Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It Crossed the Line

England are out of the World Cup.  As usual, it's the referees fault and nothing to do with our footballers not being good enough or the English way of playing being outdated.

It's all elegantly summed up in the following song.  Listen, enjoy and laugh at us. 

One last thing, we only have Andy Murray if we make him British instead of Scottish.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Updating the Past

Some songs and Rhymes date as our life and culture moves on.  How would they sound if they were written today?

Hole in my bucket

There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Then go to the DIY store and buy a new one.

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Had scrambled egg for breakfast again.

We'll Meet Again

We'll meet again,
on facebook and twitter

Feel free to add your own...and if you're really lucky, I may record these ditties for you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Take A Chance On Me

As writers, we want to be published.  More importantly, we want people to take a chance on our tome and actually buy it.

But here's the rub: how many new authors have you taken a chance on in the last few years?  The website '101 reasons to stop writing' has as its number 1 reason, 'You Don't Buy Books'.  Let's face it, if we as potential authors are not willing to take a chance on unknowns, why should we expect people to take a chance on us.

So here's a question for us all to consider.  Can you list the new authors you've taken a chance on in the last few years?  If you can name even one, pat yourself on the back.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I'm Going To Ask God

When I die, I have a few questions that I'm going to ask God.

1. Why are we biased to one side or other of our bodies?  I'm right handed, but why can't I write as well with my left, or kick a ball as well with my left foot?

2. Why do children only copy their parent's bad points?

3. What's the point of mayflies?

4. Why is the fastest speed in the universe the speed of light?

5. Why don't women go bald?

What would you like to ask God?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup Songs

If, like me, you've been following the world cup and support England, then you will not be happy at the moment.

But there is still some joy to be had as the French are out and a man called Dave Henson has written a little song about it to cheer the hearts of every fan of England.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Reading List

It's Friday and I'm feeling lazy, but not so lazy that I haven't written anything.

I've completed and sent off a review of Star Trek TOS remastered as well as reworked chapter two of my novel and am very happy with what's going on.  I've also replotted it for the comedy it now is.

Now I am just going to pile into my reading list which is:

- The Portable Door by Tom Holt
- Clean: An unsanitised history of washing by Katherine Ashenburg
- The Age of Absurdity: Why modern life makes it hard to be happy by Michael Foley
- Prospect and Christian Writer magazines

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review: The Spartacus War

The Spartacus War
by Barry Strauss

This is a history book.  Unlike a lot of history books, this is not an information dump, but a well written analysis of a historical event that most people know about: if only because of Kirk Douglas.

The sources are scant and sometimes contradictory, but Strauss weaves his way through them to produce a informed account of the two year slave revolt.  Sometimes it's educated guesswork, but for the most part this is the true tale of Spartacus, his revolt and his death.

One of the surprises is how much the film got right.  It shouldn't come as a surprise to find out that the ending scene with everyone claiming to be Spartacus is unlikely to be true.  It may surprise you that the pirates who double-crossed Spartacus were real.  Crassus, as played by Laurence Olivier, was that cruel and Spartacus did have a woman in tow, but was unlikely to have been as simpering as Jean Simmons.

It packs a lot of information into 189 pages and, unlike a lot of history books, does not ramble on about unnecessary things.

Spartacus comes out of the story as a flawed hero and we get to see Roman Italy in a truer light than we are used to. 

All in all, a highly recommended book, and not just for people interested in Ancient history.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Review: Hector and The Search For Happiness

This is, according to the book blurb, an international bestseller, having shifted over 2 million copies worldwide.  It was originally written in French by Francois Lelord, and this an English translation.

Though this is a work of fiction, the author is a psychiatrist and it has the feel of a self-help book, but is none the worse for that.  It is also written in a child-like style that adds to its charm rather than detracts.  In fact I can't find anything bad to write about this book, so I'm not going to make anything up just for the sake of 'balance'.

I liked it.  It's short, concise, well-written and thought-provoking.  It is more of a novella than a novel, so won't take too long to read, but is full of episodes that make you think about what it means to be happy. 

As Hector goes on his travels he meets a monk, some old friends and a prostitute.  He also gets involved with drug dealers, aid workers and gets kidnapped by accident  (You gotta read that bit).  There are times when you will want to cry, times when you will want to laugh.

By the end you will have an idea about what happiness is and you will certainly know what it isn't.

The book is beautiful, sharp and thoughtful.  I loved it and I think you will too.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have some favourite cartoon sites that I'd like to share.

Dilbert.  If you've ever worked in an office, this will all too painfully familiar.

Garfield.  This is what cats really think of us.

Reverend Fun.  You don't need to know your bible to understand these cartoons, but it helps.

What are your favourite cartoon sites?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Weapon of Mass Instruction

This is one of those good news stories that doesn't even get on the editors desk. An Argentine artist travels round Buenos Aires in a tank handing out books for free.

Sadly, AFP won't let me display it here, so you'll have to go to youtube.

One of these days I might just do it myself.