Is it just me...

...or is this tot sporting a yellow mullet as he unknowingly places his left hand in the great, gaping maw of evil known as the bowling ball return?

Thanks, B-man


And, in breaking news:Mrs. Patricia Starkey is a touch angry. She has found her husband,
Dan "Impulse Control Poster Child" Starkey, locking lips with a 22-year-old party guest. This drove Mrs. Starkey to put Dan’s mint condition copy of ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ under the broiler. Mr. Starkey was heard to relate, "I was upstairs with a girl I shouldn’t have been upstairs with when my wife whispered in my ear, "You have twenty-four hours to move out." Mrs. Starkey later appeared at the girl’s door with a bag of potatoes. Neighbors overheard her say, "If you're going to sleep with him you might as well cook for him too."
It is alleged that after throwing potatoes through every window of the house, she finished up by uttering, "He likes turnips as well. I'll be back tomorrow."

If this story is truly a newsflash for you, then I’d better fill you in on a few things. The real breaking news is that some hapless readers have not had the pleasure of reading Colin Bateman. He was born in Northern Ireland and is a former manager of punk bands and a writer of a snarky column for the Co, Down Spectator. For his efforts, he is also known as the only journalist ever to be sued by the Boys' Brigade (UK Boy Scouts). It is best he left this life behind him.

The legend behind Divorcing Jack almost going unpublished is another classic in the madcap adventures of Colin Bateman. The book languished in a drawer after being rejected by every agent in London. Spurred on by repeated poking from his future wife, he submitted it to the biggest publishing house he could think of--Harper Collins. There, the book landed in the aptly named slush pile. An equally slushed intern was inspired to hold the manuscript to his breast and cry, "Languish no more, oh wondrous text!" It was published within the year and before it even saw the light of a booksellers shop, it earned Bateman the Betty Trask Prize.

And that, dear children, is why Divorcing Jack and all of Bateman’s other marvelous tales, are with us today. They include Chapter & Verse, Murphy’s Law, Wild About Harry, Mohammed Maguire, Shooting Sean, Turbulent Priests, Maid of the Mist, Empire State, Of Wee Sweetie Mice and Men, Cycle of Violence, and, of course, ‘Divorcing Jack. His writing repertoire now includes screenplays for movies and television series. I was amused and suitably impressed when he took the time to answer a few questions in between an amount of projects that would awe the busiest multi tasker.

When I heard you were a Clash fan I put ‘London Calling’ on and paged through an interview in a 1977 copy of ‘Search and Destroy’ with Joe Strummer. I can really see it in your writing. I was thinking of Dan Starkey when I saw the following:
Interview Chick: So what do you do when they try to pick fights with you?
Joe S: I Run! I fuckin’ move it on down the high street!

"That’s not a question that’s a statement. However, I agree with the sentiment, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a proper fight in my life, and although I’m as quiet as a mouse most of the time, I can explode given the right circumstances. Last case in point was calling my wife’s expensive hairdresser a `baldy fucking barber`, which he didn’t appreciate very much."

What is it with Irishmen and the need for grammatical correction?

You know, if you do actually do connive, beg, barter or charm your way to the Bouchercon in Toronto, don't be at all surprised to get a swift kick in the ass (trans: arse). I'll wear my pointiest shoes. And if you see me approach, don't bother running and for God's sake, don't bend over. That, too, is a statement.

So, does being Irish equate with anal-retentive grammar correction from afar?

"Now I’m definitely staying at home. I can get assaulted here for free without paying to go and have it done (and I mean the flights, I’m sure you’d kick me for nothing)."

Well, now that we've gotten threats of violence and semantics out of the way, let's move on to proper questions. There is something I just don’t get after reading almost all of your books. What is it about Dan Starkey that makes him so lucky with women?

"Charm, cheekiness, vulnerability, helplessness and a huge, great...capacity to listen. Although that’s just me, but some of it must rub off on Dan. Oh, and modesty."

This reminds me that besides still really being a child yourself that you have a child. How has being a father changed you?

"Me? Completely. Greatest thing that ever happened, although that doesn’t stop me giving him a clip round the ear hole when he’s cheeky, or tries to give me editorial notes on my children’s book."

I take it the children's books have household approval then?

"Oh yes absolutely, I get to show my son what I can do and why my photograph is always in the paper (those bank robbery charges were never proved)."

I’ve noticed that Reservoir Pups is in pre-order status on Amazon UK. I love the cover. What is it about?

It’s about teenage gangs in Belfast – but it’s really like a Dan Starkey book in that a complete eejit has a scary adventure, but keeps the laughs coming as well. I had huge fun writing it, and have just finished the second in the series, ‘Bring Me the Head of Oliver Plunkett.’

How did fatherhood change Dan Starkey?

"Well that’s a more difficult one, because he wasn’t the father of Patricia’s baby, and was only really starting to appreciate him when they lost him, and that has changed him even more, led to the break up of his marriage and his own descent into poverty and alcohol. Christ, it’s like Angela’s Ashes. I should point out that in the upcoming `Driving Big Davie. ` Dan and Patricia are back together and very happy...until..."

