May 31, 2010


Dear Blog,

I know I've been neglecting you lately. Sorry. I've been busy, with:

1. Revising novel, again (see above).
2. New book reviewing gig at the Good Men Project (see left).
3. Hopeless addiction to racehorse betting (see biscuit).

To be honest, I doubt things are going to get much better soon, either, because:

a. I'm moving in a month.
b. The World Cup starts in ten days.
c. I'm still busy with points 1 and 2 above. (Point 3 was a joke.)

However, I'm going to try my best to be a little more prolific this month, so please bear with me. After all:

i. We're all human.
ii. Quality is more important than quantity.
iii. Where else can you find quality pun- and/or list-based humour these days?

A. Ladd

May 28, 2010

May 27, 2010

Austerity Measures

From BBC News: Greek PM's phone cut by mistake
A technician mistakenly cut off the home phone line of Greek premier George Papandreou while trying to disconnect a customer behind in payments.

The other customer's number was the same as the prime minister's, apart from one digit.
So NOT the same, then?

This might seem like a funny story already, but this is by far my favourite part:
"It was not a red phone", a [telecom] worker told the BBC, meaning that it was not one of Mr Papandreou's priority lines.
Wait... The Greek prime minister has a BATPHONE?!?!?! Maybe if he were using it more things wouldn't be in such a mess down there.


May 23, 2010

Sexual Healing

From BBC News: Heart attack survivors 'fear sex'
Heart attack survivors are highly likely to avoid sex, fearing it could kill them, US researchers say....

Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, who led the study of 1,700 people, said the chance of dying during sex was "really small".
...Two words that are sure to restore any man's sex drive.
Experts say it is safe for heart attack survivors to start having sex again once they are capable of moderate exercise, such as climbing a few flights of stairs.
So basically, if you can get to the bedroom in the first place, go nuts.
Dr Lindau said: "Most heart attack patients are sexually active. But for the most part, physicians just aren't discussing this topic with their patients after a heart attack."
Well, I mean, that would be pretty weird.

PATIENT: [waking up] I... Where am I?

DOCTOR: You're in the hospital, Mr Jones. You suffered a heart attack.

PATIENT: My god.

DOCTOR: Don't worry, you're over the worst of it now — you're going to pull through.

PATIENT: Oh, thank you, doctor. What can I ever do to repay you?

DOCTOR: Well, let's talk about your level of sexual activity.
Cathy Ross, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said patients should be given information about resuming their sex lives when they were discharged.
But I thought the whole point was to give them that information BEFORE they were discharged.


May 21, 2010

May 20, 2010

Department of Jessica Seinfeld

Dear New Yorker,

If you're going to start publishing Shouts & Murmurs pieces that are irritatingly similar to the submissions I send you, that's fine. I get it. Ideas for Shouts & Murmurs pieces are probably more finite than you'd like anyone to believe. But Jesus, if you really have to do it, at least pick something that's significantly better than what I sent you.

Respectfully yrs,

A. Ladd
It's The Only One We've Got

In today's atmosphere of economic uncertainty and corporate belt-tightening, parents are increasingly facing the prospect of their twenty-something children moving home. If you’re one of these parents, you may be dreading your child’s imminent return, but in fact, you needn’t worry: if current trends continue, your situation will soon be the rule rather than the exception — and in the meantime, you can take a healthy dose of solace in the fact that the squalid leech in your basement is a badge of eco-friendliness that will make you the envy of all your friends!

To begin with, the majority of your son or daughter’s growing demographic don’t own cars — they walk, bike, take the bus, or, indeed, simply forgo leaving the house entirely for days on end. After all, why commute to some stolid, old-fashioned job when your blog about bison meat is on the verge of going mainstream? Even your Prius carpool can’t hope to achieve so tiny a carbon footprint!

