Thursday, December 20, 2012

Meet Ireland's Womb Patrol

Now that the Government has finally decided to, y'know, not let women die and actually legislate for the X Case already - a step in the right direction, but still a very very small one - the anti-choicers are clutching their pearls, Photoshopping festive hats onto ultrasound scans and incorrectly using semi-colons with wanton abandon.

There's also an anti-choice ad doing the rounds online as a reaction to the Government getting the hell on with things that were meant to happen twenty fucking years ago. It turns out to be something of an endurance test as I only lasted forty seconds the first time I tried to watch it, having been scared off by the appearance of John Waters and his unwavering concern for my uterus. It's actually impossible to watch it and not burst out laughing, especially when Bernadette Smyth makes her appearance.

Oh Bernadette. With this giant furry hat you are really spoiling us. Also, YOU'RE INDOORS. YOU DO NOT REQUIRE A FLUFFY HAT. Perhaps the flowery wallpaper has tricked her into thinking she's in a meadow and maybe that's why she sounds like she's about to start crying.

The video progresses like the grimmest game of Guess Who you've ever played in your life, with Kathy Sinnott, David Quinn and Caroline Simons popping up one after the other and lying their asses off.

I'm not sure if there's a single truthful sentence in the entire thing. Here are some of the highlights:

Firstly, we have Kathy Sinnott wringing her hands while inexplicably standing in a manky, muddy field, without a coat or even a scarf on. You'd think Bernadette would at least give her a loan of her hat. According to Kathy:

"Referendum after referendum has demonstrated the pro-life position of the Irish people."

Er, no actually. Referendum after referendum has seen the Irish people support legislation for abortion in cases where the mother's life is at risk. You know, like reasonable people who don't hate women.

Caroline Simons then chimes in with some alarming meteorological news.

"In recent times, there has literally been a tsunami hitting Ireland."


But it's ok! Here's John Waters to explain everything!

"A tsunami of a culture of death." 

Oh. I see. Although surely a "culture of death" is one where we let mothers die, instead of allowing them a life saving medical procedure, but hey whatever.

The Caroline and John double act also give us this:

Caroline: "Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicaemia following a miscarraige."

Immediately followed by:  

John: "We won't know exactly what happened to Savita, until we hear from the the various inquiries."

Hey John, just ask Caroline! It seems like she knows all about it. She must have been in the room at the time with Savita and Praveen and no one noticed.

Next up, it's aspiring rapper Ide Nic Mhathuna, or Ide Nic Mhathunaz as she's known on the hip-hop circuit. There's not one, but two typos in her little caption, as Youth Defence is spelled the American way instead of the way it's spelled on their own goddamn website.

We also have Patrick McCrystal running away with the trophy for Creepiest Man IN THE WORLD. (As well as abortions, he also hates vaccines, contraception and gay people. Sound.) I realise that his expression in that screenshot is a bit unsettling, but no matter how hard I tried to find one, there literally wasn't a moment where he didn't look like he was seconds away from a strangle-wank. Just try to listen to how he says "perfect storm" without shuddering. He also provides us with the best line of the video:

"This battle can only be won if we are on our knees."

It's like the worst house party ever. And Kathy Sinnott standing in a field in Cork.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Dear Sister

Ok, so you know how every Sweet Valley High book is brilliant in its own way, but there are some that are just that bit more amazing and ridiculously fun than the others? Well, this is one of them. It might as well be called Dear Jackpot.

Sweet Valley High #7: Dear Sister

So, the book opens with Elizabeth still in hospital, in a coma and Jessica at her bedside pleading with her to wake up. In case we've forgotten, we're immediately reminded how goddamn hot the twins are, as page one informs us that they're "gloriously attractive". Thanks guys. By the time we've gotten halfway through page two (HALFWAY), one or the other has been described as "beautiful", "vibrant", "lively", "vivacious" and a "fresh, youthful beauty". It's actually sort of impressive how much they've crammed in there. Anyway, Jessica is startled by a hand on her shoulder, but it's ok! It's just the most inappropriate doctor IN THE WORLD.

"Miss Wakefield?"
"I could see the resemblance. You're both beautiful."

That's right, this doctor greets sixteen year olds by telling them how hot they are. He's Elizabeth's neurosurgeon and his conversation with Jessica is just solid fucking gold. They have a chat about Elizabeth's condition, Jessica gets a bit upset about the whole thing and over the course of their conversation he does the following hilariously overfamiliar things, considering he's JUST MET HER:

"The man stooped so his face was on a level with hers."

"She felt strong hands on her shoulders, shaking her gently but insistently."

"Suddenly Dr. Edwards's hands were cupping her face, forcing her to look up."

