Showing posts with label offbeat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label offbeat. Show all posts

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Levitating Chinamen

We're all accustomed to incredible demonstrations from Chinese magicians of all kinds. So, we shouldn't be surprised, let alone annoyed, by the following photo:

Chinese officials have developed an extraordinary technique enabling them to inspect a newly-laid road while the macadam is still warm and sludgy. Like Jesus walking over the waters of the Sea of Galilee, these fellows are phloating fotoshopically over a new Oriental Highway of Truth. For God's sake, don't stick a pin in the image. It might burst, and the inspectors would fall onto the steaming macadam.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's happening here?

I like this kind of photo. It forces you to think, to ask questions. What the hell is actually happening here? Maybe the police have just cornered a dangerous psychopath disguised as a Disneyland employee. Why are the two guys in blue shirts wielding simple wooden clubs, whereas the police officer appears to be equipped with a high-tech military weapon? Is the "creature" still alive? Is it about to be killed by the policeman taking aim? How come the people wandering around in the background don't seem to be particularly alarmed?

I don't think I could have guessed the true facts before they were revealed to me by the accompanying press article. They're employees of a Chinese zoo, and they're simply practicing an emergency drill involving the escape of one of their tigers. The weapon is designed to fire harmless anesthetic tranquilizer darts, capable of sending a tiger into a nice deep sleep. In the following photos, prior to the final standoff, we see the ferocious make-believe beast bounding across a road and hiding in the bushes, ready to pounce on zoo visitors:

And here's my favorite photo, showing a real tiger watching the show from his glass cage as the fake creature gets carted off on a stretcher, like a dazed rugby man being taken off the playing field:

I can imagine the authentic beast murmuring to itself: "OK, you bunch of silly buggers, one of these days we'll see if events in the real world are likely to turn out just as nicely as that!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stray horse

This morning, when I woke up and switched on the computer, I found this stray horse racing across my blog:

It isn't branded, so I don't know where it comes from. But I suspect it belongs to Saltbush Bill.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Staircase is still standing

In an article entitled Awards, which I wrote nearly four years ago, I made fun of a dangerous-looking concrete staircase in the village of St-Jean-en-Royans [display]. A few days ago, I took this new photo of the staircase, which is clearly built to last. Maybe it incorporates extraordinary engineering principles that merit study in the great technological universities.

On the other hand, I should point out that, although I've been driving past this place for years, I've never seen anybody actually using this fine staircase… which is no doubt a pity.

Ireland stops the USA

The website where I found this hilarious clip said: "Obama's armored vehicle can protect him from everything except ridicule."



Apparently, embassy personnel made vain attempts to dislodge the vehicle, while leaving the president and his wife inside (for obvious security reasons). Finally, after some three-quarters of an hour (which is a huge delay in the case of a US president), Barack Obama and his wife were obliged to get out of the stuck vehicle and move into a more mobile automobile.

These days, observing happenings such as this ridiculous incident, coming a week after the DSK affair, the academic author Nassim Nicholas Taleb must be applauding with glee. The principles of his famous "black swan events" are outlined in my article of 15 March 2010 entitled Singular happenings [display].

Friday, May 20, 2011

Action will start in Australia

Here in France, it has just turned midnight. The time in my native land, Australia, is 8 hours in advance of France (since God decided—as explained with mathematical precision in the book of Genesis—that the Sun would rise in the east and set in the west, and that the International Date Line would pass through the middle of the Pacific Ocean). So, at this moment, it's just after 8 o'clock on the final morning: Saturday, May 21, 2001.

My lucky Aussie compatriots will be witnessing the return of King Jesus within roughly 10 hours… but nobody—neither religious leaders, government leaders nor journalists—seems to be in a position to indicate the exact place where the Savior will be making his initial appearance. There's a persistent rumor that this world-shaking event will be taking place in Sydney, maybe on top of the Harbour Bridge, or on the lawns of the Botanic Gardens. But a group of federal politicians has claimed that the only fit site for such a happening would be Canberra, the hub of the nation. Some people are even suggesting that the return of Jesus will be taking place in a country setting, at the easternmost tip of the continent, in the vicinity of Byron Bay.

