down everyone who did her wrong. That’s from Funhouse, the Quentin Tarantino script Tony Scott was supposed to film. It concludes with a shootout on the deck of the Titanic.
I’m trying the Paleocene Diet: it’s based on ancestral adaptive nutritional needs. Every meal is fruit or insects and I only eat at night.
Plain burlesque is getting tired. I predict hot new trends: burlesque on stilts, canine burlesque, and, inevitably, canine stilt burlesque.
Snobby Evelyn Waugh would pretend to think Julian Huxley (then head of UNESCO) was still at London Zoo and ask, “How are the giraffes?” Arthur Evelyn St John Waugh was his full name. Cannot understand why he went by Evelyn Waugh. He could have been St Waugh.
Coffee smells great and tastes nasty; it’s the anti-durian. In fact if you mix coffee and durian they are annihilated in a huge explosion.
“You can’t go past Meryl Streep”, opines the person behind me. But she’s a master of disguise! You probably have, unbeknownst!
Oscar Wilde really needs to work on his aphorisms. Some of them are longer than 140 characters.
My old high school is merging with its hated arch-rival. The resulting bloodshed should solve any overcrowding problems.
Chatham Island time is 45 minutes ahead of mainland New Zealand. There’s just one other time zone with a 45-minute offset: Nepal.
The ancient Greeks imported their papyrus from Byblos; hence bibliography, bibliotheque, and Bible. Now that’s successful branding.
The great tonsure debate was resolved, in favour of the Anglo-Saxons, by the Synod of Whitby in 664. Anglo-saxon monks shaved the crowns of their heads, whereas Irish monks shaved all the front half. Like the world’s most extreme mullet.
Nostradamus successfully predicted the date and place of his own death! Less impressively, it was: “Tomorrow, right here in my sickbed.”
Wilfrid Blunt, in the preface to his history of italic handwriting, includes a shoutout to his homies Sir Sydney Cockerell and the Marquess of Cholmondeley. (While Blunt was writing Sweet Roman Hand, his younger brother Anthony was busy upstaging him by spying for the Russians.)
Jack Black and Jack White should get their own musical sitcom variety hour. Called (naturally) the Black and White Minstrel Show.
A seven-year-old once explained to me that baby teeth are your drafts, but adult teeth are published.
Robbie the Robot did not say “Danger, danger, Will Smith!” (Oops.) But if he did, wouldn’t that have improved Lost in Space? And I, Robot?
Not many people know that if you peer through the transparent window on a New Zealand $20 bill, you can see a person’s iwi affiliation.
Is there a Māori word for the pained-yet-serious facial expression Pākehā get when listening to a long mihi they don’t understand? A Te Reo speaker suggested “pukehakana”: a combination of puke, pakeha and pukana.
Dalmatian (n): dog or person. Dalmation (n): the act of putting spots on everything (or, vulgarly, spotifying).
I can hardly wait for all the superhero movies to be rebooted yet again as steampunk.
Realised at the breakfast table that I assumed the Queen reads The Times, because Great Uncle Bulgaria did in The Wombles.
“We now have only seven sheep for each one of us.” WELL WHERE ARE MINE, @nzherald? I WANT MY SHEEP!
Advice to new Aucklanders: If you need to cross Dominion Road in rush hour, improve efficiency by doing it near the funeral home.
Apparently all the muppets can be divided into Chaos Muppets and Order Muppets e.g.: Ernie/Bert. Everybody is stumped by Big Bird though. I put it that Big Bird has transcended the artificial dichotomy of chaos/order and achieved enlightenment. He is a Zen Muppet. Big Bird’s constant questions are actually koans. He’s trying to enlighten the other muppets.
I’m glad Katie Holmes “feels comfortable in her own skin”. The alternative is too horrific to contemplate.
The wolf spider _Lycosa tarantula_ is named after Taranto, Italy, and so, indirectly, are both the tarantella and those giant New World spiders. As a kid, this always bothered me: “There are no tarantulas in Europe!” Finally, it’s sorted. Yes, I was an odd child.
Rhythmic construction drill outside sounds just like the dramatic BRWAANG BRWAANG chords in Inception. How do I wake up?
Knitting jargon: SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) means owning more yarn than you could knit in your life. Unless my book-buying habits change radically, I may have reached BABLE.
If the Anglicans had only figured out a way to play rugby in the Cathedral it would have been rebuilt by now.
I am now an Aucklander. Yet I still distinctly remember the rest of New Zealand. Must take a while to kick in.
I would be much more likely to watch Game Of Thrones if they reshot it with a cast of guinea pigs.
Hope you’ve all taken your anti-nausea pills, because Prezi is in da house!
