aimless meanderings of a bemused mind…

December 29, 2006


Nothing like a bit of house cleaning to make the mind wonder aimlessly like a Tory spin doctor at a race relations conference.

Mine was sufficiently empty to wonder whether there’s any substantive difference between bathroom and kitchen cleaner- apart from the colour of the bottle and a bit of extraneous perfume. Is there any real need for these differences, beyond the obvious one of getting us to buy two bottles of the stuff instead of one?

I took a quick look at my bottles of Mr.Muscle. (‘Loves the jobs you hate’, apparently. Does it really? I’d like to see how it gets on with marking a Himalayan size pile of sub-literate, illegible, stress-ridden exam scripts.)

The labels weren’t much help. Both contain ‘Less than 5% non-ionic surfactants’. This, helpfully or ominously depending on your point of view, is ‘Amongst Other Ingredients’- (Agent Orange? Plutonium?)

Non-ionic surfactants are presumably bad for human beings, fluffly animals and the environment (the big planet shaped one, that is, not the small house shaped one)-otherwise their presence wouldn’t be marked by a footnote saying ‘Less than 5%’ in tiny script on the back of the bottle.

There would be a great big star on the front with expensively designed lettering glorying in the improved product- ‘NOW WITH ADDED SURFACTANTS’.

The bit about which they seem obliged to inform us is EDTA– or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. I’m still none the wiser, although I prefer the colour of the bathroom bottle.

Still, if I was worried about something I spray all over my house containing it, I needn’t have been. Apparently the manufacturers of soft drinks include it to reduce the levels of carcinogenic benzene. Cheers!


cynical blog hijacked by viral marketing campaign…

December 19, 2006


A pause for an uncharcteristic commercial break.

Prompting the postmodern equivalent of an English essay at school for a book I haven’t read, friend and web wiz Darren has asked that I give a quick plug to ‘Do Sheep Shrink In the Rain’. It’s a book of compiled questions and answers from ‘ask anything’ text service 82ASK, for whom he does alot of work.

Normally this would be met with a stream of expletives and storm of junk mail but I’ve found 82ASk to be one of the more consistently efficient service I’ve used in the last year- and that includes various prohibitively expensive supposed parts of the national infrastructure.

Therefore, despite some doubts that they’re dumbing down society by ensuring that we never need carry any information in our heads again, I’ll give it a plug.

If it’s as well put together as their answer service I’m sure it’ll be an entertaining read for people who like that sort of esoterica (which I do).

It’s published by Virgin- who should really be doing this instead of me but have obviously adopted the time honoured tradition of not promoting something unless it’s already going to sell by the bucketload.

At least I know what to get Darren for a last minute christmas present.

Commercial break over- sniping and snarling to resume soon.

saturday afternoon Lennonism…

December 9, 2006

An idle thought on the back of yesterday being the anniversary of John Lennon’s death and the (surely entirely coincidental) release of the documentary ‘The U.S vs John Lennon’.

I frequently hear/read about the “assassination” of Lennon, (like the Kennedys or Martin Luther King) as opposed to the ‘murder’ of, say, Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye-(other examples elude me at the moment).

Is this difference in nomenclature down to Lennon’s political activities-(small ‘p’). Marvin Gaye also made some political comments (‘What’s Going On, etc) but seemed to drift away from this later on in his recording career (although so did Lennon).

Or is it a ‘genre’ issue- ‘rock’ vs ‘soul’, with all the racial and expressive baggage that applies?

On the other hand- Lennon’s murder wasn’t a ‘crime of passion’ as with the others- (jealous husband in Cooke’s case, angry father for Gaye) but a more clearly premeditated act.

I suppose what I’m wondering is whether the application of the term ‘assassination’ as opposed to murder is predicated on something in Lennon or something in Chapman.

And what would we call it if someone shot McCartney?