It’s sad that poor Dan has no one to pass on the marvelous gift of talking ones self into trouble. I was eager to see how he would handle a teenage son. He took very good care of the hedgehog in 'Turbulent Priests'.

Now, if you follow your usual title pattern, then I imagine we can expect someone to be driving a large David around. You are a literal creature, aren't you?

"You have me sussed. Turbulent Priests was about....... turbulent priests, Shooting Sean was about......shooting sean......and my next book, Ooops Upside Your Head, I Said Oops Upside Your Head is about carpentry."

OK, it’s official now. I completely adore you. Hey, maybe that’s how Dan got women into bed. Clever…

And it seems others adore you as well.

Arts Minister John McFall, prior to the screening of Divorcing Jack in Belfast said: "Divorcing Jack has made a significant contribution to the local economy as well as putting Northern Ireland on the map through its favorable reception at the Cannes Film Festival."

Are you the local boy done good? A heroic celebrity? A bastion of fame and generosity? The guy always stuck with the beer tab at the end of the night?

"Oh I’m a superstar, particularly around my own house. People don’t always realize that Northern Ireland is a very small place (although it makes a lot of noise), so that when someone does well (and they have to be seen to be doing well abroad, i.e. in London or New York before they’re fully appreciated) they tend to become very well known indeed. So, compared to most writers I’m extremely well known. Although `Divorcing Jack` was my first book, and I’ve written about a dozen others since, I was very much known as the `author of Divorcing Jack`, which after ten years nearly was beginning to become a bit of a burden, but since the recent TV series of `Murphy`s Law` that’s finally shifting to `writer of Murphy`s Law`, because it went down very well (and was particularly huge here in Northern Ireland). I know its recently been sold to BBC America, so it’ll be cropping up there quite soon."

Thank God for small miracles and thank God for BBC America. Maybe this can erase the Rebus debacle from my mind.

So, Jimmy Nesbitt lived up to everyone's expectations?

"Jimmy`s great! Have just watched him on TV in a modernized version of the Canterbury Tales, where he plays the Devil. Very smooth. Murphy`s Law was written for him, and it’s easy to write in his voice as we’re both roughly the same age and from the same part of the world."

In your novels, your depiction of violence causes actual bodily harm and very painful, messy death but is not used as a way to move the plot along. Protagonists actually limp, bleed and succumb to unconsciousness when beaten. The non-psychotic characters react with horror and anger when others are killed. How do you feel about the use of violence in fiction?

"I think it should be compulsory. Particularly in the novels of Saul Bellow. Hasn’t he heard of kidnappings? OR bombs? What world is he living in? Or isn’t he living at all? I don’t know, I’m so out of touch."

Still alive and still Saul "The Pacifist" Bellow.

There are many approaches to writing.

Some authors spend a great deal of time and money on research. When you’re writing about a place or an occupation you’re for the most part unfamiliar with, how do you approach the unknown?

"Make it up! It’s fiction! I don’t do a lot of research - Empire State was a 500-page novel based on a small leaflet they give you when you do the Empire State tour. The world is so familiar to us all now that you don’t really have to do in depth research for certain types of book - i.e. if I say New York, everyone has an instant familiarity with it, so I don’t need to spend like six months living there to get a feel for it. And my characters are usually `fish out of water` characters, i.e. everything is strange and new to them, so they don’t have to be expert in it, you get their first hand reaction to it. For `The Horse With My Name` I happened to be living next door to Ireland’s biggest racecourse, but I only visited once, and didn’t speak to anyone. I bought the local racing paper and familiarized myself with the terminology, but again it was essentially Dan Starkey stumbling around in the dark not knowing what anything meant. Like most journalists."

Surely you have nothing but the highest regard for your former fellows. Don't you think journalism led you to be the great man you are today?

"Absolutely, but I was still an awful journalist, and nearly every journalist is expected to be an expert in every possible subject and they can’t be so they have to wing it. I was never at the cutting edge of journalism. My town only had three bombs in thirty years, but for the last one, which destroyed our Main Street, I was in charge of our newspaper and made an absolute hash of covering it."

As an American, I don’t have a sense of what it’s like to have bombs going off where I live. This happens to so many people all over the globe but it’s new to America (well, unless you live in the inner city). Kind of an asinine question when I think of it but what was it like growing up with that kind of conflict going on around you?

"Well, You see I live in Bangor, which is ten miles from Belfast, but might as well be ten thousand. Up there people were getting killed every day, while down in Bangor, life went on as normal. That’s why I say ‘only’ three bombs in thirty years. It was nothing, but you were always aware of it. I would have been a very different writer if I’d grown up in Belfast, I think, perhaps living in Bangor makes me more of a balanced writer. A chip on each shoulder."

Considering George W. Bush’s "War on Terrorism", should troops be deployed to Northern Ireland?

"NO! We all love each other now."