Fucking hell, put your pants back on, Doc. 

Anyway, Elizabeth wakes up from her coma and starts acting like a spoiled little bitch. She immediately demands a makeover, gets in a huff over her hospital gown not being sexy enough and flirts her arse off with the doctors, all while being really dismissive and mean to Todd. She basically turns into Jessica. When she gets out of hospital and returns home, Todd comes by to see her but she instructs Jessica to fob him off and tell him she's too tired for visitors. Jessica pulls Todd into the kitchen and lies to him, saying that Elizabeth can't have any visitors until she goes back to school and reassures him that once she's back in class everything will go back to normal. It's one of my favourite parts of this book.

"You know how much she likes school. She'll probably have all the work made up and a dozen stories written for The Oracle before I finish that one stupid book report on Moby Dick. I mean, Todd, who really cares about whales?" Jessica asked in annoyance.

Todd did, but he let the comment slide by.

Awwww! TODDDDD! He CARES about WHALES you guys. I love that line so goddamn much.

So, Elizabeth returns to school and Jessica drives them there, parking the car "with her usual flourish". I don't know how exactly parking with a flourish works (other than Ace Ventura barrell-rolling his safari jeep into the car park in When Nature Calls, obviously. LLLIKE A GLOVE), but clearly it's something else that the Wakefields are amazing at.

All week at school, people keep confusing Elizabeth for Jessica and when the twins are meant to get the house ready for a pool party they're throwing at the weekend, Elizabeth lands Jessica with all the work as she flits around the mall. While Jessica is sorting out the food for the party, she starts talking to herself in a slightly alarming manner.

"Listen, Jessica Wakefield," she lectured herself, "haven't you ever ducked out on work and left Elizabeth to do it?"

"Now, don't start creating a humungous, imaginary crisis over nothing," she cautioned herself aloud.

"Stop it," Jessica commanded herself. "If you don't make that dip, the kids will have to eat powdered soup mix." She giggled and kept working.

She's like one of those demented bitches off Sunset Beach.

The party is a hit and everyone has a great time, except for Jessica, because Elizabeth is hogging the limelight and for Todd, because Elizabeth is practically rubbing herself all over Ken Matthews like a cat in heat. When Jessica gets suckered into cleaning up after the party alone, it begins to dawn on her that Elizabeth has actually turned into Jessica, prompting an existential crisis of sorts. "If she's Jessica, she agonised, then who am I?"

Over the next week or so, Liz begins to do badly at school as she's too busy being on the phone to random boys to do any studying. Ned and Alice then announce at dinner that the Percys - whoever the fuck they are - are going to a computer conference in Europe (fancy!) and the Wakefields are looking after their twin twelve year old girls while they're away.

"The twins were fragile, dark-haired girls with large brown eyes set in small solemn faces. They were wearing identical gray jumpers, and long-sleeved white blouses, and they were clutching identical black flute cases."

Well don't they sound just a tad familiar.

Oh hai there.

As soon as the Percy twins arrive, Ned and Alice fuck off to "an evening of bridge", which I hope is code for something else, otherwise they're the most boring people IN THE WORLD. Jessica has a date with Danny Stauffer that night though, so while she's planning to skip out on babysitting and leave Liz looking after the twins, Liz beats her to it and is making her exit while Jessica is still on the phone to Danny, leaving Jessica with no option but to bring the girls on her date with him at the drive-in.

Back at school, Elizabeth keeps blowing Enid off and takes a sudden interest in the lame sorority the twins are in, prompting Jessica to talk to herself some more. Enid comes over, wondering who the hell Jessica is talking to, and asks her if Liz is mad at her.

"Not that I know of." Jessica wondered why she didn't tell Enid the truth. Elizabeth didn't want to have anything to do with her. Jessica would have enjoyed telling her to get lost a month ago. For some reason, she felt sympathy for Enid now.

I love how normal human emotions don't compute with Jessica.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth is swanning around school failing everything, hitting on everyone's boyfriend, and sweet-talking Winston Egbert into doing her homework for her. Gasp! When she's late handing in her Eyes and Ears column, Mr. Collins asks how she is. Cue hilarity.

"Everybody asks me that," she snapped. "Elizabeth, I hope you know that I'm a friend, not only a teacher and an adviser. And friends don't dish out a lot of applesauce to each other."

Oh Mr. Collins. You crazy motherfucker. I actually had to look up the word applesauce online, as I've never in my life heard it used in any context other than sauce made of apples. Turns out it's slang from THE TWENTIES. THE TWENTIES, MR. COLLINS. He probably thinks journalists wear hats with a little card stuck in it that reads "PRESS" and that the talkies will never catch on.