Whatever the exact site, I'll be tuning into the Internet, first thing tomorrow morning, to dive into Australian media stories concerning the big event. Then we'll spend the day awaiting impatiently the arrival of Jesus in France. Nicolas Sarkozy has already announced that Christ will normally be alighting, as everybody hopes, on the upper platform of the Eiffel Tower, where his arrival will be highlighted by a flyover of air-force jet fighters, followed in the evening by a gigantic fireworks display. But, if ever the wind conditions were excessive, rendering this operation dangerous, it has been suggested that the Rapture will be taking place near the Place de la Concorde, at the lower extremity of the Champs Elysées, at exactly the same place where the final stage of the Tour de France terminates. If this were to be the case, then Jesus would be expected, as usual, to undergo a urine test for doping before being officially welcomed by the president of the République and the mayor of Paris. Accompanied by mounted horsemen of the Garde Républicaine, Jesus would then be driven in a cavalcade up to the Arc de Triomphe, where he would lay a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Finally, if any time remained (a big question mark, to say the least), the Son of God would be invited to a state dinner at the Elysées Palace.

BREAKING NEWS: This extraordinary image by Australian news photographer Mike Angelo reveals the scenes of chaos and panic this afternoon at 6 o'clock at Sydney Airport as heaven-bound Christians collided with tourists and angels in the turmoil of the Rapture.

For the moment, there are no ecclesiastic explanations as to why so many folk are getting around stark naked… which is not particularly pious behavior. Reported sightings of Jesus Christ are being checked by police, air traffic authorities and weather bureau officials.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hindu goddess between the buttocks

We all worship Lakshmi, because (as Wikipedia tells us) she's "the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm". She's linked to so many nice things that I reckon you'd have to be crazy not to worship her.

In any case, even if you're an ungodly heathen who doesn't happen to be a devout worshiper of Lakshmi, that's not necessarily a sufficient reason for walking around on the beach with a picture of the goddess on your brown bum, in the blasphemous style of this Aussie female:

Consequently, in a world where fundamentalist fuckwits have got around to burning anything and everything—the Koran, the Bible, the Stars and Stripes, the Twin Towers, etc—we Australians will just have to accept the idea of seeing our cherished old flag going up in flames from time to time.

Personally, I quite like the idea of a colorful image of the Hindu goddess of light twitching around in the vicinity of the wearer's arse. It symbolizes the theological concept of solar radiation passing through the anal orifice and illuminating the world. What more could you ask for? Well, I can imagine much more: an entire swimsuit collection, for males as well as females, based upon religious icons and themes. For a Christian lady, the frontal areas of a swimsuit offer ideal image space for the Holy Trinity: white-bearded God on the left tit, Jesus and his crown of thorns on the right one, and a pictorial representation of the Holy Ghost (requires a bit of artistic imagination) in the pubic region. Judaism would be relatively easy to handle in swimwear, as long as you only referred to the Creator using the four-letter Tetragrammaton, without ever daring to pronounce his name. (Swimsuits generally don't attempt to pronounce anything at all.) In the Torah, there's a hell of a lot of good visual stuff that could be exhibited on biblical swimwear. For the moment, I'm stumped when it comes to Islamic swimwear themes, for there's little of an attractive iconic nature in their religious culture. When I try to imagine something of a visual nature, the only marine image that springs into my mind is that of Osama bin Laden taking a dive into the ocean... from the deck of a US warship. But, even if we were to be shown his bathing attire, I'm not sure that anybody would want to wear similar gear.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quintessence of a silly old bugger

This charming 89-year-old American guy, Harold Camping, speaks slowly with a deep monotone voice, which might even lead naive folk to imagine that the old fellow knows what he's talking about. But that would be a big mistake. Harold Camping appears to me as a splendid anthropological specimen: the quintessence of a silly old bugger. An extraordinarily silly old bugger. And God knows, he's competing in a field where there are countless contenders for the title.

I don't intend to waste time mentioning the many stupidities that have come forth from Camping during his long and prolific existence. I'll merely describe the latest in date. The SOB [silly old bugger] is proclaiming, to all who wish to listen, that exceptional events will be taking place next May 21. There will be a great earthquake, of an intensity never known before on the planet. And truly Christian believers—including, if all goes well, the SOB himself—will be "raptured". That's fuckwit talk for flying upwards into the sky, headed for Heaven. Exactly 153 days after that initial happening, the entire universe will disappear.

Needless to say, the SOB has convinced countless followers to believe in his bullshit. Often, those who are prosperous are liquidating their properties and other assets, and sending the cash to the SOB, to provide him with financial resources enabling him to disseminate still further, urgently, his apocalyptic message.