How would he and Gerry Adams get along?

"Well, one’s the leader of the political wing of an organization responsible for thousands of deaths, and the other is Gerry Adams. They’d get on famously."

Once again, I bow to one of the great ones to crank up a question. In 1977 Mick Jones said, "I thought rock audiences in England were apathetic when we started, but I've never seen as unhealthy a place for rock 'n' roll as America. We might be too late. It may be impossible to wake them up at this point." What do you think about America?

"I absolutely love America, always have, and I’m more aware of American influences in my work than Irish. SO it was a real pain in the arse (trans: ass) when my first big entirely American set book Empire State became the first of my books not to be published there! I was dreaming of dinner with Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, instead I got sacked. But my day will come!"

Has writing and directing films and television changed your writing?

"It’s made me appreciate the novels more, because they’re published as written and usually without any interference (apart from the spelling getting fixed). TV scripts can go through a dozen drafts and only the first is really your own, after that it’s everyone else’s smart ideas. I’m sick to death of writing them at the moment and desperate to get back to books. But they pay the mortgage."

What event in your life has most strongly influenced your writing?

"Probably the absolute freedom I was given as a journalist to write whatever I wanted; I basically taught myself to write by having to produce a column every week. It was supposed to be a gossip column, but not knowing anyone interesting or ever getting invited to parties I ended up making it all up, just nonsense about my imaginary life and it really gave me confidence in what I could do."

What did eight-year old Colin want to be when he grew up besides a snarky writing superstar?

"Nine years old. Or Captain America. Or Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner."

Such innocent and heroic beginnings for a man that grew to be so… noir.

Now that’s a question. What is noir?

"Noir is the shorthand term for `Northern Ireland’, which has been applied to a particular style of fiction that blossomed here before the Second World War in our church magazines. Because these had previously featured church sermons they were commonly known as `pulpit` magazines, later shortened to pulp. Leading exponents of this pulp fiction included Jimmy Joyce, whose seminal murder mystery `Finnegan’s Wake` was written entirely in Gaelic, and then translated so badly back into English by the famous `Blind Drunk` Willie McShoe that it made no sense whatsoever; and also W.B. `Warner Brothers` Yeats whose comic verses and limericks had them rolling in the aisles before he was snapped up by a visiting American film producer. Although neither Joyce or Yeats made it in Hollywood, they exerted a major influence over a struggling author and part-time Shakespeare impersonator Dashiell Hamlet and studio lighting chief Raymond Chandelier who went on to produce their own somewhat inferior versions of `noir` fiction."

Speaking of noir, most people I’ve spoken with cite ‘Cycle of Violence’ as their favorite Bateman book. I think it’s your darkest and your funniest. You weave the two elements together so beautifully without the storyline breaking stride. What is the magic behind this feat?

"Like I’m going to say, yeah, it was magic.

It was okay.

The early chapters are hugely autobiographical, especially the scenes in the undertakers, which are word for word what happened when my father died. I wrote Divorcing Jack and nobody wanted to publish it, so I presumed it wasn’t any good and put it away; but I enjoyed the writing process, so I started Cycle of Violence and it was just about finished when `Divorcing Jack` got accepted. So these two books are the purest - i.e. written without any expectation of being published, or any worries about sales or reviews etc."

Your latest book, Chapter & Verse, was delightful. Ivan Connor seemed to embody most of the annoying characteristics I've witnessed in literary icons that have gotten too big for their proverbial britches. And, I never knew ducks could bring out such a nurturing side of men. Is Ivan a happily ever after kind of guy?

"Well, and one day I’ll let you see this, part of the book was cut shortly before publication because it felt superfluous - an epilogue where we joined Ivan about five years later when he was a coke addled mess having done Hollywood but lost out at the Oscars to a film about a deaf Mountie called No Ears, Big Horse. The only reason I agreed to the cut was because I thought it wouldn’t be missed, and also because it would make a good place to start a second Ivan Connor book. But whether that happens or not is another thing."

That reminds me! What was your Cannes Film Festival experience like?

"Fantastic! Being hangover sick over a palm tree while the beautiful people cruised past! Poster for Divorcing Jack next to Bruce Willis’ "Armageddon" poster, and everyone talking about mine! Buyers having fist fights trying to get into a showing! Meeting the ninth re-write man on Steven Segal pictures!

Parties! Drink! Sun! Making a documentary about my time there. Terrible place to be if you haven’t got a decent movie with you, and not designed for writers at all – Deal! Deal! Deal! – but as long as you’re not trying to sell yourself and you get to go to all the parties, it’s fantastic. Sorry, I meant to be laid back and dismiss it as a lot of industry back slapping - so what, as long as my back is the one being slapped and the drink’s free, the more the merrier."

The more the merrier certainly seems to be your approach to work. How many projects do you usually have going at one time?