We then find out that since Elizabeth has been giving Todd the brush off, he's lost his mad skillz on the basketball court and that his nickname is "Whizzer" Wilkins. Amazing. This book just DOES NOT let up. Anyway, Todd's coach then has a talk with him about Liz, because every staff member at this school is completely over-involved in their students lives.

Elizabeth proceeds to get fired from the school paper for writing a bitchy item to split Ken Matthews up from his girlfriend (Mr. Collins says "applesauce" again! I LOVE IT!) and then zips around town driving Max Dellon's motorbike, much to Jessica's horror. Ned and Alice, after agreeing to take care of someone else's kids for a while, appear to have decided to never be around when they actually need them and land Jessica with driving the girls to a flute audition at the weekend. Jessica has a date at the beach with Danny though, so she ends up being caught speeding on her way back from the audition and when she does get to the beach, she sees Danny with his arm around some tramp in a white bikini. Angry and frustrated - with the creepy twins in the back seat - she then backs into another car and cries her face off.

Jessica haz a sad. And terrible taste in picture frames.

A few days later, Lila Fowler is throwing a party at her house, but not just any old party, a combination of a costume party and a "pick-up party", which apparently means a license to whore your way through the night. "Everybody came single and picked up whomever they could." The Wakefields go to the party dressed as - wait for it - MATADORS. Excellent. Elizabeth ends up leaving the party with Bruce Patman, who can't believe his luck that he's getting to feel up the twin who usually hates him, and plies her with wine down at the beach. Jessica sends SuperTodd after them, he punches Bruce and takes drunk Liz home.

Ned and Alice eventually find out about Jessica's speeding ticket and the dent in the car, but the Percy twins come to the rescue and lie for Jessica, saving her ass. When Jessica apologises to the twins for shouting at them all the time, they say it's fine and that they've never had so much fun.

"Boy, going to a real drive-in! With making out and everything."

Jessica dry-humped Danny at the drive-in with two twelve year olds in the backseat. She's a class act. AND AN OLD TIMEY GANGSTER! Just like Bruce in Power Play!

"Listen, you two," Jessica said, "cool it, see? You weren't supposed to be there."

I'm beginning to wonder if there's a wormhole to 1920s Sweet Valley somewhere in the town.

Todd's surfer friend Bill Chase, who has apparently been "half in love" with Elizabeth for ages, asks her out to some beach club dance on Saturday night, which she agrees to while being all sexy-like and just stopping short of licking his face. Later that day though, she also arranges to go on a date with Bruce at his family's beach house.

When Bill turns up at Casa Wakefield, Liz is already gone. So Jessica decides that her newly-trampy sister shouldn't get to have all the fun, and in a return to her gloriously sociopathic old self, she pretends to be Liz and goes on the date with Bill, just to fuck with his head because he turned her down when she asked him some dance ages ago. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is at the beach house having her boobs groped by Bruce, who appears to be seconds away from date-raping her. He leaves her alone in a bedroom while he gets more wine from downstairs, but Liz slips and whacks her head off a table. Suddenly she has no idea where she is and can't remember anything after the hospital.

When Bruce comes back, Elizabeth tries to leave, but he blocks the doorway and pretty much says she's not going anywhere until he gets the ride. He grabs her and forces her to kiss him and suddenly he turns into old timey gangster Bruce again! Yesss!

Roughly he seized her wrists, and she was helpless. "I've got real strong hands Liz," he said. "From tennis, see?"

Anyway, Liz bites him when he kisses her again and runs out onto the beach, into the arms of Todd who just happened to be moping around outside. He quickly cops that Liz is back to her old boring self and she's all delighted to see him now. Then he shifts the face off her with "a deep, long kiss that she wished would last forever." Hooray!

Notable outfit:
There was so much other amazing stuff happening in this book, like applesauce, that there weren't really any particularly brilliant outfits being described. Apart from the matador costumes. Although when Jessica decided to trick Bill by dressing as Elizabeth, she did so in the following:

"She was wearing Elizabeth's flowered peasant skirt and ruffled blouse."


Things I counted:
Number of pages: 150
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 6
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 8
Amount of times the twins are called "beautiful": 12

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Heads Will Roll

There's this song that's been stuck in my head since I heard it. Thankfully this isn't like the times when you get a Harvey Norman jingle or a One Direction song stuck in your head and you start to lose the will to live. It's quite the opposite, I'm more than happy to have this song lodged in my brain. In fact, I think I've forgotten the words to one of the verses of Jump Around, in order to make room for it. The fact that I'm ok with that speaks volumes about how good it is.

If this typeface was a person I'd shift the face off it and make it a lasagna for dinner.

