That pure Cane Spirit since 1848.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The wind is in from Africa,
Last night, I couldn’t sleep…

Looks like I’ve got the house to myself tonight. I hope I don’t get drunk and play all my old records too loud and start crying again. Mind you, that’s better than getting drunk and playing all my old records too loud and phoning people up at three in the morning. And that is better than getting drunk and playing all my old records too loud and fighting with the neighbours. Saps.

There may be trouble ahead,
But while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance…

Thursday, March 29, 2007

They don’t like it up ‘em.
In the China Sea in the eighties when the navy were still boarding ships to have a nose around, it didn’t matter how many guns they carried, the crew of the vessel being searched were always a bit uncooperative, even to the point of rudeness. The boarding parties discovered however, that if they took along some naval pattern cutlasses to wave about, it changed things. Suddenly it was all:

“Yes sir, no sir and this way to the cigarettes and heroin sir.”

Well they pensioned off the naval cutlass just before the 1990 Gulf War because it didn’t fit in with smart bombs and cruise missiles, but imagine if those sailors [under American command] had had them when the Iranians turned up in their rubber dinghies.
For a kick off, your Arab respects a man with a sword. They know you can give any mug an AK47, but it takes cojones to handle a blade. Second, they could have slashed and sunk the Arabs’ boats making them look pretty foolish and Arabs hate to be mocked. Third: if things still looked a bit prickly, then swish, they could have taken an ear or a hand and that always concentrates the mind of the native. They don’t like it.

As it turned out, all their body armour and i-pods and machine guns were useless.
The Iranians simply said, “ Effendis, would you mind awfully coming with us?”
and the senior service replied, “ Why certainly, Abdul.”
Tony Blair says if they don’t hand them back then he’ll let down their tyres and steal their bicycle pumps. Give us back our sailors you rotters !

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The sun came out yesterday and looks like doing it again today. You continentals may wonder what all the fuss is but sunshine is a big deal over here.
If I had money I would live somewhere hot and damn the consequences.

On Saturdays I would wear flannels and a blue shirt and pretend to be middle class and sit among the fishermen with a poetry book and I’d be a bit sozzled by 3pm so I’d have a siesta and a wash and brush up and then a sundowner and a bite to eat in the village square.
Through the week I would give lectures at the local university and be held in high regard. There would be faculty evenings with drinks and finger buffet and the staff and students would love me. Grateful fathers would shake my hand in the street for getting their sons to understand non linear differential equations.
I would have a housekeeper who spoiled me rotten and some days I would cycle home through the acacia trees and announce that there would be six for dinner and she’d say no problem and rustle up something terrific and there’d be oil lamps lighting up the wine glasses and all the faces and the vice chancellor’s wife would repeatedly try and get off with me…

See, sunshine is big deal over here.

Update: Pat of Pi fame has been teasing me in the most cruel way. (as only women can) The line she quoted: 'When one wets the bed at first it is warm then it gets cold.' is by none other than my total hero J. Joyce Esq. It's from 'portrait of the artist etc etc' I googled it. I knew it was one of the Waughs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Call me Ishmael.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

Winston Smith opened the door to Victory Mansions and lit a woodbine or something.

Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The point is, these are all the first lines from books.
Not the best of starts I think you’ll agree and personally I think those books would have been better if they’d grabbed you right away instead of making you work for your enjoyment.

Lets consider the opening line from another piece. This one really gets you going - right from the off.

Fatmammycat gunned the Maserati round the cobbles in an ecstasy of squeals.

That line’s got everything. It’s exciting, glamorous, cool. There’s a top notch dolly bird in a branded sports car driving too fast for the road conditions pertaining at the time. What more do you want? As a first line, it’s a tipper. A belter in fact.

For example, it’s much better than this line, isn‘t it not?

“Mr Jones the cannibal came home and ate someone’s leg.”

I mean that line’s got nothing. Nyente. Nada.

I bet no-one outside their immediate family has bought that rednose book.
Oh, and if any of you writes a book that starts “Mr Jones the cannibal came home and ate someone’s leg.”, I’ll fucking sue.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Book your tickets now.