"Many dozens, literally. I just get bored easily, so I divide things up into single weeks – one week to write a 60 minute TV script, one week to do a re-write, one week to do five chapters of a book…. A flit about….and only because I say yes to too many things because I’m in this totally unexpected position of being a proper WRITER and people keep asking me to do things and I can’t quite bring myself to say no in case they don’t ask again. Sad but true."

You wrote and directed your first movie recently. How did "The Devil You Know" come together?

"Because even though I’m useless with people, actors, and technical things, like light bulbs and cameras, I’m a huge movie buff and when somebody asked if I fancied directing a short film I just said yes without thinking about it. Five years ago I would rather have stuck needles in my eyes, but I’ve become a lot more confident in my abilities over the years – and there’s also a kind of Northern Irish realism as well, as in, I may not be the greatest director, but I can be just as bad as the others.

‘The Devil You Know’ was a short story I wrote for an anthology a few years ago – ‘Crime Time’ something like that – which I re-wrote with a supernatural twist for this short film. It isn’t an awful film – too ambitious for the special effects I could afford, so it looks pretty crap, but I had great fun and had planned to direct another this month (September 2003) but have had to postpone because of other commitments. I will return."

You’ve been compared to so many people and now someone is finally being compared to you.

Is Zane Radcliffe (award winning author of London Irish and Big Jessie) a literary clone; if so, why isn’t he more prolific?

"I (indirectly) got Zane his publishing deal, and now he’s sells more books than me!

He’s not so prolific because he has a proper job still. I’m doing a reading with him in my hometown next week. Clearly he will be the support act, and in true support act tradition I will interfere with his sound system so that he sounds really crap, while I soar with the eagles. (One of these nights…)"

Why should some inexperienced and seriously deprived reader stop reading this interview (besides the fact that it’s over) and begin purchasing your entire book backlog?

"I don’t think they should, actually. When I wanted to be a writer, I liked to read about how author writers wrote rather than what they actually did write. So, I’m extremely well informed about quite a number of America’s best writers, without actually having read any of their fiction. It’s like when you form a band as a teenager; you get a name for your group, miss out on the learning the guitar and writing songs stage, and go straight to having your sexy photo taken.

Also I’m extremely shallow and I have the attention span of a gnat. (So if I had become a songwriter I could have been Gnat King Cole.) However, I’m also cool and trendy and the next big thing, so if you absolutely insist on buying my books for your lonely, elderly relatives at Christmas, you should say that you heard about me first, and explain to them that these books are so special they are only available as high priced imports and thus will not only give hours of fun but are also are also an investment for the future. Like Enron.

Now a question my brother Paul feels the answer to really defines a man. What one thing do you wish you hadn’t wasted money on?

"The electric guitar and amp. Even the three chords of punk were two too many. And also that synthesizer I bought in the early eighties. The only sound I ever got out of it made people run from buildings because they thought the smoke alarm had gone off."

Who wrote the book of love?

"Insert witty response here. Interview subject off to cut wrists at memory of doomed love affair."

The irony of having Colin Bateman say ‘Insert witty response here,’ is not lost on me. This is the author I turn to when none of the books I’ve picked up read right and he is the author I invariably read in one sitting. All he’s got is a small laptop, one chord and the truth. And I say to him, "Write on…"

Please Explain.


Is this what my ancestors ate?

The Hunt begins on 30 November at 12 p.m.

Check the Haggis Cams to see if you can spot the little blighters.

Here are Ten Things You Never Knew About Haggis

Play the Haggis Hurl!

The World Haggis Hurling Championships have taken off again backed by McKean Foods - the official sponsors of this long overdue event.

Haggis Hurling dates back to early Scottish Clan Gatherings, where the women folk would toss a haggis across a stream to their husbands, who would catch the haggis in their kilts. Why they did this is anyone's guess.

The present World Record for Haggis Hurling has been held by Alan Pettigrew for over 18 years! He once threw a 1lb 8oz haggis 180' 10'' on the island of Inchmurrin on Loch Lomond in August 1984.


If you're itching to make you own haggis, this is the place for you.


Just buy some (US or UK) and savor the lovely taste as you wash it down with... anything you can get your hands on. Vegetarian haggis also available (Check out the Can 'o Vegetarian Haggis!).

P.G. Wodehouse has a few words to share about the meaty sausage:

"The fact that I am not a haggis addict is probably due to my having read Shakespeare. It is the same with many Englishmen. There is no doubt that Shakespeare has rather put us off the stuff.... You remember the passage to which I refer? Macbeth happens upon the three witches while they are preparing the evening meal. They are dropping things into the cauldron and chanting "Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog," and so on, and he immediately recognises the recipe. "How now, you secret, black and midnight haggis," he cries shuddering.

This has caused misunderstandings and has done an injustice to haggis. Grim as it is, it is not as bad as that-- or should not be. What the dish really consists of -- or should consist of -- is the more intimate parts of a sheep chopped up fine and blended with salt, pepper, nutmeg, onions, oatmeal, and beef suet. But it seems to me that there is a grave danger of the cook going all whimsey and deciding not to stop there. When you reflect that the haggis is served up with a sort of mackintosh round it, concealing its contents, you will readily see that the temptation to play a practical joke on the boys must be almost irresistible. Scotsmen have their merry moods, like all of us, and the thought must occasionally cross the cook's mind that it would be no end of a lark to shove in a lot of newts and frogs and bats and dogs and then stand in the doorway watching the poor simps wade into them....

