In Sanity We Trust

...Broken News...
January 2008

Grist for the Mill

Reminders of the prehistoric past keep surfacing in a rich dinosaur graveyard in southern England. What a girl named Mary Anning found there in the 1800s began to dismantle the Bible's account of creation -- and anticipated the theory of evolution.

Spiegel Online - England's 'Jurassic Coast' Yields Subversive Dinosaur Fossils

Customer Review of a Ball Point Pen

Remember a little thing called the space-time continuum? Well what if the time part of the equation was literally running out? New evidence is suggesting that time is slowly disappearing from our universe, and will one day vanish completely. This radical new theory may explain a cosmological mystery that has baffled scientists for years.

New Statesman - Wild, Wild, East - Soviet-era cowboy films have inspired politicians, writers and cosmonauts alike

Washington Post - The completely mad Don Martin. The cartoonist who made Mad magazine truly mad for more than 30 years.

The Daily Galaxy - Is Time Literally Slowing Down and Disappearing From the Universe?

Watching the Grass Grow

Cricket is a curious invention of the English, a game that takes five days to play and usually ends in a draw (Except of course if Australia are playing or the teams are badly mismatched e.g. if Australia is playing), great for loafers and others with time on their hands, a perfect occasion to sit in the sun, listen to the radio, read the paper and suck on a few beers.

OK they were only playing Bangladesh but we don't often get a test match in Dunedin these days. We couldn't have asked for a better day either as we soaked in the sun and the amber fluid was flowing. The University Oval became the 96th venue in test cricket. Don't ask me why they can't play them at Carisbrook any more, it's political..... It would also be an opportunity to see Jacob Oram at the crease and he didn't disappoint notching up his fourth test century in quick fashion. Mathew Bell also made a ton. The tail didn't really wag with just captain Daniel Vettori adding 32. Chris Martin coming in last was roundly applauded as he saw the fist delivery safely off, then as he scored his first run, then as growing in confidence he found the boundary, reaching double figures and then finally leaving the field with a test cricket high score of 12 runs not out.

New Zealand Vs Bangladesh, First Test, University Oval, Dunedin.

During the match Glenn and Greg Turner came and sat beside me as I perched on a window sill just by the sight screens. They are pretty close to sporting aristocracy in this country. Glenn Turner was the first player since WW2 to score 100 runs before May in England (Graeme Hick is the other), and is in good company with Don Bradman the only other players to do it as part of a touring side. Turner was something of a bad boy of NZ cricket and after falling out with administrators was unavailable for NZ selection for a number of years. During that time he concentrated on English county cricket, only returning to the international stage late in his career. He remains one of our best ever performers with a career average of 44.64 in tests and 47.0 in ODI. His brother Greg is a seasoned golf pro who has performed well on the Australasian and European golf tours. Another brother Brian, represented NZ in hockey and is an award winning author, poet and newspaper columnist.

No I didn't bother them, I'm sure they've had enough of cretins from the public. It is one thing I like about this country though, that sports stars (and others) can get about freely without being molested too much. I went to a game years ago when the Windies played Otago at Carisbrook. Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh took a stroll on the terraces. The chicks were all over them of course, I suppose that level of molestation would be tolerable for them. I remember seeing Curtly at the MCG in 1995, the Boxing Day test. The "Collapso Calypsos" hadn't won a single match on tour, even going down to teams such as the Wallamagoogoo U13s second 11. Finally on the third day of the test Ambrose got it right and ripped through the Australian batting line up, the Windies scored the required runs and had the match sown up. 70,000 quiet Australians, a marvelous day.

The Bangladeshis returned to the field, their openers putting together an unbeaten 148 run partnership at around 5 runs per over as the kiwis failed to capitalise on their superior position. On day three they got it together though after breaking the opening stand at 161 (record for all wickets for the tourists) they dismissed the rest of the batting line up fairly cheaply to notch up a relatively easy win.

Can't wait til the poms get here......

Tobacco Flavoured Ice Cream:
Unpalatable Ignorance and Dangerous Dogma

Ben. C. Vidgen courtesy of Deadline Magazine

"If these writings of the Greek agree with the book of god, they are useless and need not be preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious and ought to be destroyed"

- Calip Umar - the second sacking of Alexandria 640 Ad (aprox).

"We had been serving a crab ice cream to accompany a risotto of crab. I was interested in how the description of the ice cream made a world of difference to the perception and acceptance of the ice cream. Calling it crab ice cream creates a barrier for the taster and a level of sweetness that in reality is less perceived. The response however, when told that this is in fact frozen crab bisque, is totally different. The barrier comes down and the ice cream can be tasted for what it is.

- Heston Blmenthal - The Fat Duck.

Andrew Spiegel of Sargood, Edgewater resort, Wanaka set out to make tobacco infused ice cream, frustrated by smokers leaving the table and "interrupting the flow of the table". First he checked to see if there were any legal consequences. There were so Spiegel, using pinot noir canes, and vanilla pods and substitutes, created a tobacco "flavored" ice cream instead. In theory this is where the story should have ended, however Spiegel's ice cream then got "political". A fact I found out when speaking to the Edgewater's management who were unwilling to let me interview Spiegel. The Edgewater's attitude followed protests from Action on Smoking and Health spokesman Becky Freeman and nutritionist Otago University Professor Mann. Normally I'm loath to use the phrase 'political correctness gone mad', a term generally used by card carrying members of the KK pissed off at the fact that lynching "niggers" is no longer considered an acceptable way to enjoy Friday night. In this case the description is accurate, the for mentioned agents of decency and good living representing different sides of the same coins of intolerance and close mindedness as their own words prove.

"I couldn't think of anything more disgusting than the suggested idea that people need nicotine" replied Freeman. How the anti-tobacco spokesperson, with the ironic surname, formed the conclusion that tobacco flavored ice cream could brainwash people into then buying cigarettes continues to baffle me (and makes me slightly curious as to the exact content of her freezer). Yet Becky is right nicotine is disgusting, now having said that run an (unlit) Macanudo cigar under our nose. Personally the tobacco of these Jamaican beauties conjures up images of brown sugar, Turkish coffee, and Russian fudge.

"A ridiculous gimmick" intoned Mann "this is taking a not particularly healthy food and adding another inappropriate component" (you just know Christmas dinner at the Mann household's a bunch of fun don't you). In the effort to pursue personal crusades the two are guilty of smashing square pegs into round holes, and in the process they have , so I believe (not been able to interview Spiegel we will never know for sure) missed the real point behind Spiegel's tobacco flavoured ice cream. The ability to isolate and then engineer flavours, to bring the good out of the ugly, is for a chef essential; careers live or die upon this form of alchemy. A point underlined by Chef Heston Blumenthal, owner of the Fat Duck (, a three Michelin star restaurant, consistently ranked as being one of the top three establishments in the world by any guide you care to name. In July 2005 Blumenthal was awarded an honorary doctorate from Reading University for his work into isolating flavors. Blumenthal's research, using chemists and psychologists, ranges from detecting disease by smell to rekindling faded palates (as suffered by the elderly and long term smokers). Becky and Mann could have learned a thing or two had they taken the opportunity from Spiegel in relation to the science of gastronomy, which as Blumenthal reveals has implications that should be of interest to anyone involved in nutrition or smoking related health issues. Instead acting like Jim the Eagle ("under all that fur they're naked you know") the two chose to soap box denounce that which they did not understand while hindering those who wanted to learn. All of which proves yet again that inflexible dogmas are clearly as dangerous and unpalatable as nicotine will ever be.

Deadline: January 26, 2006