The song in question is Queen Herod Will Find You, by Queen Herod. As awesome as the name is, the story of the song is pretty much exactly the sort of thing I love.

"This tells the story of Queen Herod, a giant, murderous witch who lives in an isolated castle in the forest. She gathers the children from their homes and eats them. But does she eat them because she's lonely, or is she lonely because she eats them?"

Oooh! And look at the beautiful, creepy video!

Queen Herod is the lovely, jangly, bitey alter ego of Dublin artist and musician Holly Pereira. Her debut EP can be listened to here (it's really very good, I highly recommend you listen) and is being launched in Whelans on the 13th December.

Queen Herod is on Facebook too. You'd better go say hello, because she WILL find you, you know.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Life Institute AKA Team America

Ah the Life Institute. One of the many anti-choice organisations to come snaking out of 60a Capel Street, along with Youth Defence, the Mother and Child Campaign, and the Pro-Life Alliance. That building is like a big anti-choice Hydra. I swear if you chopped off one of its lying heads another one would spring into place screaming "LOOK AT THE BABY!"

So when Geoff offered to send me the stats he had collected about their @lifeinstitute Twitter account, I said why yes please kind sir. I'm not one to turn down an opportunity to snark on one of Ireland's infinitely annoying extremist anti-choice groups, especially when they're claiming to represent the views of the majority of people in this country and have taken to harassing TDs by bombarding them with phonecalls.

Here's what I learned about their Twitter fanbase.

Well now, would you look at that? It would appear that Irish accounts aren't all that interested in what the Life Institute have to say, and they themselves aren't particularly pushed about what Irish people have to say, either.

Look what happens when you take the descriptions of their followers and turn them into a Wordle.

Click to enlarge, unless you have bionic eyes.

My. What a diverse and eclectic mix of people with such varying interests.

I'd also like to show you a few of the descriptions themselves:

Born in the USA! The best things in life: Adonai, family, friends, milk chocolate, jet planes and a 9mm semi automatic. 

Constitution lovin, NRA, Conservative, sarcastic, Hillbilly, Redneck, Oath Keeper, Military loving, father, grandfather, dirty ol' man. 

 #Christian #PROLIFE #ISRAEL #NRA #Glock #Texas #USMC 85-95. #Indiana #IARNG 97-01. #Texan by birth #Marine by choice. #infidel. Follow or RT ≠ Endorsement 

Wow. I don't even have to do anything to make fun of them. Pro-life AND pro-gun. 

And just because it's hilarious, here's a recent tweet from one of the accounts followed by the Life Institute:

Peacefully grant the State of North Carolina to withdraw from the United States and create its own NEW government

You guys.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Night of the Running Dead

So the trailer for World War Z has landed and is making its way around the internet at a pace almost as fast as the fucking RUNNING zombies in the forthcoming film.

I love World War Z. I was properly scared while reading it and the Bear had to put up with me whimpering and gasping "oh nooooo!" while I read, as did a train carriage full of people who probably thought I was mental. It's one of my favourite books and when you know that one of your favourite books is being made into a film, you kind of have to lower your expectations and will pretty much always end up being one of those dickheads that moans about the book being better.

I get that a book like World War Z would be impossible to film without making huge changes and that's fine, but my problem is with the fast zombies in the trailer. The book manages to pull off this growing sense of dread as the world starts to get overrun by the undead, and it's that build-up of terror that proper zombies are all about. Zombies are scary because, yes, they're rotting, moving dead people and that alone is horrible enough, but it's the slow, creeping relentlessness that really scares the pants off me.

Fast zombies like the ones in 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake aren't really zombies at all. They're rabid people infected with a virus, which is fine (although not for them, I suppose) but it does make them a different class of monster. The whole point of zombies is that they're dead. Simon Pegg pretty much nailed what I'm trying to say in a brilliant Guardian piece from a few years ago that he recently tweeted in response to people asking what he thought of the WWZ trailer:

"The speedy zombie seems implausible to me, even within the fantastic realm it inhabits. A biological agent, I'll buy. Some sort of super-virus? Sure, why not. But death? Death is a disability, not a superpower. It's hard to run with a cold, let alone the most debilitating malady of them all."


The TV version of The Walking Dead has done a great job of screen zombies, although I did get mad at them in one episode where they seemed to have the dexterity to climb over fences, which was total bullshit. As is the fact that Danny Trejo isn't playing the Governer, but that's besides the point. Aside from the fact that the fast zombie is a pretty big deviation from what the classic zombie is all about, my chances of survival would drop dramatically if I had to outrun the fuckers.