An odd thing--ironical, you might say-- in connection with haggis is that it is not Scottish. In an old cook book, published 1653, it is specifically mentioned as an English dish called haggas or haggus, while France claims it as her mince (hachis) going about under an alias. It would be rather amusing if it turned out that Burns was really a couple of Irish boys named Pat and Mike."

Of course, any gathering where Haggis will be eaten must have a reciting of Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat;
And some wad eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit.

and then the immortal Robert Burns poem, ADDRESS TO A HAGGIS!

You can get a complete Burns Supper and hold a Burn's Supper (January 25) of you own! Oh, there must be whiskey. Don't forget the whisky.


Best Admit it Now

This makes me vulnerable to attack but I may as well admit it.

I fucking hate, detest, abhor, loathe and despite Christmas music. Some songs more than others but all songs are included.

There we are.

I feel better having gotten that off my chest.

Thank you.


Born to lose, live to win.

Q. Hi Lemmy. Is it worth bothering about people calling you a pervert because you touched a few girls arses while you were pissed?

A. Depends if you leered suggestively at them while doing it. That is not perversion. Perversion is 2lbs of chicken feathers, a swing, 4 gallons of vodka, 10 poppers, an iguana, a boy scout outfit & and large, greased maglite. THAT is perversion!

Lemmy Kilminster, lead singer of Motörhead and former singer of Hawkwind, took time out from the band's 30th anniversary tour to give an important anti-drug message to his fans. Note that is not anti-drugs, just anti-drug. And the drug is herion.

It's the subject of his song Dead Men Tell No Tales, and in an interview on Motorhead's website, he said heroin had killed "a lot of my generation."

"It's the only drug I hate."

His hatred of the drug is so strong, he once turned in a dealer to the police. The dealer wound up in jail but was freed in about six months.

"It turns them into thieves and liars," Lemmy said. "It removes them from the social circle. All they are thinking about is junk."

On November 3rd, he shared a platform with Conservative AM William Graham on the fatal dangers of the drug. It is Lemmy's feeling that making herion legal would allow it to be taxed, regulated and away from drug dealers.

"They will do anything. They will sell everything they've got and steal yours and sell that."

Lemmy feels legalisation is the only way. "You can't keep people from doing what makes them feel good. The reason they do heroin in the first place is because of the oblivion it gives them.

When asked why he targets only heroin in his crusade, Lemmy answered "Heroin is the only one that kills."

You can read Lemmy's autobiography, White Line Fever, for a look at the effects of drugs other than herion. Although Lemmy has never taken heroin, he once took enough speed to keep him awake for two weeks and reckons that acid made him a better person.

“It’s the only drug that really does that,” he recalls. “It made me more aware and helped me realise what other people are about. But I wouldn’t recommend my lifestyle to anyone. It would kill most people.”

A little interview with Playboy may reveal more than you ever wanted to know about the man.

Q. Lemmy: have you ever been so drunk during a concert that the lyrics came out wrong? Like We Are the Road Kill? Or Ace of Spayed? or Bummer instead of Bomber? The audience probably would not know the difference anyway because Motorhead's the loudest band on the planet. Just wondering.

A. Well, for two years I sang "the eight of spades" and no one noticed.


...do I have the theme from Dynasty in my head?

By Request

Jim Winter asked for it.

B-b-b-b-b-b-uffer de la cuteness!

Another British Memo on the Loose

2002 saw the United States involved in an accidental bombing of an Afghan wedding celebration, apparently killing and wounding a large number of civilians. The errant bomb story was later changed.

In 2003, America destroyed the Baghdad offices of al-Jazeera with missiles; officials said it was an accident. A few journalist were killed as well leading some countries to accuse America of war crimes.

Now, two British civil servants are on trial for leaking a memo revealing that Bush intended to bomb al-Jazeera... at their headquarters in allied Qatar.

"There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.

"He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

"There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do - and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."

A Government official suggested that the Bush threat had been "humorous, not serious".

But another source declared: "Bush was deadly serious, as was Blair. That much is absolutely clear from the language used by both men."

Al-Jazeera said it was still investigating the validity of the memo and whether the US president was "serious" about his alleged comments or not, but warned that if it was credible it was a "bad day" for news organisations worldwide.

Yesterday, former Labour Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle challenged Downing Street to publish the five-page transcript of the two leaders' conversation. Said Kilfoyle, "It's frightening to think that such a powerful man as Bush can propose such cavalier actions."


Which do you want to read more of?

Here are the first lines to a few articles.

Which is the most intriguing?

WHEN A BULL whale comes at you with an erect penis, it's nine feet long,” said Gregory Colbert, aiming a fork at his Caesar salad. It'’s like a torpedo. And you'd better get out of the way, fast.