The nose on that kid’s SpongeBob backpack is so three-dimensional it would have scandalised the Victorians.
The further into the gallery show we go, the less crowded it gets. As if the visitors were being quietly eaten by the art.
If called up on stage by a mime and invited to have a lightsaber duel with retractable tape measures I think I would acquit myself well.
Pointy shoes; stripy trousers; flowery shirt, cuff links, untucked; sunnies on spiky gelled head. Kiwi manhood on parade.
What shocked Flaubert about De Sade was that, in all of _Justine_, “there isn’t a single tree, or a single animal.”
Did you ever wish writing were more like programming a computer? If so, LaTeX could be the word processor for you!
In an almost empty theatre, the oldies are all going to their allocated seats in the back rows. Perhaps the projector’s in focus from back there.
P.T. Barnum had signs in his museum saying “This Way to the Egress!” Those looking for it ended up outside, and had to pay admission again.
Ironic trucker caps are beating woolly beanies in the the First-Year Headgear Playoff at UC today.
I’m not sure why Roman Catholics have outcompeted Italic Catholics; they’re neither emphatic nor bold.
A tuatara doesn’t realise it’s supposedly got a third eye. It just wonders why people keep staring at the top of its head.
First they came for Dr Seuss, but I was not a huge fan, so said nothing. Then they came for the Smurfs, but the theme tune was annoying so I did not speak up. When they come for the Wombles, will anybody still care?
While I wouldn’t wish a terrible sex scandal on anyone, Jamie Oliver would be much improved by a few years in the wilderness.
Thomas Jefferson was fluent in 6 languages; Martin Van Buren was the only president with English as a second language. Madison was the only president fluent in Hebrew, Hoover the only one who could speak Mandarin.
Newly-freed slaves wore a conical hat, or pileus, as, apparently, do graduating PhDs at the University of Sussex. Must be a tough programme.
No matter how tempting, throwing “just one” chip to the gulls is always, always a mistake.
“The policeman’s job should be hard. He’s there to protect the free citizen, not to chase criminals, that’s an incidental part of his job. The free citizen is always more of a nuisance to the policeman that the criminal. He knows what to do about the criminal.” —Orson Welles
If Cameron Crowe ever directed a concert film starring Sheryl Crow, Counting Crows, and the Black Crowes, it would be murder.
A lesser man would doubt his self-image when his entire extended family decided he would make a perfect Santa.
“Tweet about doorknobs,” said the amateur Social Media Douchebag overheard in cafe. “Also, have an angry profile picture.”
This soap dispenser sprays pink snot onto my palm with a sneezing noise. I bet the designer thinks it’s just SO witty.
Lonely Planet: “Christchurch is one of NZ’s most exciting cities.” Presume the word “five” was left out for space reasons.
If guilty feet really have got no rhythm, mass prison “Thriller” dances would identify the wrongly-convicted.
In Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling woos with beard and ukulele, divorces with hipster moustache and melodica. SYMBOLISM. This edgy Gosling film thus heralds the coming melodica craze; will be seen as a pivotal moment by future melodica historians.
Airports, airports / I love airports / They’re my favourite place in the world [100% original lyric never before uttered by human tongue]
From its Wikipedia summary, the plot of Happy Feet 2 is nearly as complex as Hamlet, and longer than both Othello and Macbeth.
Not wanting to rain on the Chch love parade, but one of our remaining tourist attractions is an old fridge full of used books.
“What’s the holdup?” Botanist: “Please, sir, I have to write all my descriptions in Latin!” (Looks enviously at the entomologist, who is nearly done.)
Journal publishers are just the caricatured pig-in-a-top-hat-and-spats hate figures of the academy, aren’t they? “Nobody understands how HARD it is to sell people’s research back to them!” you can almost hear them wail, from inside their money bins.
Ah, that little frisson of horror and shame when you accidentally type your password in the wrong field and can READ IT.
Our HR software lets me request annual leave or sick leave in the years 1900 through 2100. Handy for the working time traveller.
To get their license, every used-book store in NZ must stock at least one (1) copy of Muldoon’s Rise & Fall of a Young Turk.
Thai restaurant playing salsa remix of Coldplay’s Clocks. Numerous people in this process could have come to their senses. Quite like Franz Ferdinand cumbia cover in Español though.
As kids in St Louis, William Burroughs’s mum and T S Eliot used to walk to dance classes past Prufrock’s Furniture Store.
“Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising.” —Cyril Connolly
“Of course, you realise, Connolly, that whoever wins the war, we shall emerge a second-rate nation.” —Orwell (Eric Blair), aged 11
Halloween costume I’d like to see: 6 five-year-olds dressed as jawas, one with a taser. Trick or treat!