It'll be a shame if the film leaves out the worldwide character plotlines from the book and just shows Brad Pitt running around and saving his family, as that was what made it so enjoyable in the first place. Seeing the ways in which each country dealt with the outbreak, the Battle of Yonkers, Israel's self-quarantine plan, North Korea's population disappearing underground, so we don't know if there's a functioning human city beneath the country or if there's a fuck-ton of shambling Korean zombies down there are all things that added extra layers of delicious detail to the usual people vs. zombies story. Also, seeing as I'm not sold on the film having FAST HOORING ZOMBIES (to quote the lovely Dawn) in the first place, I'm not entirely convinced on the swarming tsunami of CGI zombies climbing up a huge wall and toppling a bus like a wriggly herd of dead bastards either.

I'll still go to see it when it comes out and I'm looking forward to seeing how they tackle the story, but basically what I'm getting at is that fast zombies can go fuck themselves.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Dangerous Love

I've finally returned to the series of genuine Eighties-tastic delight that is Sweet Valley. And it's time for book six.  

Sweet Valley High #6: Dangerous Love

It's another gorgeous day in Sweet Valley (is it ever any other kind of day? I don't think it's rained in a single book so far) but Elizabeth Wakefield is on edge. You see, her super perfect boyfriend Todd has bought a motorbike but her parents have forbidden the twins from ever getting on one after their ridiculously-named cousin Rexy died in a motorbike crash. I vaguely remember Rexy being mentioned in other books that I would have read back when I was twelve or whatever, but I always assumed that cousin was a girl. It seems even more ridiculous now that it turns out that Rexy was a dude all this time. I mean, Rexy? Seriously? What would that even be short for?

Anyway, instead of just telling Todd why she can't go with him on his bike, Elizabeth is avoiding him and making up excuses so she can drive to school instead, as she's worried that he'll choose his bike over her. For once in her life, Jessica puts aside her psychotic tendencies and is actually the reasonable one, convincing Liz to just explain what's going on to Todd. So she does and Todd understands. Athough I'm not sure how much he actually understands, as at one point he says:

"The Elizabeth Wakefield I know is cautious, practical, and methodical, but she’s not a worrier."

For fuck's sake Todd, have you ever actually met Elizabeth before? In Power Play alone there were fourteen references to her being worried. After their conversation, Elizabeth watches Todd hurry off to work on a class project and thinks to herself that "everything was going to work out fine." Which is really the equivalent of her being the girl in the horror film who wanders off in her nightie, saying she'll be right back.

Todd and Elizabeth have agreed to meet at the Dairi Burger after school for the diner's big re-opening so Liz can fill her pointless Eyes and Ears column with gossip while kidding herself that she's a serious writer. Also, the Dairi Burger has undergone something of a makeover, which won't date badly at ALL.

"The most visible improvement was the replacement of the dingy, white tiled exterior with natural wood planking. The neon sign atop the roof, which used to read D RI URGE was gone too, and in its place was a brown plastic sign with the words spelled out in yellow script letters."

Nothing says class like yellow letters on brown plastic. Also, DRI URGE? Kate William, you're killing me. Anyway, Todd shows up at the diner with some bird from his class on the back of his bike, so Elizabeth acts like this automatically means they've been fucking and gets crazy jealous. A few days later he gives Enid a spin on the bike, leaving Liz on her own at the bus stop and giving her the opportunity to be all tragic on the way to school. "Blinking back tears, she found a seat on the bus and rode to school alone." Aww.

Later that day, Liz goes to the school newspaper office and ends up telling sexy Mr. Collins all about how upset she is over everything. He tells her to cop on and talk to Todd, in so many words, which she resolves to do. "It was funny, Elizabeth thought. Mr. Collins was always around when she needed him." Looks like those night vision goggles are paying off, Mr. Collins.

Liz and Todd are meeting at the Dairi Burger after school again, because it appears that no one is getting fed at home in this book. Instead of taking the bus, Liz accepts a lift from Guy Chesney, keyboard player for The Droids, who then proceeds to creep all over her in the car on the way there, while asking her about her boyfriend. It's pretty weird. When they get to the diner and Todd sees Liz getting out of Guy's car, he gets all jealous, the great big hypocrite, so they talk it out and laugh about how silly they're both being, with Todd deciding that he won't bring any other young wans for a spin on his bike anymore.

Meanwhile, Jessica has the big steely balls to ask Elizabeth if she'll convince Enid to set her up with Enid's sexy cousin Brian. According to Jessica's logic, that time she tried to screw Enid over she was actually doing her a favour and reckons that Enid "owes her one". Oh Jess. Never change, you total looper. At first, Enid tells Elizabeth that Jessica can go and shite (again, in so many words) but later on in the book she changes her mind and decides that Brian would have such a good time with Jessica that it was spiteful of her to refuse. Eh YES Enid, it's ok to be spiteful here because Jessica is a CRAZY BITCH WHO TRIED TO RUIN YOUR LIFE. Jesus, these kids suck at holding a grudge.