But that’s not all! Those “eccentric” kitchen habits they picked up at college could come directly from a Good Housekeeping guide to water conservation: your child and their peers eschew crockery and silverware in favour of whatever container the food was in to begin with; and if something has no container, then they just eat it over the sink! Sure, perhaps it’s a little unsightly to watch someone trickle orange juice down their bathrobe as they slurp it from the carton each morning (or, more commonly, afternoon) — but each glass not washed by hand can save up to a gallon of hot water. By some estimates, the average person will conserve forty gallons of water a day if they can just avoid doing dishes, and that means your bottom-dwelling progeny could be saving you tens of thousands of gallons per year. That's the sort of result that will make your fellow book club members green with envy — though still not as green as you!)

Speaking of conserving water, that pungent fragrance emanating from behind so many bedroom doors is not just from marijuana: it stems from your child’s personal hygiene habits, which are a perfect model of energy efficiency. For them, showers can be postponed for whole days and weeks, or even, during particularly spirited bouts of Beatles Rock Band, indefinitely. And those dreadlocks on which they laboured for so long? The ones that make you wonder if your neighbors can produce any expression but a sneer? Well, they can’t be washed more than once a month! Imagine the reduction in shampooing time!

Don’t forget their approach to laundry, either. For the typical malingering dropout, the system works like this: if you can sniff the armpit of a t-shirt without recoiling in nausea, then it’s okay to wear again; if you can turn your underwear inside out without too egregiously soiling the insides of your jeans, by all means do so. Simple tricks like these can cut two or three laundry days out of every month, which is another 130 gallons of water, roughly, that can be used elsewhere — to say nothing of the electricity not being used by your dryer. And clothes last longer when washed infrequently, so the I Brake For Blowjobs t-shirt you find so urbane will continue to appear at the dinner table for many more years to come. No more driving the kids to T.J. Maxx for you!

Ultimately, while you might be tempted to complain about the constant bass thumping through the walls of your home, or the Family Guy episodes perpetually cluttering up the Tivo, you should always remember three important facts. One: what’s good for the environment is good for you. Two: once a baby is on its way they’ll have no choice but to find a place of their own (and that won’t be long, if the weekly Saturday night noises from their bedroom are anything to go by). And, three: at least that beanbag they found on the street last week matches the carpeting.

Your planet thanks you!

May 19, 2010

Rising To The Occasion

From AOL Health: Men Who Use Viagra Risk Hearing Loss

In an unrelated story, Jay Leno's head exploded today. Here are the jokes from the notebook he was writing in at the time:
No, really, did you read about this? Did you read about this? Apparently, men who take Viagra are twice as likely to develop hearing loss as men who don't... See, ladies? Now you know that when he doesn't answer your calls the next day it's because he can't hear the phone.

No, this is true, really. And I mean, they say it's a negative side effect — but actually it makes the men taking it last even longer. Yeah, because they can't hear their wives telling them they're finished.

Yeah, and apparently sales of Viagra have actually doubled since this story was released. Turns out women are buying it now too — that way they don't have to listen to their husbands snoring afterwards.

No, but really, did you hear this? The scientists who published the results said they started the study because of previous research showing their might be a link between Viagra and hearing loss. And the lead researcher said, this is true, "We wanted to see if the link held up."... Yeah, well, with Viagra the link ALWAYS holds up, if you know what I mean! Am I right, Kevin?

May 14, 2010

May 11, 2010

Define "Cool"

From BBC News: West Midlands Ambulance Service defend 'Hitler' survey
Some West Midlands Ambulance Service staff contacted their union after being asked if they thought Adolf Hitler was a "cool" leader in an NHS survey…

"In discussing different styles of leadership a survey, which is one small part of the project, sought to include an analysis of a dictatorial style.

"With hindsight, it would have been better to have used a different example.
I'll say — haven't they heard of Gordon Brown? Hey-oh!

N.B. Not comparing Gordon Brown to Hitler, which EVEN WITHOUT HINDSIGHT I realise would be a terrible idea; merely reminding people that he is alleged to treat his immediate staff in a dictatorial way.

But really: there's no excuse for the phrase "Choosing Hitler was a bad idea" ever being preceded by "In hindsight".