I believe that there is no God.

Naked dead bodies are found every year in the dense forests north of Saint Petersburg. The bodies have no evidence of violent death.

A freighter containing 62,000 metric tons of popular impotence drug Viagra struck a reef and sank in Lake Michigan today.

At first, Afghan immigrant Haider Sediqi, 40, paid little attention when he found the small brown pouch in the back of his car after dropping off a fare at Los Angeles airport.

A MAN sought the help of a medium after he got tired of a female ghost who wanted to have sex with him every night for the last 16 years.

The fashion industry is ignoring the changing shapes of women's bodies, a study claims today.

Highway to Mullets!

No one can deny the power of the rock 'n roll mullet.

And no one wore it better than AC/DC's
Bon Scott.
July 9, 1946
in Kirriemuir, Scotland.

In May of this last year, the Kirriemuir Gateway to the Glens Museum in Scotland began displaying a small exhibition in memory of Scott. Although limited by the size of the building, the museum has early photographs of Scott as a child as well as array of AC/DC memorabilia donated by Neil McDonald.

The museum can be contacted at
Kirriemuir - Gateway to the Glens Museum
The Town House,
32 High Street,

Telephone - 0 (44) 1575 575479
or via e-mail at kirriegateway@angus.gov.uk


You know I'm rarely respectful.

President George W.Bush, after a day of meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other Chinese officials,was irritated by a reporter.

"Respectfully, sir -- you know we're always respectful -- in your statement this morning with President Hu, you seemed a little off your game, you seemed to hurry through your statement. There was a lack of enthusiasm. Was something bothering you?" he asked.

"Have you ever heard of jet lag?" Bush responded. "Well, good. That answers your question."

Bush then went over positive developments from his Beijing meetings and was even seen sporting a small smirk.

The irksome reporter then asked for "a very quick follow-up." Bush cut him off by thanking the press corps and telling the reporter "No you may not." He strode purposefully and manfully toward the set of double doors leading out of the room.

He was thwarted by locked doors.

"I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work."

I can't even begin to relate how deeply amused I am.

Oh, and here's the video. And here's another link in case that one's on the fritz.

What were you in a past life?

Find out here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Or here.


The history, virility and outright cleverness of cursing is long and varied.

And you'll never hear better curses than those given in Yiddish and Gaelic, particularly by the Irish. This goes well beyond the basic curse, which run towards lineage and belongings. No, Yiddish and Irish curses take the time to strip you down, slap you about the face then push you over a cliff.

If you're looking to be nasty in your ancestor's tongue, Swearasurus and Insults.net have got you covered. A little French-Quebec? "Fourre to l'doigt dans l'cul!" or "Stick your finger up your ass!" How about a little German scurrility? Schnoodle noodle (which doesn't sound very horrifying) means (joyously) dick snot.

Of course, you could always get Biblical on someone's proverbial ass with the Biblical Curse Generator.

When annoyed, irritated or affronted, why resort to the oft used damn you or fuck you when a wonderous world of schnoodle noodle is just a short click away?


Just the facts, ham.

This is what you've been waiting for all your life:

The top thirty random facts about Chuck Norris!

Here's something you were no doubt unaware of:

Chuck Norris was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the gift of "beard". Jesus wore it proudly to his dying day. The other Wisemen, jealous of Jesus' obvious gift favoritism, used their combined influence to have Chuck omitted from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kick related deaths.

I Had No Idea

He so good at hiding things.

So good at burying his emotions.

And all along, underneath it all, was a Muppet ready to crack.

You think you know Grover?

You don't.

Read about the Muppet behind the myth.


I am an obsolete skill

France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
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Otter Chaos

I think we're all in agreement. Otters are terminally cute (warning: streaming WMV). National Geographic knows this and has set up an Otter Cam in the home of two people lucky enough to raise the little scamps for a living. Whole research projects are underway to study the fiesty buggers.

Some otters are endangered but adoring humans have come to their rescue.

It has come to this humans attention that otters thrive even in the cold waters off Scotland's shores. The people of Durham County in Britain have banded together to save their version of mollusk eating Lutra lutra. This kind of otter used to live as far east as Japan but Asiasan culture has developed an ability to hunt things to exinction without a second thought. Hunting them is now banned world-wide but bans don't stop poachers. World War II did have quite an impact, though.

But the Federal Government, known for a lack of cuteness and more than occasional global gaffs, is wrapping their heads around a new idea. Otters are pretty darn smart! And they have no respect for the beleagured shellfish industry. No respect at all. Awww.

The giant otters of Peru enjoy eating snakes and oddly no one seems to mind that. The whisker-faced ones have been known to take on python of medium size or smaller.

This is a creature we all must strive to preserve before it disappeares in the blink of a flipper.


Tonight, tonight,

They'll be some snow tonight,
And the world will be covered in white.
Today, the sky is gray and gloomy,
The gloom is all pervasive,
And all is quiet cold.