If ever the SOB still happened to be hanging around unharmed on the morning of May 22, he would be the laughingstock of the entire nation. If this were the case, I propose that he should stack his dollars into a huge trunk and jump onto a plane to Pakistan, where he would be able to invest in a charming little property in Abbottabad, recently vacated and now up for sale. It's a perfect home away from home, with "live and let live" neighbors (reputed for keeping their noses out of other people's business), where Harold would be able to spend his remaining days (until the next-scheduled rapture) in peace and tranquility.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More than just a black-and-white affair

This informative and moving evocation of the history of the production of crossword puzzles is a tribute to outstanding figures in that industry, some of whom might be thought of as great artists.


[animation by Michael A Charles]

The narrator, Garson Hampfield (a retired inker in a crossword design team), has given credit to most of the major creators in that vast and ancient domain. I'm a little disappointed, though, that he made no mention of the Phoenicians, who invented the alphabet. And he might have put in just a tiny word for the fundamental role of Euclid, too, who invented the straight line (defined as the shortest distance between two points). Try to produce a crossword puzzle without using straight lines, and you'll see exactly what I mean.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do-it-yourself Golgotha

I was intrigued by a short news item in this morning's French media. In South Korea, police found the dead body of a 58-year-old taxi-driver, known for his extreme Christian piety. His hands and feet were nailed to a wooden cross. Police determined that the poor fellow had died during the Easter weekend. He was attired in a loincloth, with a crown of thorns on his head. Forensic examinations revealed that, prior to his death, he had been flogged with a whip. On his right-hand side, a deep stab wound had probably precipitated his death. The article states explicitly that "the police are trying to determine whether the man actually crucified himself". But they do not exclude the possibility that other individuals might have played a role in the man's death.

The aspect of the police approach that fascinates me is the idea that it might have been a do-it-yourself crucifixion. That raises an obvious question: How could a man, all alone, nail his own hands and feet to a cross? A possible answer to this enigma is provided by a video ad (amusing, but not particularly brilliant) promoting the use of condoms.



If my hypothesis were correct, and the police were to find a discarded hammer that might have been used to do the nailing, they should realize that there would be no point in examining the tool for fingerprints. Prickprints, maybe…

Friday, April 29, 2011

Weird woman in the wedding throng

I'm afraid I'm about to let a drop of pollution escape into my marriage-free zone. I'm a little ashamed, of course. Please forgive me.

The French photographer Olivier Corsan was no doubt happy to provide his employer, the serious Le Parisien newspaper, with this intriguing photo of a most peculiar lady among the wedding onlookers in London. No doubt an eccentric English woman, with mauve hair, bedecked in heavy jewelry, with ridiculously ornate glasses.

The French have always been convinced that the English are a funny lot. Even in the context of English wedding clothes, however, the flamboyant appearance of this lady was sufficiently spectacular to attract the attention of the French photographer. Besides, I love the puzzled expression of the lady in orange in the lower left corner.

I wondered whether it would be worthwhile contacting the Parisian newspaper to inform them that this strange lady is in fact an Aussie comedian, Barry Humphries. But would I succeed in explaining succinctly to Parisian media people an Antipodean phenomenon such as Barry's alter ego, Dame Edna Everage? No, they would probably consider me as a pathological story-teller, maybe a dangerous dingbat, incapable of distinguishing a lord from a lady.

Now that I've polluted my marriage-free zone once, it won't be a great sin to pollute it a second time… with this curious bridal photo, which has appeared in today's French media:

It appears to be Kate Moss. And she seems to have mislaid her wedding gown. But what the fuck is it all about?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Early prototype

This photo comes from the Gallica online service of the Bibliothèque nationale française (French national library):

It has been suggested that these two men might have been Apple employees field-testing an early iPhone prototype.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nominated for dumbest-article-of-the-year awards

I know it's far too early to start suggesting nominations for the prestigious awards highlighting the dumbest press articles published in 2011, but I wanted to get in early with this British gem.

[Click the banner to read the unsigned article.]

The gist of the article is that the happiest families are those that comprise exactly two female offspring. Tough luck for Christine and me. We're divorced since 22 November 1977 (an easy-to-remember date, 221177, which I use as the locking code of an elegant leather attaché case that I purchased in Bangkok many years ago), but I'm now frustrated by the idea that a last-minute sex-change (?) applied to our François might have guaranteed us all perpetual happiness.

The funniest aspect of the article is their ironic choice of a photo: Kate Middleton's future brother-in-law Andrew, his ex-wife Fergy and their two daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.

What a fucking beautiful portrait of eternal family bliss!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Great new couple on Aussie TV

The Aussie entertainment scene will be soaring to new heights with an exciting concept of prime-time TV: the Bob & Kris Show.

Viewers of all ages are promised a mixture of family fun, nostalgia and in-depth comments concerning the political scene — past, present and future. Above all, past.

