Monthly Archives: May 2011

200: Planking for fun

A weekly series of riffs in 200 words

Look, I’m sorry, but planking is hilarious and I can see why young people think it’s a blast.
Yes, it can be dangerous.  So can many pleasurable things if taken to extremes.
 Diving is exhilarating…diving off rocks into unchartered waters is hazardous.
 Riding a pushbike is fun…riding a bike in the middle of an 8-lane highway is nuts.
 Could we just stop this crazy notion that every time there is a death, we have to find someone to blame?

A classic from ratemyplanking.com

 People will die doing mundane things like crossing the road or riding on a train.
There is danger lurking in the simplest pursuits.  Next time someone dies from handling contaminated potting mix, should we ban gardening?
There’s a constant lament that people spend hours sitting hunched over computers and not enough time out in the world doing ‘stuff’.  But people will die when they are outside having fun: surfing, rock-climbing, sailing, bush-walking.
Plankers are out there doing their ‘thing’ usually in the fresh air and sunshine.  They are doing something that makes them and their friends (not to mention complete strangers) laugh. 

Tassie Girl Nicola Oldfield planking with attitude

       Remember the old adage? Laughter is the best medicine.
       Pretty silly I guess, but kinda funny.  Bit like life.

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200: Art for fart’s sake

A WEEKLY SERIES OF RIFFS IN 200 WORDS

(includes the answer to Friday’s Fictionary Dictionary)

                What is Art?
                ‘Too Arty-farty,’ my Aunt used to say about contrived post-modern pieces and their slim-hipped EMO creators.
                Much modern-day art leaves many of us cold, yet John F Kennedy told us that an artist should be free to ‘follow his vision, wherever it takes him.’ 
                And anyway, perhaps one persons ‘art’ is the next person’s ‘fart’.  Which begs the question…is this art?

 This art installation at the Tate Modern ‘A carpet of 100 Million Sunflower Seeds’ does, at first glance, appear to fit my Aunt’s ‘farty’ criteria but when we learn that the sunflower seeds are in fact porcelain replicas handcrafted by 1600 Chinese Artisans, one wonders if Ai Weiwei is an artist or a sweat-shop owner.

 

In his essay collection Nobody Knows My Name James Baldwin tells us that in order to survive artists must ‘tell the whole story, vomit the anguish up’.    

‘Retch Like an Egyptian’ (artist unknown) from the Museum of Bad Art surely meets Baldwin’s criteria.

           William Faulkner thought that an artistic creation should be capable of being looked at a hundred years later and it should ‘move again, since it is life.’
                Hmm…I wonder if a McDonald’s cheese slice classifies as art?
Answer to Friday’s Fictionary Dictionary… 
(c) Dycrasia is
any abnormal physiological condition, esp. of the blood

 

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It’s Fictionary Dictionary Friday

WHAT IS THE CORRECT MEANING OF…

Dycrasia

Check in on Sunday for the correct answer

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200: A book by any other name…

A WEEKLY SERIES OF RIFFS IN 200 WORDS.

After years of research Maryanne Wolf (author of ‘Proust and the Squid: the Story and Science of the Reading Brain) concludes that humans aren’t naturally hard-wired to read and only do so by developing a ‘reading circuit’.

So, presumably, a child reared on eBooks who is later presented with a printed book might find the experience alien and would need to develop a new ‘circuit’ in order to find the process easy, meaningful and desirable.

Logically then, I should endeavour to embrace the eBook phenomenon and invite my brain to develop a new ‘circuit’.

bebook from Endless Ideas

As with the learning of foreign languages, I imagine age will have an impact.  As someone who has been on the planet long enough to remember Dick and Dora readers,  it may be harder for me to build a new circuit but surely not impossible.

Embrace the technology?  Do I have a choice?

I think not but I am really hanging out for a tech-savvy whiz kid to create a device with a soft cover and pages I can really flick.  Oh hang on a minute…that would be an old-fashioned book made of paper.

Still, maybe it’s possible to revamp the eBook reading tablet? 

220px-Kindle

 

Old Fashioned?

 

THE ANSWER TO FRIDAY’S FICTIONARY DICTIONARY IS
(a) Colcothar is a fine pigment power, used as jewellers’ rouge (50% answered correctly)

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It’s Fictionary Dictionary Friday

WHAT IS THE CORRECT MEANING OF…

Colcothar

Check in on Sunday for the correct answer

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200: A hitchhiker’s guide to towel day

A WEEKLY SERIES OF RIFFS IN 200 WORDS.
Wednesday 25th May is the internationally (or more correctly intergalactically) recognized Towel Day, a celebration of the life of writer Douglas Adams.
Douglas Adams – photo from goodmanphoto.com

It is ten years since the death of the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the book that singled out the humble towel as being ‘about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have’.

Book Cover

They’ll be carrying towels from Finland to France; Indonesia to Ireland.  There’ll be original towel competitions, poetry slams and towel beauty contests.  According to one website, the day will even be celebrated virtually in ‘Second Life’.

Want to join the fan club? Fancy yourself as the Intergalactic Towel Day Ambassador? Check it out on Facebook.

If you’re in Germany, join in the parade in Castrop-Rauxel and grab some free peanuts.  But if you want to attend the Tel Aviv SF&F Club’s May meeting, you’ll need to take the book as well as a towel.

True aficionados will out me as being a mere dabbler by my use of the book title in full, rather than the geek-chic H2G2 but I will endeavour to redeem myself by signing off with…

Towel Incognito

 DON’T PANIC and SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH

 

 

THE ANSWER TO FRIDAY’S FICTIONAY DICTIONARY IS
(c) A Banket is a gold-bearing conglomerate found in South Africa
(60% of voters got it right, the rest were split evenly between (a) and (b))

 
 
 
 

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It’s Fictionary Dictionary Friday

WHAT IS THE CORRECT MEANING OF…

Banket

Check in on Sunday for the correct answer

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