In other news, as if it wasn't bad enough that Britain officially has a smarmy toff for Prime Minister and my socialist utopia lies in ruins — now there's a bloomin' great ash cloud sitting in the middle of the Atlantic so my parents might not even be able to escape the new bloke's Etonian talons this week! FML.

May 07, 2010

May 06, 2010

On The Edge Of Your Seats: Live Updates From Election Night In Britain

[05:51 BST: Andrew goes to bed, even further securing status as worst live blogger ever.]

05:23 BST: Edit: England has now swung 6.2% to the Tories. FFS. It's like a Smurf threw up down there.

04:57 BST: Sexism is alive and well in the British media:

"She looks extremely upset"??!?! WTF?! How is that even remotely relevant? Unless the headlines tomorrow read "Gordon Brown a bit teary at defeat" I call foul here.

04:47 BST: David Milliband (how many Davids are there in this damn election, anyway?) has provided a prime example of how much more gentlemanly British politics are than American politics:
If indeed no party has won an absolute majority then it seems to me perfectly reasonable and right that parties should talk to each other to see if they can find common ground to establish a strong and stable government. There's no harm in that.

It's a good thing to do when the voters have clearly not embraced any of us and given us the absolute majority that we are all seeking.

04:41 BST: The Tories are now sitting on a gain of 50-ish seats. David Cameron claims the country wants "change". No word yet on "hope".

04:05 BST: In Scotland, the vote has swung 0.2% towards Labour; in England, the vote has swung 1.2% towards the Conservatives. Fucking England ruins everything.

03:59 BST: Gordon Brown has managed to hold onto Cowdenbeath. THANK GOD.

03:55 BST: The Tories have gained 32 seats so far, almost all of them from Labour. David Cameron says Labour has "lost its mandate to govern"; David Blunkett says Labour has "lost". Gordon Brown says Labour has "a sexy dog of a leader".

[00:00 BST – 03:45 BST: Andrew goes to leisurely dinner with friends, securing status as worst live blogger ever]

23:49 BST: The BBC is reporting that some polling stations "have locked voters in polling stations after the official close of voting to allow them to cast their ballots". Now THAT'S democracy! ("Nobody is going anywhere until you've all cast your goddamn votes!")

23:36 BST: A third Labour hold in Sunderland Central, though the swing in votes to the Tories suggests that as a whole the country may have gone f*cking crazy.

23:29 BST: A second seat has now been held by Labour: Washington & Sunderland West. (Further proof that Obama has brought socialism to Washington.)

23:20 BST: Best description of Peter Mandelson ever: "Labour's election supremo Lord Mandelson".

22:52 BST: The first seat to be called has been held by Labour. Gordon Brown was reportedly quick to call and congratulate the victor, Bridget Phillipson of Houghton & Sunderland South, though he mistakenly addressed her as Mr Brian Phillerman and then muttered under his breath that she sounded like a prole.

May 05, 2010

Hellenic Handbasket

I wouldn't worry — if their Euro 2008 appearance was anything to go by, Greek strikers can't hit anything with much success.

Only five weeks 'til the World Cup!

May 02, 2010

Aqueduct For Cover

From Crews Race to Fix Break in Boston's Water Supply
BOSTON (AP) -- Workers began installing on Sunday a metal collar they hoped would provide a quicker-than-expected fix to a break in a major pipe that inhibited the supply of clean water to 2 million people in the Boston area. . . .

Gov. Deval Patrick ordered residents to boil water, since some untreated water has entered the system. It remained safe for firefighting, showering and toilet flushing.
Question: at what point does water cease to be safe for toilet flushing? I mean, my God, this is poop we're talking about, people! How clean does our toilet-flushing water ever need to be?

Speaking of facts about this story that confuse me:
The source of the rupture has been identified in the pipe break that has caused nearly two million people in the Boston area to lose their supply of clean drinking water.
This is the rupture that was pouring eight million gallons of water an hour into the Charles yesterday, right? Shouldn't that have been pretty easy to identify? IT'S THE GIANT LEAK NEAR THE CHARLES.

On the bright side, now I at least know why I pay my ridiculous Cambridge rent.