FAKERY: I hardly need to explain that the above image results from a crude Photoshop substitution of two famous hair styles. The original (excellent) photo comes from The Daily Telegraph, and I found my copy here. Having been a Bob Hawke admirer for years and a Kristina Keneally detester for an all-too-short term, I must admit that, funnily enough, I prefer my fakery to the genuine photo. Young-minded Bob looks dashing with that short sweeping cut, while Kristina's homely white-haired appearance reflects the obsolescence of her fuzzy political know-how. And in my image, Kristina doesn't stand above Bob.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Play your didgeridoo, Blue

An unexpected advantage of owning an old automobile is that it often needs to be repaired, or at least undergo its obligatory annual checkup, and this means that the owner is forced to wander around for an hour or so in various dull urban environments where he wouldn't normally set foot. Consequently, one often makes interesting discoveries.

Yesterday afternoon, at St-Marcellin (home town of the famous cheese), I wandered down an unfamiliar lane in order to visit a big nondescript warehouse that is totally specialized in the sale of cheap and nasty goods made in Asia. If I understand correctly, the lady behind this enterprise had been an enthusiastic tourist in lands such as Indonesia. One day, she decided to pay cash for a container of assorted merchandise that would be delivered to St-Marcellin. That must have been several years ago. Since then, has she purchased further containers full of this stuff, or is she still trying to find buyers for the initial delivery? I really don't know… but I find it hard to believe that many of the sturdy local folk would be tempted to track down this out-of-the-way warehouse and buy goods there. But I may be wrong. After all, I've never been inside the homes of many citizens of St-Marcellin. Maybe, if we were to conduct a rigorous survey, we would discover that there's an amazingly large proportion of Asian junk decorating the local living rooms.

Be that as it may, the part of the warehouse that fascinated me most of all was a tiny corner holding an upright pile of objects that appeared to be Australian didgeridoos… which normally look like this:

Now, the didgeridoos on sale in the warehouse at St-Marcellin didn't really look much like that. First, they were almost perfectly cylindrical, from one end to the other, rather than tapered. Next, when I picked up one of them, I found that it was quite light: not at all what you would expect in the case of a hollowed-out eucalyptus sapling some 2 meters in length. Then, the decoration had a glossy plastic look, as if it were composed of sheets of industrially-printed fake-Aboriginal graphic designs that had been glued onto the surface of the cylinder. Finally, the price of these objects was more-or-less standard, no matter what the size and decoration: a couple of dozen euros. It was then that I noticed, on a price tag, that these didgeridoos were in fact made out of bamboo and manufactured in Indonesia. As the lady at the sales counter put it, they were purely decorative didgeridoos. Instantly, I started to wonder whether there were many families in the St-Marcellin area that boasted the presence, hanging on a wall, of a fake decorative didgeridoo.



An unexpected advantage of not having many local friends (in my case, not a single individual living in St-Marcellin) is the negligible likelihood of receiving this kind of object as a gift from a kind-hearted person thinking that it would bring me warm memories of my distant land of birth. Today, of course, if such a calamity were to hit me, I could always hand the object over to my dog Fitzroy. All I would need to do, then, is to leave the chewed remnants of the instrument on the kennel roof, and inform my kind-hearted friend that a slight but unfortunate accident had occurred when I was teaching Fitzroy to play the didgeridoo…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fedex employees would appear to be nitwits

This delightful Fedex publicity video paints a deplorable picture of the intellect and imagination of their employees, even though they come across as remarkably honest guys, on whom you can depend.



The guy needs to be woken up. By way of a tip, the lady might have thrown a coconut to (or rather at) him.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Good heavens, the heavens are changing!

As soon as I glimpsed the postage stamp on the missive from Ron Willard, I sensed that my agent in the Antipodes—who has links with Asian communities, no doubt in China itself—was contacting me to inform me of some kind of Major Happening in that distant corner of the planet. Sure enough, as soon as I opened the envelope (cautiously, as always, to verify that there were no hidden microphones or deadly traps), the facts leaped out at me: 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit !

And Ron, with his typical inventiveness, had disguised this information cunningly in the form of a Happy New Year card.

Purists might complain that the beast illustrated here is a hare, not a rabbit. But that's neither hare nor there. Apparently, within the category of rabbits, Chinese astrologers include, not only hares, but cats. (That's a bit disturbing for somebody like me who has got into the habit of eating out in Asian restaurants.) Dogs, though, are out, since they have their own category… like rats, oxen, tigers, dragons, snakes, horses, sheep (and goats), monkeys, roosters and pigs. I haven't checked yet, but I would imagine that the dragons category would surely incorporate other everyday beasts such as unicorns (unless they're housed with horses), griffons (maybe with tigers), Loch Ness monsters, etc.

