amusements

Career Criminals Twain

The kittens (huh, some kittens, they’re a year in 2 weeks time and both over 4kg!) caught this morning trying to convince us that butter wouldn’t melt in their hot little paws.

Rosie (behind) and Wiz for once not practising for their Assassin’s Guild exams:

But then, “You ain’t seen me, right. It was him.”

And well might Rosie try to shift the blame, because the last two nights she has brought mouse (fortunately already dead) into the bedroom at about 4AM and proceeded to play with it, noisily. Monday night’s was confiscated after she’d kept us awake for half an hour; last night’s she took away and lost somewhere. (It was later found hidden in the dining room.)

[As always you can click the images for a larger view]

Auction Amusements

Here are a few of the amusements from our local auction house’s recent sales. Some are from last December and some are recent, although I don’t seem to have kept any from the February sale (I was probably too drugged up following my knee op to notice!). Anyway enjoy the different ways in which the toot people sell can amuse.

A large red Russian flag, two small Russian pendants, four Russian medals, a silver and red enamel army cap badge, Russian lead toy soldiers, a large ship medallion 1917-1987, etc.

An old sailing boat in a bottle, Tri-Ang [sic] model ships including HMS Vanguard, RMS Caronia, HMS Centaur, also a Tri-Ang M885 floating dock, and a breakwater straight M827, and two miniature boats HMS Virago and HMS Tenby, also a brass wirework photograph frame and a miniature antique ivory sewing table with implements.

A collection of first-day covers with accompanying commemorative coins of various denominations, featuring royalty, sport … including 1948 and 2012 London Olympics, mint presentation commemorative coins, football and other medals, 3 books on coin collecting and a pair of gloves; also a pair of musket shot recovered from the ‘Invincible’ (1744-1758), with certificate of authenticity

A John Lewis nativity set, a decorative Christmas tree made from pipe cleaners and an advent light

A pair of mounted oryx horns

A large quantity of carved wooden figurines mainly from Africa, taxidermy deer head, vintage telephone, cat figurines, pipes, brass car horn in the form of a serpent etc.

A stuffed and mounted antelope head with twisted horns

Two large vintage commercial projectors by Ross of London … a commercial-use Hitachi SK91 camera, a stirrup pump, and an Elf transformer
What do the elves get transformed into, one has to wonder?

A shelf of interesting decanters including musical and 1950’s poodle plus a musical bird cage automation and another modelled as a light

Two cartons of tools, wires, etc.
And that was a pretty good description too.

An unusual early 20th century mahogany chair cum trouser press by VG Bond of London …

An amazing bangle, spray brooch and matching necklet by Sonia Rykiel of flower buds and stalks [above]

Two teeth filled with dental gold, and a 9 ct gold cufflink
For use as spares, presumably [below]


A suitcase containing a small quantity of postcards and a large quantity of empty plastic sleeves

Two tribal skin shields and an ornate wooden knife rack, a doll with crying action and pink cloths

A fascinating collection of American Civil War lead bullets displayed in two wooden cases, with documentation

A stuffed and mounted pike in glazed wooden case [below]


A black Dunn & Co bowler hat and four Venetian masks, two with bells and two for wall-hanging
As so often I’m struggling to see what these have to do with each other.

A pine trunk containing vintage Christmas decorations plus another mental [sic] bound storage box

A WW2 USN portable bomb hoist MkVII marked Manley MFG Div York PA … serviced in 1965 and 1985
An essential garden ornament [below]


A Hoover Nextra Reverse Action 6kg dryer, an old cabinet radio by Blaupunkt, an old-fashioned style radio, a Sony mini hi-fi, two gentlemen’s grooming kits and a large filled fabric dog

XKCD Phone

I’ve been amused over the years by the curious, and ever more imaginative, evolution of the XKCD Phone – all the way from a “clear screen” via a screen that “goes all the way through” to a “stained-glass display”! There are just so many brilliant innovations I think we should view the whole range. Enjoy!