So, Enid is having a party for her sixteenth birthday and despite the fact that all the cool kids seem to have no time for her whatsoever, absolutely EVERYONE in the school is going. Also, her boyfriend George is in college and Enid is FIFTEEN. And that doesn't seem to strike anyone as a bit weird. The college boys in Sweet Valley like 'em young. It's creepy. Oh and the chapter right before the party ends with: "Enid's party was going to be great, Elizabeth thought. She could hardly wait." At this point she's practically running around shouting "What could POSSIBLY go wrong?!" Boy, I sure hope nothing TERRIBLE happens.

We get to the party, and the Sweet Valley Country Club is all decked out in blue and yellow carnations and sounds like a Leap Day party from 30 Rock.

Oh, and Mr. Collins is there as a chaperone. At a party that has fucking nothing to do with the school. GET A GODDAMN HOBBY, DUDE. Seriously.

Anyway, Elizabeth spends the entire party waiting around for Todd to show up, instead of just joining her friends and having the craic. She knows everyone at the party and yet she waits outside for most of it, like an idiot. Todd eventually shows up when everyone else has left, as the party has moved on to a club. It turns out that he was so late because he was sorting out selling his motorbike to Crunch McAllister, the local high school dropout and construction worker who drives a purple van. (No, really.) Elizabeth decides she wants Todd to drive her to the club on the bike, as it's her last chance to have a go on it.


Todd says no way, as he promised her parents that he'd never let her on it, but she wears him down, so they go for a spin and everything's great. EXCEPT IT'S NOT BECAUSE THEY CRASH. And they crash because they meet Crunch on the road, drink driving in his Mystery Machine and Elizabeth ends up in a coma. NOOOO!

Everyone is super sad at the hospital and all the Wakefields are mad at Todd. Mr. Collins shows up, because it appears that he has nothing else to be doing, and consoles Todd.

"You look like you need a friend" Mr. Collins said. When Todd didn't respond, he grabbed the boy around his waist.


The book ends with Liz still in the coma and Jessica promising to be a better sister from now on. Ha! Let's not hold our breath on that count. But will Liz come out of the coma? With only 146 books in the series to go, it's anyone's guess. THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.

Notable outfit:
"After much searching, her twin had finally found an outfit that did her justice, a black-and-white satin jumpsuit held in place by two tiny spaghetti straps. With her hair piled atop her head and long black-and-white earrings dangling from her lobes, Jessica looked stunning."


Things I counted:
Number of pages: 118
References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 2 (Boo.)
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 4
Eye colour mentions in general: 6

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Long Overdue Paris Post

A few weeks ago, myself and the Bear, along with Billy and The Incredible Mulq went off to Paris for a few days and I'm only getting around to posting about it now because, well, I'm easily distracted. Also, I recently fractured my ankle, which isn't really an excuse seeing as I've been confined to the couch since then, but still. Anyway, Paris was all kinds of fun and there were many many Taken jokes. "Where's my scarf?" *Liam Neeson voice* "It's been TAKEN."

The Friday was spent in Disneyland, where I kept breaking into a run without really meaning to, because I was so excited and just love it there so goddamn much.

There was quite a lot of running around to get a go (and a second go) on all the rollercoasters, in fact at one point the Bear and I were told to stop running by one of the Indiana Jones rollercoaster staff, like we were bold children. It's the park's 20th birthday this year, so there waas a big parade halfway through the day, which we didn't think we'd have any interest in as we were busy making our way to Space Mountain and Star Tours at the time. That was until The Incredible Mulq and I saw the floats coming down the street with Ariel and Rapunzel waving at the crowds and found ourselves drawn in and taking about a million photos.

However, the real birthday celebration spectacle was right before the park closed for the night, where a light show was projected onto the castle, alongside the big songs from Disney films over the years. It was genuinely one of the best things I've ever seen. At one point the castle had red brick chimneys and dancing chimney sweeps projected onto it for Step In Time from Mary Poppins. I involuntarily started dancing at that point, it's physically impossible to stay still during that song. My review of it at the time was something along the lines of "The parades can go fuck themselves, THAT was amazing." It's pretty hard to describe what the whole thing was like and almost impossible to get a decent photo to do it justice, but here's one anyway from when it went all steampunky and I nearly passed out from excitement. 