It's sad to see that certain uncouth heathens (probably atheists) detract from the solemnity of our sacred Year of the Rabbit by raising out-of-place questions such as whether or not it's correct for a girl to wear a bit of furry stuff on certain parts of her anatomy.

At least, I think that's what disturbing them, judging from the fluffy white tails in the above photo… but I'm not sure I see what they're getting at.

Here in the Western World, we're faced with a much greater astrological disaster. Eminent specialists have just revealed that the entire system is totally screwed-up, because somebody got the dates wrong, or didn't know how to count, or something like that.

Instead of a dozen signs of the Zodiac, it appears that everybody has to shift over a bit to allow in a 13th fellow, named Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer, who operates in a busy pre-Christmas time slot from November 29 to December 17. And, talking of a serpent-bearer, I reckon there must be some subtle connection with the protester guy alongside the bunny girls in the above photo.

Personally, I'm infuriated, because I was born a Libra, I've lived my entire life as a pure Libra… and these idiots are now trying to tell me that I'm in fact a Virgo! Shit, what utter rubbish. If ever I had been a Virgo, even just a teeny-weeny bit of a Virgo, I would have been the first person in the world to realize it. You don't just change overnight from Libra to Virgo like catching the flu, or getting a sudden attack of rheumatism. I mean, if this had really happened, I would have felt it coming over me… and maybe tried to do something about it.

Don't quote me on this, but I have a vague suspicion that this whole affair has something to do with the arrival of Obama at the White House. Or maybe it's an atheist conspiracy. One thing is certain. When Sarah Palin gets elected, she'll make sure that people throughout the world get back to their senses. I'm convinced she'll restore good old-fashioned astrology.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hilarious prank in Belgium

To appreciate this video (spoken in Flemish with excellent English subtitles), you'll need a few preliminary explanations. Four young fellows have decided to play an ingenious prank on a Belgian phone company named Mobistar, notorious for the poor quality of its call centers. The fellows rented an office container: that's to say, a fully-equipped mobile office that looks, from the outside, exactly like a shipping container. They painted their phone number on the outside of the container, and then got themselves delivered on the back of a truck to the suburban headquarters of Mobistar, where the container was placed in the middle of the road in such a way that it prevented Mobistar employees from getting into the parking lot. Then the four fellows waited. Meanwhile, friends in front of the Mobistar building filmed the huge traffic jam caused by the container.

Inside the office container, the phone soon started to ring. It was Mathieu, the Mobistar security officer, who imagined naively that he was in phone contact with the offices of a container company called Buro-Containers. Mathieu, of course, wanted the container company to come along immediately and remove their container from the Mobistar premises. But poor Mathieu receives robotic and moronic reactions of the same kind as those of the Mobistar call center.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Isn't it just loo-vely!

Some people can get infatuated about the most unexpected themes. Just click the door and you can step inside.

There are some fine sites in France that this refined lady should visit, or at least admire from the outside. Here's a historic place in Grenoble:

At Gamone, the nec plus ultra (as far as I'm concerned) is pissing in the open air while admiring the landscape. For indoor operations, my upstairs loo is positioned in such a way that you can enjoy a magnificent view of the slopes on the other side of Gamone Creek, crowned by the cliffs of Presles.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Efficient fake

I like this trivial news item, which provides us with a fine demonstration of innovative imagination and private enterprise. Down in the city of Fréjus on the French Riviera, a retired gentleman was fed up with motorists disregarding the speed limit on the bend in the road where his house is located. There's a sign stating that the limit is 30 km/hour, but most drivers dash around the corner at more than twice that speed. And there are never any gendarmes at this spot to catch speeders. So, the guy decided to take the matter into his own hands. He did this by building an empty wooden box that he set up on his front fence.

At a glance, it looks a little like the familiar radar machines installed on the edge of highways.

But the rectangular openings are quite different, and the black-and-yellow stripes around the edge of the empty box are not slanted. The fake radar nevertheless had the desired effect. Vehicles now rounded the corner at 20 km/hour. The local gendarmes were impressed by the efficiency of this device, but they could hardly be expected to condone its use, particularly since many tourists were now stopping their cars on the corner to take photos of the fake radar. So, they asked the fellow to remove it.

Meanwhile, the authorities have promised to ask the gendarmes to increase their checks for speeding offenders at this spot. And there's already talk about placing a genuine radar machine on this corner.