At Hampden Park Glasgow, our universally admired Tartan Army saw the gallant Lion Rampants of Bonny Scotland, thrash Joe Stalin’s evil ape men of Georgia, sending them back to the gulag in a two-one drubbing they won’t forget in a hurry.
Meanwhile in a humiliating disaster of utter proportions, the soccer maestros of the English premiership were humiliated last night by the footballing Jews of Tel Aviv. As the useless millionaire failures slumped to their worst ever nil-nil defeat, cries of “strangle him” rang out around the Moshe Dayan stadium when legions of thuggish England fans bayed for the death of their manager Steve Whatshisname.
Meanwhile across the water, both sets of troublesome Irish somehow notched up victories against totally substandard opposition.
The sportsdesk team can reveal exclusively today that the Irish have also taken up the unnatural English game of English Cricket, beating the shopkeepers of Pakistan in a competition laughingly called “The World Cup”.
No good will come of it.

Tennis news.

Andy Thingmibob is Scottish, as is the game of golf.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

At Saint Alphonso’s Pancake Breakfast (where I stole the margarine)

So like that Twenty Major says he’s got a book deal. My heart is filled with like total utter joy for him.
It’s what I’ve always said: the doers do and the don’ters don’t.

I’ve been away in London Town myself as it so happens, talking with other very important people like me about the consequences of this new finger quotes cross pond open skies thing end finger quotes. It was that kind of crowd. We were all terribly agreed that Boeing has been working George Bush with wires, although there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest such a thing. You see, you might not know this, but while useless A.I. has been trying to get it’s super elephant plane off the ground, Boeing went the other way with a point to pointer called “The Dreamliner”. Cooool. So what? Well, only the big national hubs can cope with French Fatso, whereas Yankee Dreamliner will take you direct to Nevada from Nuneaton.

The upshot is, we don’t care, because in true English style, we backed them both.

Ha Ha

Think I’ll have a Bloody Mary for a change.

There’s no vodka so I’ll substitute Bacardi and I don’t think I’ve any tomato juice but coca cola will do.

Down the hatch. Here’s to you Twenny! God, that’s the worst Bloody Mary I’ve had in years.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The ‘Forfar’ Way.

That Daphne Wayne-Bough reminded me about a young lad that comes in the front bar now and then. Big Bob’s his name and he’s from Forfar but he’s awful Heilan’ and he was in the other night, telling us all about his weekend away in Paris. To let you know, he’s never harmed a living thing in his life but he could snap you in two like a Kit Kat. You’ll know the type of lad I mean. He’s strong on the likes of John Deere over the likes of International Harvester, but he couldn’t buy underpants out of a Marks and Spencer if there was a girl on the till. To be honest, he’s not the brightest but you want to see the size of him. He gives us something to talk about when he’s not there.

“It’s as well he’s good natured…” says Alec the Dalek.
“I would not like to tackle him,” nods Pally Ally. “strong as a bullock he is…”
“Aye, and twice as thick…“ says Mortal Dan.
“Och, there’s not an ounce of guile in him…” say I, sticking up for the boy.

Well, the other night we’re all lined up at the bar chewing the fat and thinking about death and on the TV comes some girl band not wearing enough clothes, making us feel worse, when up pipes the big soft lad himself.

“Hey, Professor, I met a lass on the trip there, that was better looking than any o’ them.”

They sometimes call me Professor, but not in a good way.

“Oh ?” I asked, “was she an air hostess on the plane?”
“She was a hostess all right, but no’ on the plane…”

Well! We’ve never seen him so animated about something you couldn’t bolt to a tractor, so Alec sets them up, adding a double for Big Bob to keep him talking.

So he continues, telling us that before the game, the other three give him the ticket money to keep because he is as straight as a die and no one in their right minds would try and rob him. The young lad was put together by John Browns of Clydebank, I’m not kidding. But they never saw the game, nor a ticket neither, for big as he is, didn’t they go an lose him in the crowds? So there he is, wandering lost in the opposite direction, but slow as he is, he doesn’t panic because he’s got the ticket money and that’ll see him through any little emergencies…

“Holy frost!” says Ally, Perth being his idea of a big town, and gettin in another round, asks: “so what did ye do then?”

Well he takes himself into some wee dive just off the main drag, to have a think and maybe something for the heat. So he’s sitting there with his big rosette on and his rolled up flag and his woolly tartan scarf round his neck drinking French beer when what looks like the girl from the Renault Clio advert comes over and starts chatting away right friendly. Three or four drinks later they’ve clicked and she’s taking him back to hers for ‘coffee’. But when they get there, he’s no sooner planted his flag in the lobby press, when the young girl’s tone changes and now she’s rhyming off a pricelist all business like, rolling off all the things she’ll do to him, but for a price.
Holy Moly! he thinks and he’s squirming a bit because it’s a shock and he doesn’t know what to say and him built like a Sherman tank…

“Never!” exclaims Dan, waving over refills for everyone. “Are you sayin’ she was a…ho…a…who..”
“Hostess! That‘s right.” interrupts Big Bob, nodding, lifting his glass.

