In Sanity We Trust

...Broken News...

Radio-active Cows

At the Ohio Agricultural Experimental Station experimenters are listening to Geiger counters held close to the stomachs of cows. The reason? They are trying to find ways to get more milk production. Radio-active particles in harmless doses put into the cow's food are followed with the Geiger counter through her inside and into the milk pail. The atomic "tracer" particles apparently reveal how certain food elements affect udder activity.

--New Zealand Free Lance Pictorial Weekly
Friday November 2, 1956

Today is Friday August 24, the 236th day of 2007. On this day in 79 Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the italian towns of Pompei and Herculaneum.

Only 15 days until the opening games in the world cup of Rugby Football in France.


BBC - Papua New Guinea apologizes for cannibalism.


Black Country Rock? - History of "Bostin"
Sanzhi - Abandonned futuristic housing complex in Taiwan.
Panelling Parallax - The Fearful Symmetry of William Blake and Alan Moore
This is London - A therapist has been accused of taking advantage of a patient with a split personality - using one of her alter egos for sex, another to be his cleaner and a third to lend him cash for holidays.

Science and Technology

Hurtling Toward Mars - By the time you finish reading this sentence, you'll be 25 miles closer to the planet Mars.
The Daily Mash - Giant Magnifying Glass Revealed as Cause of Global Warming

Gratuitous File Photo #364 Imogen Baily for PETA

Apple iTunes

The Worst-Ever Novelist

In the 1940s ardent admirers claimed that Mrs. Amanda McKittrick Ros was the worst novelist in Englsih or any other language. Nothing has changed since to alter this happy state of affairs. Born in 1861, Amanda Malvina Fitzalan Anna Margaret McLelland McKittrick Ros was also a manager of the local lime kiln.

Blessed with the gift of alliteration, this Belfast housewife wrote four novels: Delina Delaney, Irene Idesleigh, Donald Dudley, and Helen Huddleson (in which Lord Raspberry pays unwanted attentions to a country girl). On a typical day characters like Rodney Rupert, Oscar Otwell, and Marjorie Mason feel able to say,

"Leave me now deceptive demon of deluded mockery. Lurk no more around the vale of vanity, like a vindictive viper."

Her style was full of such burning intensity that mere sense was rarely allowed to interfere with it. Her characters never sit in a room, they are "sharing it's midst"; nothing is ever white - female hands passing clouds and certain tablecloths are always "snowy"; and troublesome women are "most retorting". Trousers, meanwhile, are the "southern necessity. She is also fond of the word "mushroom", which appears more often than is strictly required.

Transcending conventional grammar she often began with a phrase which properly belonged to the previous sentence. The following is a typical example:

Her uncle replied "Ah Dear Helen, I feel heart sick of this frivolous frittery fraternity of fragiles flitting round and about Earth's huge wearing their mourning livery of religion as a cloak of design tainted with the milk of mockery," wiping his moistened brow with a crimson handkerchief, while Helen acquiesced, Henry Jnr. remaining silent.

She was a stout woman given to black hair-nets, who had the words "At home always to the honourable" printed on her calling cards. Rightly convinced of her own genius, she condemmed all critics of her work as donkeyosities, egotistical earthworms, hog-washing hooligans, critic cads, random hacks of illiteration, talent wipers of wormy order, the gas-bag section, poking hounds, poisonous apes, maggoty numbskulls, evilminded snapshots of spleen and, worst of all, the mushroom class of idiotics.

Although her novels were unforgivably out of print soon after publication, she said:

"I feel I am a great favourite as a writer. I will be talked about at the end of a thousand years. I afford pleasure and give satisfaction to themillion and one who continually thirst for aught from my pen. I also know I write differently from any known writer or organizer of prose."

The World's Worst Poet

Having exhausted the possibilities of the novel, Amanda McKittrick Ros turned her talents to the poetic field. She produced two volumes, entitled Poems of Puncture and Fumes of Formation. The remarkable thing about her poetry was it's range. She could write religious verse as in her Ode to Easter:

Dear Lord, the day of eggs is here.

and in The Engineer Divine she discusses the possibility of an electrified railway to heaven:

The vurrent of faith from the battery of prayer
Can act on the magnet of love.
With movements prduced by a Motor Divine
Which matchless perfection displays,
The engine of Truth as it runs up the line
The Train of Salvation conveys

As a war poet she had similar conviction

We know you'll do your duty and come to little harm
And if you meet the Kaiser, chop off his other arm.

Her descriptive verse was also able to catch the spirit of a place, as in her reflective lines upon Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey:

Holy Moses! Take a look!
Flesh decayed in every nook,
Some rare bits of brain lie here,
Mortal loads of beef and beer.

When in more savage mood, she launched vitriolic attacks on lawyers. She wrote an entire poem, for example, denouncing Mickey "Monkey-face" McBlear, a local solicitor who had the audacity to represent her opponents in a lawsuit.

Above all Mrs. Ros was a moralist. In her poem I Love to see a Lady Nice and Natural at any Price she inveighs at the modern woman who behaves like a man:

And smoke and spit, no matter where
And very often, curse and swear,
I lose my temper o'er these arts
That stamp such women - Dirty Clarts.


Scam Victim Reimbursement

We have been accustomed to clearing out large volumes of spam around here, this latest from the "Nigerian Government" an innovative variation on a well worked scam.

It started out so:

SCAM VICTIM REIMBURSEMENT. I write to bring to your notice as a delegate from the Nigerian Government Reimbursement

committee under the strict supervision of the United Nations to pay 230 Nigerian 419 scam victims the sum of $150,000 USD (One Hundred and Fifty Thounsand Dollars) each. You are hereby listed as one of the beneficiaries for these payments.You are expected to get back to us as soon as possible for your immediate reimbursement..........

It seems there are banking that if you are dumb enough to go for it the first time chances are you'll take the bait a second time around.

ABC News: The Blotter - Scamming You Twice: New E-mail Scam Targets Past Victims

We are also informed that spammers are moving away from image based spam and are now including document and pdf attatchments. The following is purely text but I haven't seen anything like it:

T.h-i+s g*e-m is reall+y mo+vable! !
T h*i-s o,n*e is rea_lly pro-+fitable!!!
H'a v*e y+o-u b,e-e'n w-at,ching t h_i_s f*o.r t'h e l+a-s t w_e+e.k_?
T*a,k e a l,o_o'k at it:
rec-ent n*e+w's rele+as-es s e-n't ge.n+erating gr'owing int-'erest in C+Y'T*V
Com,p+any: CH,INA YO UTV C,O.R'P (+O-T C BB:CY 'TV.OB)
S t o c k: C.Y+T*V
Cur_rent Pri+ce: $*.-4+9
4+t.h S traig,ht d'a-y's we h'a*v.e s+e+e_n t'h+i's cli,mb. (-S+e'e Yaho'o Char*t- New N e+w.s

I'm still not sure what they're trying to sell!