Friday, 12 October 2007

Friday Grab Bag

Tattoos! Tea! Gargoyles!

The Illustrated Idiot
Like many people--and like most journalists--I am prey to crippling bouts of self-doubt. Am I living a virtuous life? Am I a good writer or am I a fraud? Am I kind enough to my family and other animals? Just as I'm rolling into the fetal position (or what the British disturbingly call the "foetal position") I'm rescued from the abyss by the happy realization that as bad as I may be, there's someone out there worse than I.

This week it was a Daily Mail story about man in Wales who got a life-sized tattoo of his wife and two daughters on his back. It's not a very handsome tattoo--it looks like one of those sterile, computer-generated designs you can get inked in frosting atop a sheet cake--but he's not a very handsome man. Perhaps that's why, not long after Alan Jenkins had endured the painful tattoo process, his wife left him for a "Latvian hunk she had met at work."

A family torn asunder. Sad. And yet the photos accompanying the article reduced any sympathy I may have had. The first photo is of the shirtless cuckold surrounded by his wife and daughters. Taken pre-split perhaps? No, because the second photo is of the adulterous wife and her Latvian hunk, and she's wearing the same outfit. The pix were obviously taken at the same time. Ditto for the story in the Sun. (Britain's tabloids will not be beaten when it comes to tattoo-related articles.)

The family gathered one last time for their sordid 15 minutes of fame. How gross is that? As we ponder the excesses of the media, let's not forget the excesses of the public.

It's in the Bag
Time for another study on the beneficial effects of tea, this one touted in a USA Today story. According to the article, drinking tea inhibits the growth of human cancer cells implanted in mice. Ingesting or applying green tea polyphenols protects against skin cancer in mice.

I don't think any of these findings will change my intake--about one or two cups a day. The real message is, if you are a mouse you really ought to try to get your paws on some tea.

Claws Celebre
To update my Sept. 25 item about the BBC's cat-naming controversy: In a letter published in the Guardian, the BBC's children's programming director said there was not a suspicious surge of votes for "Cookie," nor was there the belief that the name had a sexual connotation.

Over the weekend a letter-writer to the Daily Mail speculated that the discomfort over the name must have come from a joke that was "popular in the Seventies" in which a man tripped over a cat and uttered the Spoonerism "Cooking fat!"

I dave my houbts.

At least two of my fellow Fellows here at the Reuters Institute have blogs: Abel Escudero Zadrayec and Wang Yao. Too bad I can't read them, they being in Spanish and Chinese, respectively.

By the way, Wang Yao said he gets around 200,000 hits on his blog. If I can siphon off just a few of those.....

Gargoyle of the Week
I think I snapped this one at Christ Church College:

We should have a caption contest. My entry: "What's that smell?"

Have a great weekend.


suburbancorrespondent said...

I do not see why the Post is not at least giving a nod to your blog. A few mentions on Page Three and on the website, and I'm sure we can beat the Chinese. (Although, they do have an awful lot of people over there.)

Claws Celebre - Ha! (That's laughter - I told my husband that the minute I started using those "LOL's" and emoticons and such, he could feel free to save my soul by taking my keyboard away.)

William said...

Upon the mention of Cooking Fat I thought I should direct you to the New College chapel where you'll find much about the Reverend Spooner, who swelled hay there for a number of years and where he uttered the immortal lines "Marden me padum, you are occupewing my pie. May I sew you to another sheet"?

cktirumalai said...

Following on from William, Warden Spooner, he of New College and the Spoonerism, is credited with many spontaneously unintentional distortions: at least geographically, Lewis Caroll was not far away, at Christ Church. The Warden is said to have told a student that he had "hissed all his mystery lectures," "tasted the first worm", and had been caught "fighting a liar in the quad""; he would have to leave by the "town drain". For non-English readers the "down train" is the straight version.