Wednesday, April 29, 2009

POWERS

After yesterday's swine flu post, I was understandably excited by the headline on the Age site's front page today:

What new powers has the evolving Swine Flu granted to victims now?



(Also: I am very pleased that this picture is on a page called "All About Latvia." This is "CŇękmens" or "Pig Man". I think more nations should have national half-man/half-pig mascots.
)

UPDATE: This is the sound of swine flu. Some dude took the genetic structure of the virus and translated it into ambient music. It's pretty depressing if you leave it playing while you do something else (work, minigolf, PAYG accounting, sitting in the corner of an unfurnished room trying to throw a chisel into a bucket in the opposite corner of the room).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Dance of Futures Past

Here's how someone, once, in the 1960s, in Germany, decided that peoples of the future will dance. I'm sure the conversation going on in the foreground is compelling but it's hard to tear your attention away from the people behind them. It's like they've been told to imagine a mating flamingo doing calisthenics on Prozac.



And here's what the future did burp up - ACROBATIC ROCK N ROLL.



I don't think you get this in Australia, but in a lot of Europe, especially former Soviet states, this is a big thing. It's pretty fascinating. You can see the definite rock n roll/lindy hop influences but they're filtered through a very 90s Euro pop dance aesthetic. It's like US cheerleading today but, strangely, more reverential towards the rock n roll dancing that was spawned in the US half a century ago. I don't know why I find it so confuzzling to watch extreme swing/rockabilly dancing performed by people in brightly coloured unitards. But I do.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SWINE FLU

This swine flu business is nothing new.

The following clip comes from the wonderful John Hodgman, who helpfully points out that the truck driver at the beginning of the clip is obviously drunk.



NO ONE IS TOO FAST FOR SWINE FLU.

While I'm on this topic: why is it that diseases such as swine flu never live up to their name? If you're going to employ such a radical term as "swine flu" why not save it for an infection that turns its victims into half-man/half-pig abberations. Then you can have reconstructed footage such as the one above featuring ordinary people rolling around in the mud, insatiably craving slops and being smarter than dogs? You could even insert a few laughs as some college kids joke about how Stan is such a sweaty hog and smells like bacon - before Stan suddenly reveals trotters instead of hands and begins to oink uncontrollably! I'd pay to see that!

But I guess I'll have to get used to disappointment.

Monday, April 27, 2009

ANT FACT MONDAY: SPECIAL EDITION

"A VISIT FROM THE QUEEN"

The other week I noticed a little movement on top of my fridge. Upon closer inspection I found this:




After some observation I came to think it might be a queen ant looking for a nest. I'm not really sure though. Perhaps someone out there can help me.

In either case I treated it with the respect royalty deserves. I didn't really want a nest in my kitchen so I took the possible queen out the back and recommended some more attractive real estate options.

ON TO THE FACTS:

The South American Trap-Jaw ant can snap its mandibles at up to 145 miles an hour or 100,000 the force of gravity - the fastest predatory strike in the animal kingdom. The force it generates is 300 times the ant's weight. It can also use the striking mandibles to fling itself up into the air - covering up to 40 centrimetres horizontally. I wish I could do this.

An ant can survive being microwaved. This is because microwaves send out, um, waves, and the ant can sense where the waves are high temperature and where they're low. They just run around the hot bits.

Equilibrioception, the sense of balance we possess to help us tell which way is up, seems to be based on some fluid in the inner ear if my patchy knowledge serves me. I'm pretty sure ants don't have ears, letter alone inner ones. This makes me wonder if they even know which way is up, and how. Maybe it's why they have no problem climbing really high and sometimes upside down.

Also: could an ant get dizzy? I don't think so. Maybe this is related to the same fact (not a fact, obviously, more a supposition).

The Yellow Crazy Ant has one of the best names in the ant phone book.

Ants and butterflies don't get along. Ants will bust the ass of any loser butterfly if it so much as looks at them the wrong way. Make no mistake: Ants are mean mofos with a grudge. But one family of butterflies, the Lycaenidae, have brokered a deal with ants and the two need each other to live. Ants shepherd the butterfly larvae to particular plants that they can feed from, and help raise them to the beautiful, fluttery beings who eat the living shit out of my vegetable garden. In exchange, the caterpillars secrete a boozy juice that gets the ants all hopped up and happy. So in short, ants are willing to lend a hand if it means they can all tie on one and have a knees up at the end of the day.

And that's the end of ANT FACT MONDAY. For today.

Thanks queen!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Barry Nominees

Well, you heard it here first unless you heard it from someone else.

This year's top gong for Outstanding Comedy at the Melb. Int. Com. Fest. will be going to one of the following acts:


1000 YEARS OF GERMAN HUMOUR


SARAH MILLICAN



WILSON DIXON



TIM MINCHIN

THE PAJAMA MEN



ASHER TRELEAVEN




OTIS LEE CRENSHAW


Having seen all but one of these, I reckon it's a killer list. Given that six different countries are represented there (if you count Jesse Griffin's Kiwi origins), as well as a huge range of comic genres - character comedy, stand-up, musical comedy, absurdism, physical comedy etc. it's also probably the most diverse nominee line-up ever. One week to go.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Sounds of Comedy

I really don't have time to write up all the comedy I've been seeing, so here's a quick breakdown on shows I've caught so far organised into music genres.


60s FOLK
Wilson Dixon Rides Again


BIG HAIR MUSIC
Wes Snelling in Kiosk


ADULT CONTEMPORARY/MOR
Mark Watson – All the Thoughts I’ve Had Since I Was Born


VARIETY NIGHT (OBVIOUSLY)
Ali McGregor’s Late-Nite Variety-Nite Night



DYNAMIC TRUMPET PARTY MUSIC
Sam Simmons in The Net Starring Sandra Bullock


DEATH METAL
Nick Sun – UnFucTheAbyss


UNCLASSIFIED
Mother of the Year


PORN MOVIE MUSIC
The Soft Toy Mafia


THIS GUY
Janeane Garofalo


RUSSIAN DRINKING SONGS
Danny McGinlay – Food Dude


NERDCORE HIP HOP
The List Operators


CLASSICAL
Judith Lucy’s Not Getting Any Younger



JAZZ
Jason Byrne – The Byrne Identity
Only because I hate jazz.

NU POLKA
1000 Years of German Humour


INDIEPOP
Josie Long – All the Wonders of the Universe (Shown in Detail)


STONER ROCK
Arj Barker’s Original Style Bits and Pieces


THE BENNY HILL THEME SONG
Steve Coogan


THIS GUY
Des Bishop – Desfunctional


DRUM AND BASS
The Mad Max Remix


VIKING ROCK
Celia Pacquola in Am I Strange?
Only because I love that there is such a thing as Viking Rock, and I loved Pacquola's show.


DISCOFOX
An Evening with Charles Barrington


THE SUPER MARIO THEME
The Delusionists in Bunker 5


ITALODANCE
Club XX


COUNTRY
Beaconsfield the Musical


CELTIC ROCK
Matt Elsbery – Thoughtcrime

UNCLASSIFIED
So You Think You Can Cow


Hope that clears things up for you. This is possibly the laziest post this blog has ever seen.