She binded me with dermis!

"The bynding of this booke is all that remains of my deare friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King btesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace."
Juan Gutierrez's
Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias Hispaniae liber II
(Madrid : Juan dela Cuesta, 1605-1606)

The process of using human skin in bookbinding (anthropodermic binding) was common during the 17th century. While the binding resembles a leather substance more than skin these days, it still has a very odd texture.

The process of using human skin lasted up until the middle of the 18th century. European countries, and some in the Far East, were the main cultures that used the process, but is is not known to have been used in the United States.

It is said that anthropodermic binding was very common, mostly because human skin was inexpensive and widely available.

In the 19th century, book bindings in human skin captured the romantic notions of the upper class, and anthropodermic bindings became more common. A frequent subject of such bindings were anatomy textbooks, which doctors and medical students may have had bound in the skin of cadavers they had dissected.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has at least four anthropodermic bindings, including one from a sailor's skin with a tattoo still visible. It seems that a 19th century South Jersey doc, Stoughton Hough, would tan the hides of derelicts in a chamber pot and use the leather for ... well, where was Clarice Starling when we really needed her, eh?

Dr. Eugene H. Wilson, director of the University of Colorado Libraries, ferretted out another example of human skin dressed like parchment, cited as Item 351 in LIst 24 of Paul F. Veith,
4117 Dryades Street, New Orleans 15:"Gutierrez (Ionne), Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias hispaniae primae partis nouae collectionis regiae libri I. et II . . . . cum duplici indice, altero legum regni, altero materiarum. Quarto. (Vellum?) (34), 794(1) pp. Madrid, 1606.

A manuscript note at the end claims that the binding is the skin of one John Wright. However, the custodians of the Harvard University Law Library, which purchased this volume, have been unable to identify John Wright or to substantiate the allegation that the vellum is of human origin.

Perhaps the most amusingly related anecdote about human skin bindings is in Dard Hunter's 'My Life with Paper.' He tells of a young widow who commissioned a memorial volume from the Roycrofters when he worked there, which was bound in her late husband's skin. He later sees a notice of her remarriage, and wonders if her new husband sees himself as Volume 2.

The town museum at Bury Saint Edmunds in Suffolk, England, has book bound in the skin of William Corder, who murdered Maria Martin in the Red Barn. The same display case also contains one of his ears and the pistols and knives with which he did the deed.

In the small town of Springfield, Oregon, Donal Russell's last wish was to have his body skinned and his hide tanned like leather. Strangle, local funeral directors' objected. His widow has asked for a judge to intervene as she quests to honor Donal's request.

Donal, a poet and fly fisherman who ran a fly-tying business called 'Russell's Bug House', died Feb. 3 at age 62. His will, signed Dec. 17, directed that his body "be skinned from the head down and tanned for the purpose of face binding volumes of my verse."

Hidden within the archives of the of the Ned McWherter Library in Memphis, Tennessee, is the 400-year-old book Lidolatrie Huguenote, a French-Catholic response to Protestantism.

"A Russian poet is said lately to have offered to the lady of his affections a collection of his sonnets bound in leather--human leather--which the poet himself furnished! On falling from his horse one day he broke his thigh, and being obliged to undergo amputation, he had the skin carefully tanned and reserved from some purpose
of the kind."

Harvard's libraries have a veritable treasure trove of Anthropodermic Bibliopegy. "Notable specimens include: a copy of the Koran at the Cleveland Public Library purportedly bound in the skin of a particularly devout believer who decreed the binding in his will, an autoanthropodermic binding of Jacques Delille's translation of Virgil's Georgics bound by skin surreptitiously stolen from his corpse while it lay in state, and ironic skin-bound copies of Cutaneous Diseases and The Dance of Death."

"When the notorious murderer,
William Burke, was found guilty and hanged in 1829, his body was publicly dissected in the University of Edinburgh's medical school, and his skeleton still hangs there for students to observe. His skin was made into various items, including this pocket book. The pocket book is currently on display in the Surgeons' Hall Museum."

Presidential Mullet

Born: November 2, 1795, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Nickname: "Young Hickory"
Education: University of North Carolina (graduated 1818)
Religion: Presbyterian
Marriage: January 1, 1824, to Sarah Childress (1803-91)
Children: None
Career: Lawyer
Political Party: Democrat
Writings: The Diary of James K. Polk (4 vols., 1910), ed. by Milo M. Quaife; Correspondence of James K. Polk, 6 vols. (1969- )
Died: June 15, 1849, Nashville, Tennessee
Buried: State Capitol Grounds, Nashville, Tennessee



It's 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The day had been unseasonably warm. The clouds that had promised rain all day broke in the late afternoon, pelting the ground and making life a little difficult for distracted drivers*. But in a matter of seconds, life at Humboldt and Weil in Milwaukee, Wisconsin would get a little scary and a lot chaotic.

"There was a loud boom and my husband went running outside and said, 'There is a plane down!"