Historic Moments in Knitting 1: Lord Raglan orders the Earl of Cardigan’s Light Brigade charge in the Battle of Balaclava.
Voting is essentially ineffectual thus irrational, so why not vote for irrational reasons? Me, I like the orange felt pens.
I always wanted to read a time-travel story starring a elderly couple named Rex and Gloria Mundy.
Thomas Friedman is a case study of how far you can go with a moustache and unshakeable self-confidence.
The disco scenes in Scarface are so badly choreographed, they almost look real.
Reading Schaller’s field observations of pandas: each day they eat for 14 hours, and poo 20 kg of semi-digested bamboo. That’s a the weight of a six-year-old. Helpful if you’re an artist who wants to sculpt an entire primary-school class in panda poo.
Best pregnancy-t-shirt ever: “We’re hoping for a pony.”
The time management book _Eat That Frog_ was shelved in the Cookery section.
I am now completely sick of “Keep Calm and Carry On” and its even naffer offspring. “Kia Kaha Forever Strong”. We need real #eqnz posters. Like “Keep Shoes by Your Bed”. “Keep Cash as ATMs Fail.”
The Kaikoura public toilets proudly display photos of people tagging them. Because there are cameras pointing into every urinal and stall. I wrote “Refill the soap dispenser please” in my notebook and held it up to the camera.
Anyone cheering for the end of the “ukulele craze” is merely hastening the impending “melodica revival”. Hipster moustaches and melodica orchestras: another nightmarish vision of the future from your humble sibyl.
Why are there so many musicals about Hitler when Mussolini is easier to rhyme? Plus, y’know, the opera thing. Ideal title: “Duke”. This needs to happen. Mussolini / meany / beanie / genie. The songs write themselves. It ends with “O My Esso”, a tear-jerker sung by the gently-swinging hero, before “Ultimo Atto” brings the house down. (Guess who gave the eulogy at Pucchini’s funeral, by the way? Yep.)
Great to see $2.5 million of #eqnz relief money letting the Court Theatre grapple with our shared earthquake trauma by staging a Roger Hall play about folk dancing.
Sometimes it seems the main thing wrong with the world is there’s no band named after Dog Vomit Slime Mould. Its Linnaean name, Mucor septicus, would be a good album title.
Unfortunately, platypus custard isn’t kosher: “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19).
If birds only had opposable thumbs like us, they’d be able to make tools and build complex structures! Oh wait.
Today’s punctuation: the obelus (†), used in my field to indicate which birds in a list are extinct.
Someone outside having a big sweary yell at the world in general. Good to see that vibrant urban culture returning to the central city.
Contrary to popular belief, George Washington did not have a set of wooden teeth. They were hippopotamus ivory.
I learnt _Jabberwocky_ by heart as a child, but didn’t realise that Carroll invented the words chortle and burble.
CERA: Your building’s demolished. Wait, no it’s not. HIM: Yes it is. CERA: No it’s not. HIM: I have photos. CERA: [puts on hold for 2 hours]
The Macarena is playing beside the bouncy dome at Miranda Hot Pools. “Number 83: two cheeseburgers”, bleats the PA.
A rare white kiwi is hatched, and every children’s-book author in New Zealand enters a grim race only one can win.
I would so join a historical-reenactment tramping club in which everyone wore tweed three-piece suits. The Tweedy Tramping Club would require gentlemen to don a tie for photo shoots but a simple kerchief would suffice whilst hiking.
Vincent Price born May 27; Peter Cushing born May 26; Christopher Lee born … May 27! Might just be something to this astrology nonsense.
For an Engineering project on rural water delivery, student designed a bullock cart, randomly referred to throughout the report as a bollock cart. Through a terrible error of scale, the plans would only work for a bullock less than four feet long. #stonehenge
Helped a Geography student understand the difference between South America and South Africa, and cleared up which one the Amazon was in.
I am not paid enough to argue with ECON105 students who have just discovered economic theory and claim reality is in error.
Watering pot plants with the water from the dehumidifier, humming “The Circle of Life” to myself.
I think planking is lovely; so nice to have our own truly gormless fad to look back on (qv. CB radio, pet rocks, spelling). Plankers have plenty of time to work out what to say to their future grandkids’ mocking inquiries. I predict 20% “Yeah, that was a bit dumb” to 80% “Oh, no, I never did no planking, not me.” #buttheinternetneverforgets
Just reminding you Werner Herzog got shot during a a TV interview and insisted in continuing. Also, he rescued Joaquin Phoenix from a car crash.
“Vautours charognards” [hooded vultures] is my Menacing Foreign Phrase for the week.
Daytime soaps are just superhero comics in mufti. Fans of one have no grounds for mocking fans of the other.