During the last minute flurry of not needing anything but wanting to buy everything in the shops on our way out, I noticed a pair of knickers with a face on them. Not just any face though, the face of Marie from The Aristocats. A kitten with a child's voice. Pretty weird.

Ladies and gentlemen, a Disney pussy joke.

It rained for the rest of the weekend, so Saturday was spent at a covered flea market, almost having lunch in the cafe from Amelie, until we got there and found that it was jammed with people and overpriced to boot and making our way to Sacre Coeur, where it stopped raining long enough for us to see the view and amble to the nearest pub.

A necklace I bought at the flea market.

On Sunday, the Bear and I attempted to do a photos with landmarks day, but the unrelenting rain was making it a lot less fun that it should have been. We got as far as Notre Dame and saw a ferret though, so that was cool. I think I'd quite like a ferret now.

While taking shelter from the rain in the swanky shopping mall under the Louvre, we used the free wifi to try to find something to do indoors and discovered that the Decorative Arts museum nearby was running an exhibition of Star Wars toys. I was trying to find out more on my phone when the Bear just looked at me said "What are you still reading for!? There are TOYS there and they might let me PLAY WITH THEM."

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to play with anything, but it was still awesome. We actually did it backwards by accident, as we ended up in the room with the toys from the recent films first and zipped through that pretty quick because really, who gives a fuck about those toys. The area for the original films was properly deadly though. There was original poster art, promotional shop signs from the seventies, moulds for action figures, concept art and printers proofs for packaging.

We totally win at being in Paris.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Every Sperm Is Sacred

Earlier this year, my lovely friend Sam met some American nuns in a chipper during the Eucharistic Congress. He took their picture because I think we could all agree that a photo of nuns in proper old school habits waiting for a batter burger in a chip shop would be deadly. It was. He subsequently emailed it to them, but then ended up on a mailing list and was sent an anti contraception video by the order. In the meantime, the video has done the rounds online, appearing on Jezebel and The Huffington Post and it is genuinely the MOST INSANE thirteen and a half minutes you will ever experience IN YOUR LIFE.

Now I'd be the first person to say balls to that on seeing that a YouTube clip was running anything over three minutes and doesn't even feature a cat doing something cute, but SERIOUSLY, stick with it because you will not regret watching this entire thing. Although you might get a pain in your face from laughing and pulling faces of disbelief. I know I did.

So let's have a little look at these alleged truth bombs being dropped all up on us by the good sisters, shall we?

According to the video, women who take contraceptives don't give off sexy fertility pheromones any more, so the menfolk are all confused.

"What is a man to do when the majority of women are contracepting and he no longer finds them desirable?"

Aha! So THIS is why no-one fancies anyone anymore and everyone in the world has stopped having sex, right? Finally, the truth! However, contracepting is not a word.

"Contracepting women degrade themselves through immodest dress and action in an attempt to attract men who are confused from a lack of fertile women." (Seriously, not an actual word.)

Those WHORES. With their slutty wine and their slutty make-up, painting their GODLESS FACES. And you'd think that if they're going to degrade themselves they could at least do it in a decent pair of shoes.

Now, before you laugh off the video's claims like the feckless tramp you undoubtedly are, they're about to drop some SCIENCE on you. In the seventies, a researcher injected some lady monkeys with a contraceptive, which caused the alpha male to stop being attracted to them. Then ALL the lady monkeys were injected and as a result, the alpha male started having GAY MONKEY SEX because he lost interest in all the females. So if your boyfriend is a chimpanzee and you're taking the Pill, then congratulations you hussy, you've just turned your monkey boyfriend GAY. I hope you're proud of yourself.

Also, your pill will KILL YOU.

If you're trying to be serious, maybe fluorescent pink isn't the best choice.

"It is impossible to calculate the number of deaths due to contraception because mortality is often attributed to another cause."

Like, say, oh I don't know... the ACTUAL cause?

But nevermind all that, because just taking the pill in the morning means that you're KILLING BABIES. Don't you see that preventing an egg from becoming fertilised is THE EXACT SAME as trampling over newborns every day and stabbing them in the heart with the heels of your whore shoes? WELL IT IS. BECAUSE SCIENCE.

"It's impossible to calculate how many millions of babies have died [from women using contraceptives]."

But wait! There's more! Those fiendish contraceptabots are peeing oestrogen into the water supply and making everyone infertile! Surely a fate worse than neon pink DEATH!

I'm not sure what's more offensive, every claim made by this video, or the fact that they had the audacity to use the Jurassic Park typeface.

By the way, that scrolling Star Wars list reads: adultery, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, promiscuity, adultery, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, sexually transmitted disease, promiscuity, adultery, divorce, abortion, homosexuality, sexually transmitted disease and promiscuity. So good they listed everything thrice. In case you missed any of them the first time around.