Lucy Sanchez, 62, heard the crash from her living room just across the street from the crash site. "It's crazy. I have never seen anything like that happen in my life."

The plane was suspended, nose down, just 3 feet from the ground, apparently propped up by a broken utility pole and power lines, with pilot David J. Betts, 37, of Elkhorn trapped inside. As you may have guessed, it knocked out power for the entire neighborhood.

Sanchez's husband ran to the dangling plane and asked the pilot if he was OK. The pilot was indeed OK.

Betts' plane had been approaching an airstrip at Timmerman Airport. He'd circled several times without landing during the heavy downpour and finally headed east before dropping off the radar at 6:15 p.m. said Anne E. Schwartz, Milwaukee Police Department spokeswoman.

Betts and his 1979 Piper Archer-II PA-28 hung from the wires for nearly two hours, as firefighters and WE Energies workers secured the plane and clear downed power lines. After manuvering two firetrucks just so to secure and stabilize the plane, firefighters were finally able to remove Betts from the cockpit.

He was taken to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa, where he was being treated for minor injuries.

An investigation is underway to determine of Betts was drunk or if he was disoriented by the storm and the vast black water of Lake Michigan.

*um... me.

Caption Anyone?


This is sadly accurate.

You're Jack Burton.
The Pork Chop Express.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
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God needs a new publicist

The trees had the Lorax, God apparently has Pat Robertson.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Pat Robertson said "God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."

This is the latest of many Robertson statements that despite past gaffs he has no hesitation making.

Here is a small collection of Pat-tastics:

"My personal feeling is that oral sex is against nature."

"There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore."
In his address to his American Center for Law and Justice, November, 1993. Let's see, now: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." How could the prohibition against Congress making laws respecting an establishment of religion be anything but the separation of church and state?

"How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age, worshipers of Satan,secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?"

"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalian's and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrists. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them"

"(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

"The potential savings in the national budgets from the elimination of police, criminal courts, standing armies, pollution control agencies, drug enforcement, and many poverty programs is almost beyond calculation."

"The courts are merely a ruse, if you will, for humanist, atheistic educators to beat up on Christians."

"Ladies and gentlemen, I want to say this very clearly. If the people of the United States -- all across America, in their churches and in their civic groups and in their legislatures -- decide that they're not going to allow the Supreme Court to dominate their lives in the fashion that it has been in this nation, the Supreme Court does not have the power to change that. They are not going to be able to overturn the will of a hundred million American people. And I think the time has come that we throw off the shackles of this dictatorship that's been imposed upon us."
We had a war in 1776 that set us free from the shackles of the arbitrary rule of the British crown, and I think what's going on in Corbin, Kentucky, boy, those people like to live free. And I think the time has come that we do that...

"I think George Bush is going to win in a walk. I really believe that I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be like a blowout election of 2004. It's shaping up that way. The Lord has just blessed him.... I mean, he could make terrible mistakes and comes out of it. It doesn't make any difference what he does, good or bad. God picks him up because he's a man of prayer and God's blessing him."

"The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that's what's been happening."

"(Planned Parenthood) is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism -- everything that the Bible condemns."

"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."

"If the widespread practice of homosexuality will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it will bring about terrorist bombs, if it'll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to."


A golden retriever births a green puppy and controversy is born as well. Skeptics say the puppy was dyed green (Jell-o? Kool Aid? Powdered Smarties?) but veterinarians say placenta could very well have rubbed the puppy, named Wasabi, the right way.

All in the canine family are happy and healthy, skepticism or not.

Cuteness blah, blah, blah

New in the I Don't Even Bat an Eyelash After Saying Huh Department:


This administration has borrowed more from foreign nations and banks than the previous 42 Presidents combined.

"Spanning the first 224 years (1776-2000) of the nation’s history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions according to the U.S. Treasury Department. In the past four years alone (2001-2005), the Bush Administration has borrowed a staggering $1.05 trillion."


He may be a genius

Do-doing that thing I've never done...

...let alone doing it so well.

This Saturday, a gathering of martyrs - well, ok, a cornucopia of crime fiction authors, will be gathering with only me and my mental meandering to lead the way.

In my infinite wisdom, I put the info for the event below so as to aid in my own understanding of what will happen. What will happen? Chaos reigned in smartly with a smattering of well researched biographical oddness. One can only hope I'll be caffeinated enough to think of asking about the books.

Saturday, November 12th, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego
one-day event for fans, readers, and writers of mysteries,
and those interested in forensic (CSI) science. Free.

Muskego Public Library
S73 W16663 Janesville Road
Muskego, WI 53l50

Advance Registration Required
(262) 971-2101


David Ellis

John Galligan

Libby Fischer Hellman

Gregg Hurwitz

Joe Konrath

David J. Walker

And, as a special treat:

Forensic Consultant

Michael K. Andree, forensic (CSI) consultant.
Presentation on forensic science including a "crime scene" investigation
by attendees; evidence dog demonstration

Yet Another Cuteness Buffer