XKCD Phone 1 (May 2014)
Features I especially like: side-facing camera

XKCD Phone 2 (December 2014)
Features I especially like: dog noticer; coin slot; bug drawer

XKCD Phone 3 (July 2015)
Features I especially like: magnetic stripe; fingerprint randomiser; licensed to perform wedding ceremonies and does so at random

XKCD Phone 4 (July 2016)
Features I especially like: voice intergration Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Alexa respond simultataneously; new BrightGlo™ display incorporates genetically spliced jellyfish protein; Gregorian/Julian calendar switch; exposed ductwork

XKCD Phone 5 (March 2017)
Features I especially like: Supercuts partnership: trims hair fed into charging port; stained-glass display; background task automatically catches and eats Pokémon

I reckon we should expect the XKCD Phone 6 somewhere around the end of this year, maybe even in time for Christmas, and with innovations we can’t even begin to guess!

The XKCD webcomic is the creation, and copyright, of Randall Munroe.

Ten Things

A slightly eccentric mix for this month’s Ten Things

Ten Desert Island Discs

[Yes, I know the radio programme Desert Island Discs asks only for eight records, but this is Ten Things, OK?]

  1. Monteverdi, 1610 Vespers
  2. Bach, Christmas Oratorio
  3. Yes, Close to the Edge
  4. Pink Floyd, Wish You were Here
  5. Beatles, Let It Be
  6. Handel, Messiah
  7. Granados, Piano Works
  8. William Byrd, The Battle
  9. Caravan, In the Land of Grey and Pink
  10. Moody Blues, Octave

Book of Gloria

I posted about this on Facebook earlier, but it’s so brilliant I have to say more here.

Earlier today on the intertubes I came across the Bible in Polari. Those who know Polari, or are old enough to remember Julian and Sandy from the radio show Round the Horne, will guess how much of a hoot it is. Here, for example, are the first five verses of Genesis …

1 In the beginning Gloria created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was nanti form, and void; and munge was upon the eke of the deep. And the Fairy of Gloria trolled upon the eke of the aquas.
3 And Gloria cackled, Let there be sparkle: and there was sparkle.
4 And Gloria vardad the sparkle, that it was bona: and Gloria medzered the sparkle from the munge.
5 And Gloria screeched the sparkle journo, and the munge she screeched nochy. And the bijou nochy and the morning were the first journo.

And here, the Immaculate Conception from Luke 1:26-35 …

26 And in the seyth month the fairy Gabriel was laued from Gloria unto a smoke of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a nanti charver espoused to a homie whose name was Josephine, of the lattie of Davina; and the nanti charver‘s name was Mary.
28 And the fairy trolled in unto her, and cackled, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Duchess is with thee: fabed art thou among palones.
29 And when she vardad her, she was troubled at her cackling, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the fairy cackled unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with Gloria.
31 And, varda, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and parker forth a homie chavvie, and shalt screech her name Josie.
32 She shall be dowry, and shall be screeched the homie chavvie of the Highest: and the Duchess Gloria shall parker unto her the throne of her Auntie Davina:
33 And she shall reign over the lattie of Jacob for ever; and of her kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then cackled Mary unto the fairy, How shall this be, vardaing I know not a homie?
35 And the fairy answered and cackled unto her, The Fantabulosa Fairy shall troll upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that fabulosa fakement which shall be born of thee shall be screeched the homie chavvie of Gloria.

Brilliant isn’t it?!

Incidentally it’s worth downloading the PDF version, even though it is big, as it contains some wonderfully captioned “old style” images (“Gethsemane had always been a notorious cruising ground”) and a huge dictionary of Polari.

What I find interesting is how much Polari has passed into modern parlance (possibly as some was stolen from existing dialect like Cockney and entered the modern English from there). Just in writing this I’ve noticed acdc, troll, barney, butch, drag … the list goes on!

This is what I find so entrancing about language: not just the fun but the interplay between language, dialect, argot and idiolect. And I love it when something in one form is translated into another, but remains amusingly intelligible to speakers of the original – as here and as with the Pidgin of Papua New Guinea for Prince Charles: nambawan pikinini bilong Mises Kwin.

Just excellent!