John Perry Barlow thought the Net was the Wild West because he lived in Wyoming. What bias do we island-dwellers have?
I’m not an architect, but I don’t know what I don’t like.
Love love love the wind turbine sentinels of the Manawatu Gorge. Protecting Woodville from the hordes of Mordor.
Ground zero for the Psocoptera (Psocidae) infestation in my pantry: dried porcini. Going in the freezer from now on. Psocopterans pseriously psuck.
Walking home in the dark through Hagley Park the trees shook, the Avon sloshed, and the shelducks wheeped and honked in alarm.
Ferns are like sexless Barbie/Ken dolls, shedding doll-dandruff that turns into thousands of tiny detached genitals. The scattered genitals seek out each other, have sex, and sprout tiny sexless Barbies. The ferny life cycle is truly odd.
My moisturiser is supposedly “anti-fatigue”. It says on the label. But I’m puzzled: how exactly is my face getting tired? I can only think it’s some sort of Yiddish invective. “When I look at you, my face gets tired.”
E.O. Wilson had a Nature-cover paper denying kin selection is a factor in eusociality. Suspect Nature only accepted it because of his rep. He’s been quoted as saying, “I think that’d be a pretty poor scientist, who couldn’t reverse his view from new evidence.” Which is true. At my count Wilson was wrong about island biogeography models, biophilia, & consilience. Looking forward to the retractions.
Bought my first issue of NZ food mag Dish. The writing is definitely low-calorie and gluten-free. Nuggets of rich advertising embedded in a frothy matrix of sugary photography, artificially-enhanced opinion, and Wikipedia.
Pre-decimal English currency was so ludicrous it parodied itself: half-crown, guinea, florin, farthing, & tuppence-ha’penny. £2.3s.6½d.
The West Australian coat of arms features kangaroos holding boomerangs, so I presume it was focus-grouped.
I’m looking forward to Sex and the City III, where the Revolution comes and our heroines are sent off to a re-education camp. Many men would pay money to watch them scratch lice from the seams of their overalls with broken DKNY lenses and fight over stale bread.
Blood is only thicker than _fresh_ water: marine fishes leach water to the sea, but river fishes are constantly being diluted.
My most entertaining haircut was in Berlin. I contemplated the result solemnly, said “Fantastische”, and all the hairdressers cracked up.
Pitting a kilo of cherries is surprisingly gruesome. Spatters, stains, a bowl of glistening entrails. Cleanup felt like Dexter.
This morning’s baking has been sorted into Eccles Cakes and Unsucceccles Cakes.
An owl’s eye is as big as a human’s, an ostrich’s much bigger. Some bird eyes are so big they nearly touch, behind the scenes.
Your eyeball is about an inch in diameter. This is perhaps the least-useful rule-of-thumb measure I know.
Science isn’t everything, but we know the universe is 13.75 billion years old and 930
yottametres wide no thanks to astrology.
A thesis is Death By Chocolate: eaten slowly in one go, by an unlucky few,
who usually feel a bit ill afterwards.
We were going to call our band The Boston Molasses Disaster, but were
pre-empted by a band actually from Boston.
Swans: avian hydrangeas. Discuss.
In the midst of chaos and destruction, there’s no reason a gentleman can’t keep his
beard neatly trimmed.
World Sweet World magazine suggested wrapping paper is unsustainable and we should all give each other biscotti for Xmas. They gave a sample biscotti recipe. Every ingredient is imported, except for four eggs. And the flour they forgot to include.
The best idea I heard today: arrange the entire score of The Sound of Music for a costumed ukulele ensemble. Bearded uking nuns = sublime. I hope @justinethinks’s Sound of Ukulele Music plan doesn’t include dancing, because crossdressing ukulele nuns DANCING is just silly.
Wouldn’t The Sound of Music be better without all those Nazis? They don’t even get any songs. Alternative staging: keep the Nazis, add chorus of Austrian jews gradually led offstage through show. “So long, farewell…” What the world needs is a mashup of The Sound of Music and its contemporary, West Side Story, pivoting on Maria. With those classic songs “I’ve Just Met a Problem Like Maria”, “Climb Evr’y Mountain Tonight”, and “Gee, Gauleiter Krupke”. It’s a shame “Ich liebe leben in Österreich” isn’t grammatical, because it scans better than the English.
If you think science removes our “sense of wonder”, compare the Tuwharetoa account of Taupo’s origin (guy threw a tree) with the real one. Namely, a gigantic explosion heard round the world, and the skies turning blood red over China and Rome.
Eat Pray Love listed as someone’s favourite book raises a red flag; Eat Love Pray raises a whole fluttering regiment.
If you want me to open your spammy attachment, my good sir, you’ll need to choose
a more trustworthy name than Mr Milosevic.