Something else this video taught me is that placing the word FACT in front of any old bullshit automatically MAKES IT TRUE.

Exhibit A:

According to the video everyone in the WORLD could live in Texas quite comfortably. WHAT A GOSH DARN RELIEF, GUYS. I'm off to get my cowboy hat and see if JR Ewing will put me up in Southfork.

There's also a great part where they bring up different birth rates for countries. Apparently Japanese people are in danger of becoming extinct. Then there's the statistics for each country and the USA one is particularly great.

Because ewww brown babies don't count, obviously.

So, there's not enough babies in the world and selfish trampy women deciding that they want to get the ride and not be knocked up are ruining everything. However, if you DO want a baby but have to use IVF, well God is STILL mad at you.You seriously cannot win with these nuns.

"This creation of life comes with a price. For every single child born, thirty are created. The other twenty nine are either killed or frozen."

IVF IS KILLING SPARE BABIES. Except they're not actually babies at all, but let's not allow logic or facts to get in the way here.

Oh and because of this "birth control mentality" (i.e. doing what you like and not being constantly pregnant), some guy in California fucks his dogs and it's our fault for some reason.

Wait a second, they weren't talking about doggy style at all! They want to have sex with tigers and bonobo monkeys! Those crafty BASTARDS!

One of the most jaw-dropping quotes from the video (and there are SO FUCKING MANY of those) is the following:

"If you had a valuable racehorse, because of its worth, you'd want it to have as many offspring as possible. But the value of a horse is nothing compared to the infinite value of each and every person."

Oh and this one is pretty good too: "We're not stray cats that need to be neutered. We should want to procreate."

Ladies! You're more important than racehorses and you're not cats and as such you must be pregnant AT ALL TIMES or God will smite you right in the vagina. And then you'll be sorry.

Also, this:

Yeah, let that sink in, sluts. Welcome to Deathtown, population: YOU.

I have to say, I sure hope the voiceover lady was seconds away from going into labour while recording for this video, or at the very least she should have been heavily pregnant while breastfeeding one of her eight small children. Otherwise, she's no better than us contraceptive-using, non-pregnant floozies, right? Right!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quelque Chose #18

In 1932, at the age of 22, an Irish girl called Margaret Kelly was a showgirl and choreographer at the Folies Bergère in Paris. She was nicknamed "Miss Bluebell", because of her striking blue eyes and created her own dance group, called the Bluebell Girls. She employed the tallest girls she could find, often recruiting classical dancers who has grown too tall to become professional ballerinas. In 1948, she moved the Bluebell Girls to the Lido and was notoriously protective of them, as rich men quite liked the idea of having a Bluebell Girl for a wife. She often repeated the line "My girls are my girls." To this day, the Bluebell Girls still dance at the Lido, an apparently unmatched record of longevity in show business.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

From Hell

Towards the end of next week the Bear and I, along with Billy and The Incredible Mulq, are skipping off to Paris for a few days and I am SO GODDAMN EXCITED. It's been three years since my last trip there and I'm having serious Disneyland withdrawals. Anyway, quite by coincidence, I came across this totally fucking bonkers and amazing Parisian restaurant online a few days ago. The downside? It closed somewhere around 1950. Boo.

Café de l'Enfer was a Hell-themed restaurant and opened in the late nineteenth century in Pigalle. It was possibly one of the first ever themed restaurants and doesn't it look like it was about a bajillion times more fun than Planet Hollywood or the Hard Rock Cafe?

Just look at this fucking awesome door! It might just be one of the best things I've ever seen. Raaawwr! THANK YOU INTERNET.

The interior was described by National Geographic as having "plaster lost souls writhing on its walls", the doorman wore a Satan suit and greeted customers by saying "Enter and be damned!" and the waiters were dressed as devils. Also:

An order for three black coffees spiked with cognac was shrieked back to the kitchen as: "Three seething bumpers of molten sins, with a dash of brimstone intensifier!"

Ok, to be honest, all the screaming and the lost souls eyeballing you while you eat your dinner might have made for a somewhat stressful dining experience, but Jaysus it would have been tremendous craic too.

Some smart arse went on to open a cafe next door called Heaven. It looks lovely and all, but I know which one I'd rather go to. I'll see your starry celestial entrance and raise you a FUCKING GIANT DEMON MOUTH.

Apparently a Monoprix supermarket stands on the site these days. It's a goddamn crime that a building facade as awesome as that was ever torn down. Fuck you, Paris.*

*Not really, I love you Paris, please don't rain all over us when we are in you.

Images yoinked from Retronaut.