So the girl’s standing there, all sophisticated, waiting for an answer.

“Well mon cheri…” and Big Bob swears that’s what the girl said to him, “Well mon cheri, what’s it to be? Voolly-voo want a good time avec moi? oui?”

He’s just a country lad and although he’s Heilan’ he’s no’ as Heilan’ as that, so, seeing which way the wind’s blowing, he stalls for time to sort out his thoughts. I’m telling you, a Glaswegian would spot he was new in off the fields, in a minute, no, in a second even. You know the sort of plain simple lad I mean, but a physique like the jolly green giant.

“So long as we do it the Forfar way,” he blurts out, sitting there with his tartan scarf near choking him…

When Big Bob gets to this bit, I rap the bar for more refills all round, mainly to cover my ignorance. I’m pretty straight when it comes to all that and this sounds a bit kinky to me.

Anyway, the young lass is also brought up short by this, for although she’s quite young and no’ the size of tuppence ha’penny, she was sure she knew all the ways to make love that are in the book. And some that aren’t.

“Zees Forfar way,” she says, ”Jinny say pah, explain please.”
“Oh, I just ken it as the Forfar Way” he manages to say, now desperate to take his damned rosette off but the safety pin is stuck fast in his jumper.
The girl can do the karma sutra backwards but she has never heard of the Forfar way.

“Ees it like ze Eskimo Way?” she asks.
“What way’s that then?” says he.
“Ze Eskimo, zay do eet weeth zare clothes on.” she explains.
“Would it no’ get awful hot?” he reasons.
“Do you mean maybe zee Catholic way? Through zee ‘ole in the bedsheet?” she tries.
“No No!” he says, quite scandalised, “It’s the Forfar way for me, or nothing.”
“Per’aps eet’s like ze Chinese Way?” she suggests.
“What, you want more twenty minutes later?” he asks puzzled.

Now the girl laughs at this. She is warming to him in spite of his clumsy clothes and his big honest sonsy face and his silly big hands like shovels. She thinks for a minute.

“Môn sewer Bob,” she says, “I am expert at more ways than you can imagine, but never ‘ave I ‘eard of zees Forfar way. If you show me, I shall do eet for free.”
Finally, the big lump of a lad relaxes and sighs: “aye, that’s the Forfar way.”

Now he’s finished his tale, the poor big soul sees the pub clock and slams down his empty tumbler, rushing off just like a wee vexed boy, to catch his bus, which isn’t even due for another fifteen minutes.

In the silence after the bar doors slam shut, it’s Alec the Dalek who speaks first.
“I can’t imagine how you’d lose such a big lump in a crowd.” he says shaking his head.
“Imagine him getting it for free in Paris.” says Pally Ally in admiration.
“I can’t imagine him getting it for free in fucking Greenock.” says Mortal Dan.
“Och, he’s just a big daft boy…” say I, sticking up for him.

“Aye, he’s daft the right way when it’s his round!” shouts Black Jack from the corner, which is rich coming from him, the miserable little ferret.

Monday, March 19, 2007

So, Mother’s Day was a washout. The singing mailman wasn’t well received. Grandmother said he looked consumptive. Things brightened later on when the family gathered. My brother has one of those Japanese SUVs and his wife managed to scrape it down the wall on the way in. Ha Ha. Mother said nothing good ever came out of the east and she was looking at my brother’s wife when she said it. I said maybe driveways are wider in Cambodia.
Then we had sherry and took tea and smiled when Mother told us about how they only had one clog which is a barefaced lie and my sister and her life partner showed us their tongue studs. Mother winced a bit at the tattoos but she hid it well.
Us siblings have always competed for Mum’s affections, so knowing her love for English first editions, I trumped everyone with a mint copy of Rogers and Mayhew’s “Fundamentals of Thermodynamics”.

It’s got a fifties space rocket on the sleeve and is signed by Mayhew!
(Rogers tragically died in a jet engine at Farnborough. His widow had to bury him in an oil drum)
Then we beetled across town to repeat the whole thing with Mrs Maroon’s Mother.
Mrs Maroon is an only child so her parents hate my guts. When her father looks at me like that, I feel cheap and dirty.
Her mother made old fashioned salad for tea. You know, lettuce, tomato, half a boiled egg and an extra slice of spam for Dad. Her mother was delighted with the Black Magic (presentation box) but then Pop said I, “was driving“, so we left after the arctic roll.
To cap it all, I forgot to leave the Rogers and Mayhew at Mum’s.

