Monday, October 29, 2007

Mastermind Maiden

Rachel Hobbs, a school laboratory technician from Hailsham appeared on the BBC quiz show Mastermind earlier this month, answering a barrage of questions from the host John Humphrys. Her chosen subject? Iron Maiden.

Rachel did pretty well for herself, in the process dispelling the stereotype of the hormonally overcharged, anti-establishment, tattoo-wielding goth that is typically associated with the metal fan.

The questions, true to the Mastermind spirit, were quite challenging. Though some of them might have been too easy for the rabid Maiden fan (is there any other kind?) The easiest question of the night, however, was when Rachel was asked:
So what is it [that you like] about this particular band?
It is a question that has been asked of Maiden fans for well over two decades now. And the answer has always been the same. To quote Rachel:
With this particular band [Iron Maiden] it's mostly the lyrics. Obviously the music's very important, but the lyrics are so much more intelligent than you find in a lot of other music. They take things from a whole range of subjects.
Exactly. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I got 13 (out of 19) answers right. Not bad, eh? Though admittedly, not as good as Ms. Hobbs, who got 16.

So, how many did you get?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monkey Chants

Until the recent ODI series between India and Australia, I had no idea that taunting someone with monkey noises constituted racial abuse. I'd always believed that equating someone to a monkey amounted to personal insult, and little else. Why, I've been called a monkey many a time myself. And in turn, I have, on more than one occasion, called someone a damned dirty ape. Never once did either party accuse the other of racial abuse. One may, of course, at this point argue that a 'damned dirty ape' is technically speaking, an ape and not a monkey, but I shall safely ignore that for the sake of this argument.

One cannot ignore, however, the monkey chants that have been going on through this series. Unless, of course, one is the BCCI president, in which case, one can issue the following statement:
I believe this is a misunderstanding; a language issue. There are many languages spoken in India, and I don't understand many of them myself.
Which begs the question, which one of the languages spoken in India does Mr. Pawar believe to be phonetically similar to monkey noises?

Whatever the case - whether these incidents were racially motivated, or a linguistics issue, or simply a case of some spectators monkeying around - we may never know. To me, however, the case for racial abuse seems particularly strong, simply because it was Andrew Symonds who was the object of these taunts. If it were Ricky Ponting, it would have been understandable, he does look like a chimp. Or even Adam Gilchrist for that matter. But Symonds doesn't look like a monkey at all. Not a bit. In fact, he looks rather disturbingly like the alien from those Predator movies. You know what I'm talking about. and if you don't, here is photographic evidence to help you see the point. The chap on the left is Andrew Symonds.

[Yes, this is another monkey related post. And no, I don't think there have been enough of them already.]

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Vogon Haiku

Snotgobbler gobbling
snot, like housefly guzzling
septic oozings

Yes, I'm feeling very poetic-y this month. How could you tell?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Word Association

Talking about monkeys always reminds me of diodes. You know, those little thingummies you put in a circuit to direct the flow of charge. Yup, the very same. But why this strange association, you ask? Well, allow me to explain.

A long time ago, when I was in my Freshman year (yes, that long ago), I was made to study Engineering Physics. A dastardly thing to do, one would imagine. But I was young and starry-eyed, and eager to learn. It was understandable. So, early one morning, I packed my books, picked up my bag, and trotted off to college with a spring in my step. Once in the class, I found myself a seat close to the first row, and got ready to garner all the pearls of wisdom I could lay my hands (or ears) upon.

The lecturer, a bald, portly fellow, strolled in leisurely twenty minutes late and immediately set about telling everyone how bloody brilliant he was. In fact, the only reason so many students failed in his class, we were told, was because they could not fully comprehend the man's brilliance. That, or they were plain blinded by it. After about fifteen minutes of this, he decided it was finally time to exhibit his prowess in the matters of the Physics.

What followed next, I quote verbatim. For his words are for ever indelibly engraved upon my brain. The great man opened his book, closed his eyes, took a deep breath and began:
My friends, electrons are like small monkey childs. Just like small monkey childs, they are very naughty. They keep jumping from one place to another. But, when you place a wall in front of the monkey childs, they cannot jump over the wall. Similarly, when you place a diode in front of electrons, they cannot jump from one part of the circuit to another. Therefore, just like the wall stops the monkey childs from jumping, the diode stops the electrons from getting across.

That, my friends, concludes our discussion on diodes. Next week, we will study transistors.

(Stunned silence)
To this day, I swear, whenever someone shows me a circuit diagram, all I can see are monkey childs. Naughty little monkey childs that keep jumping from one place to another.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Random Conversation #2 - Monkeys

While talking to this chap at a recent gathering, the conversation touched upon a rather touchy topic. I tried to be the voice of reason, for once.

"Those could just be underwater islands, you know. Or shallow coral reefs. Or maybe the sea-level rose to submerge some parts that were above water once, giving the illusion of a submerged bridge."
"Pah! Those are just theories. Why would I believe them any more than what's in the scriptures?"
"Well, quite simply because there is irrefutable proof. There are studies performed by the geological society, photographs from NASA. All point to the fact that it is not a man-made structure."
"Of course it's not man-made. It was made by monkeys."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Have you ever wondered
Lying in bed late at night
What your death would be like?
Would it come in soft whispers
Gently lulling you to sleep
Or will it be a violent affair
Tearing away the soul from your mangled remains
Would you ride out amid cries of glory
To meet the old enemy in glorious battle
Or will you surrender meekly, waiting
For the worms to ravage the spoils of victory
While you slip away beneath the folds
And into oblivion

What's that now, you haven't? Well, neither have I. What kind of psychopathic, self-hating misanthrope do you think I am anyway? Seriously.