Friday, March 16, 2007

By now my friends, you will have heard the hellish news.

Excuse me a second.

I'm OK.

I said I was OK, don't fucking touch me right?

In what can only be described as a total utter travesty of utterly Titanic proportions, Mike Atkinson has cobbled together a concoction of blog wanabees and other derelicts of the blogosphere into some vanity publishing affair. I of course refused to allow Cape to Rio to be associated with this tawdry exercise in petty self aggrandisement. Others, perhaps without the necessary self respect, were only too eager to prostitute their art to the lowest bidder. Don't worry, I'm naming no names Foot Eater, I'm just disappointed, and not a little nauseous.

Each day, in every way I'm getting better and better. So Mum says.

Kim, why don't we contact all the rejects and compile a book of the 101 most vitriolic, bitter, sour, witty reactions and keep the money to ourselves.

Oh me miserum, the airplane has crashed into the fucking mountainside.

OK, that's it.


I'm fine,...honest.

I mean rejection, alright, I can take that, I'm used to it, but Christ, to take Foot Eater in my place? Come on people. He didn't make that cannibal stuff up, the man's ill.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

won’t forget you. I may be moving on to an higher intellectual plane but I have honour. I have chosen my desert island discs which are all classical even though I don’t get it and my book will be Proust or Goethe in foreign.
I wonder if “Bling Wraiths” will be put at the front, to get the anthology off to a flyer, or perhaps a tasteful centre spread feature? Who can tell?
Melvin and John Humphries are welcome to interview me but I shall not tolerate Jim Nauchtie who is a plank.
Some have suggested I should wait until I find out if it’s actually going in, but to those I say:

“Rome was built on seven hills”.
You will all still be welcome chez Maroon anytime, although perhaps you should phone first, I’m sure you understand.
Mrs Maroon and I discussed it all last night and we decided that she should stay with her mother for a couple of years. Well, she’s getting older now, as indeed is her mother. Laika, our young daily from Zenda, has kindly agreed to take on more of my quirky little Maroon tasks and stand in for the pop shots. Is that the term? Publicity photos. She loves it.
“Doctor, sometimes I think you crazy mad.” she’ll say.
Anyway, I truly can’t say any more right now. I’m expecting a call from Mike Atherton or Atkins, probably to discuss layouts and so on, (between you and me, he’s a little green) and my muse must come first.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

That Bob and Bono Backlash.

Even though he’s turned into a git, I have great difficulty in slagging off Bono. You see, I liked U2 before anyone else, and even had the Bono boots to prove it. Remember them? They were dead gay and had leather straps and other paraphernalia attached to them -what were we thinking? But Bob Geldof went to shit years ago, like1980 or something. Face it, he couldn’t even sing God bless him. But what gets my chowdah rising, is that he, and his talentless, bland daughter Peaches are never off the Godamn TV, telling me how white my shirts should be and I can’t be a man cos I mustn’t smoke and my mere existence is causing death on a scale unimaginable across the third world. If I was rich he’d have a point, but I ain’t, so he hasn’t.

Here’s the trick Bob. Put your hand in your own deep pockets and shut the f**k up.

He’s a Londoner now like Madonna, so they’ll be all over our screens, berating us come the Telethon, then it’ll be off to Maxim’s for a righteous coke fest with naked women and everything, just like ancient Rome.

I do a lot of work for charity me, but I don’t like to talk about it.
So like I sent that nice man Mike Atkinson a post from last September for his charity book. If any of you want to send him something, this is the link. He’s not fussy, but you mustn’t be Irish, and why not? Because of Bob and Bono that’s why. It’s a backlash. Maybe he’s frightened of a repeat, or maybe he’s a xenophobic, fascist, Little Englander, or maybe it‘s copyright, we may never know.

Obviously if he doesn’t choose me for inclusion, I’ll scrub every reference to him. It will be as if he never existed.
Actually, It wasn’t nearly as funny as I’d remembered it.
Don’t you think life’s a bit like that ?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Best fit polygon and controlling variables as a means of quality assurance.

Kim’s last post but one has spurred me to bend my wits upon a conjecture he has propounded.

‘Best fit polygon’ is an engineering technique (surprise surprise) to help in the evaluation of component design.

Bear with me, there’s no test at the end.*

Imagine if you will, a component of a machine that must achieve 4 criteria and each of these criteria is of equal importance. If we were to describe these requirements graphically [draw them out on graph paper] it might look like a square. Still with me? Good. Now imagine that 2 of the requirements were each twice as important as the other two, the resultant shape would now be a rectangle twice as long as it’s broad. OK still? Fine.

Well in reality there might be 10 or more important qualities that the thing must have and each of varying importance, so you end up with a complicated shape.
What you then do is go through the alternatives until you find a design that best fits that shape. We call that the ‘optimum’ design.
Of course some qualities might totally override others and therefore must be achieved whatever the cost, so you can end up with some pretty funny shapes I can tell you. We had one once that looked for all the world like a great big
I digress.

It’s all done on computers by low paid graduate trainees, the point is, it is a system of compromise. It has to be.

Stick with me Ayres, I beg you.

The next thing is ‘controlling the variables‘. Formalised by the Americans in the second world war, they realised that if you removed the variables from the manufacturing process, then any resultant deviation was due to random chance and not worth crying about. The trick being separating out what you must and what you can’t control.

Phew! Now we’re at the bone.

If, and it’s only a proposition mind, we apply these trusted techniques to our own life situation, do we,-

a) end up in an optimum world?
b) end up in an ideal world?


c) which is the world described by the philosopher Ayres?
d) are the two worlds equivalent?

Answers in by Founder’s Day please, one side of the paper only and two inch margins.

* I totally lied.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Baile atha Cliath

Yesterday in Glasgow, I was behind an Irish car at traffic lights, its plate started 91-D-something and had Baile atha Cliath written on it, so presumably a Dublin registration from 1991.
So what?
Well, not 20 minutes later, I was behind another one!
There’s a name for this.
Either it’s a ‘sign’ or that other thing where you think it’s a ‘sign’ but it isn’t. You only notice it because you’ve noticed it. Like wrong phone numbers. If they didn’t answer, you wouldn’t know that you’d dialled a wrong number. I might have passed a dozen Polish cars in the same time for all we know, but being Polish, they don’t count and wouldn’t be a ‘sign‘.
Don’t you think that this explains the argument against intelligent design much better than Richard Dorkins and all his mathematics? Apart from the Polish cars of course. They ARE an anomaly.
They are a gift from God.

Friday, March 02, 2007

‘Never explain or apologise’

That’s what Hitler used to say. These days that don’t wash the diapers!

Edited technical bit. (I must be careful.)

I canna blog from work Caaptain, - They would find me and beat me.

Besides, they pay half my phone bill, although that’s neither here nor there since the only company calls I make at home are to call in sick.
But one of my access numbers WAS dial up! Ooh-er missus.

Before the 6th of February there was total separation, a paramount concern of my august employers, but now according to our IT man, it’s as if there is a huge, HUGE Favourites List and Cape to Rio isn’t on it.
Not that I was stupid enough to name it by name, but I feel I was imprudent in the first place and have maybe drawn unwelcome attention down upon my troubled head.

He IS a sneaky little bastard (and ill favoured to the point of ugliness.)

Orange, (or Wanadoo as was), have been charging me a hefty £17.99 over and above my regular subscription for the past three years!
That’s £647.64 give or take.
I live in hope to see it again…skip to the end…words were exchanged, tempers were lost and a plug was pulled.


A name like ORANGE should have warned me.

NTL are the future!

Actual Weblog bit.

The past month’s been utter total Hell.
Been to the pictures, (Black Book, Notes on a Scandal, Garrison Keiller’s Radio Show, Hot Fuzz and The Number 23), have eaten out, and I’m talking proper restaurants here, not Cap’n Jack’s Pirate Platter (Kim’s favourite), I mean total prawn cocktail, steak and seasonal veg selection with black forest gateaux for afters and all washed down with a pert Lambrusco.

We asked for kir once. What a laugh.

What else? Let’s see,
went to Glasgow a couple of times, { Horseshoe Bar, Transport Museum, The Art Galleries, Italian dinner }

What else
Did Ben Imie, then did the one I forget its name, at the top of the Rest And Be Thankful the next day while it snowed!

Well hark at her!

I’m getting to the point.

It got so bad, I dragged Madam Maroon along to an internet café. I took her because she looks respectable. The plan being she would bugger off once she’d paid the nice man. There wasn’t a free terminal!

Now, rather than say,

“OK dude, bring us two mocha frappochinos with cinnamon sprinkles and we shall wait”…

We both just bolted in unexpected embarrassment. The place was full of inert weirdos anyway. Why don’t they get their own computers? And a wash for God’s sake?. Their fingernails were a disgrace.

The point.

Even with all this activity, and people getting sacked all over the place because of those French nincompoops at A.I., you’d think I’d have enough to think about, well you’d be wrong.

I am a total empty shell without you. It’s been awful.