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Updated Every Weekday!

18/10/2002: Smoke 'Em If You've Occam

Since L&E was down last week the article for this week is once again my review of Hellraiser 3 so as not to confuse anything. If you enjoyed it last time, you can enjoy it again! Not satisfied? Oh well. Here's a proper update.

I would like to take a moment of your time to discuss a popular rule of logic. You may have heard of it. It's called Occam's Razor. Most people think of this as 'the simplest solution is most probably the correct one'. That's a sort of watered-down version for the use of the lower classes and people who think they're clever. The actual rule is more like: 'don't introduce hypothetical third parties to explain a situation when it can be just as easily explained without'. For instance, if a small boy is standing next to a half-eaten cake with chocolate stains around his mouth, and he claims that a third party in the form of a dog burst in, ate the cake and then licked the boy's face, Occam would call that boy a liar. Especially if there is no dog in the household.

Now, this is a fairly sensible rule of logic which I tend to ignore completely for comic effect (see Tuesday's update), but surely that's my point. It's such an obvious rule, why does it need a special name? Why can't this Occam guy just get over himself? Hell, anyone can put a special name to some obvious rule and become a household name overnight. Don't attach clothes pegs to your nipples. There, I've done it. That's Yahtzee's Razor, that is. Yahtzee's First Rule of Nipple Survival. Now I come to think about it, I could write a whole book. Don't get your nipples too close to a whirling blade. Don't smear your nipples in fish paste and dance around in front of hungry cats. There's your Yahtzee's Second and Third Rules of Nipple Survival right there.

I wish he had a beard. Then I could have said 'Looks like he could do with a razor! Ha ha ha!'.
The man himself.

Are you seriously telling me that until Occam came along and sorted everything out people were just believing in whatever hypothetical third parties they could think of? Allow me to dramatise this situation to make my point slightly more immediate.

 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

A, a fool.
B, a clever-clogs.

SCENE 1: A's house, one week before Occam's new book, Me and My Razor, is released.

A: Hey, when I got back from my holidays I found that my cat was missing and my dog was licking his chops and patting his tummy in satisfaction! I therefore think that aliens kidnapped my cat and fed my dog!

B: But surely a simpler explanation would be more plausible.

A: Oh yeah, who says?

B: Well ... no-one, it's just one of those things everyone knows.

A: Well, until someone says that theory officially and gives it an official name, I'm believing whatever the hell I like, thank you.

SCENE 2: A's house, one week after Occam's book is released.

A: Hey, the cat I bought to replace the old one has disappeared too! And my dog has been fed while I was out again! I suspect those wily aliens again.

B: (brandishing a signed copy of Occam's book) But wait! Occam's Razor tells us not to come up with complicated answers when a simple one will do! The simple answer is that the dog ate your cat, therefore that must be the correct one!

A: Damn you, Occam! Damn you to HELL!

 

It must have been fun back in the dawn of scientific evolution, before we knew everything. Any new theory or rule you came up with or identified got your name slapped on the front. Nowadays everything you can think of some egotistical tosser has already claimed. It's kind of childish when you think about it, like putting name labels on your PE kit. To get one of those fancy names nowadays you have to come up with something seriously outlandish, then write a book about it for people with long beards to read and mock in highbrow scientific journals. The only recent one I can think of is Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and that doesn't even officially have his name on it. I suppose I could say "buttered toast always falls buttered side down" and call that Yahtzee's First Law of Toast Dropping, but some git would no doubt point out that someone else thought of that first.

Back in Ancient Greek times, though, you couldn't move for smarty men calling dibs on new thoughts. Pythagorus' Theorem, Euclid's Theorem, Xeno's one about tortoises and arrows ... the last one of those is total poo-poo on a pointed stick, but he still got to stick his name on it. It seemed no-one really cared what you said, if you gave it a proper name, suddenly you're hot property and getting an interview on Parkinson.

Why did he call it a 'Razor', anyway? Any normal big-bearded weirdo would have called it a rule, or a law. Not our Occam! He was the true visionary. I think he was trying to re-invent the word or start a new trend or something. Or maybe he was a bit dim, and didn't know what to call his new law, so he resorted to the dictionary. There weren't as many words back then so 'Razor' was right above 'Rule' and he just misread it. But that idea is blown right out of the fucking water because the dictionary wasn't written until Dr. Samuel Johnson pulled his finger out in the 18th century.

Not so hard now, is it?
Occam's Razor.

Somehow, having ranted about this for a whole update, I've suddenly lost all interest I had in the subject.

I'm going back to bed.

17/10/2002: Worry, worry, worry

Here is something that worries me.

Have you ever seen in those dirty films where a couple push some plates and stuff off a table as a precursor to shagging over it? Yes, it's all very impressive in the throes of passion, but what about afterwards? Does one party start complaining to the other about the destruction of their mother's best china? Do they kneel on the floor together picking up all the bits in a dustpan silently, trying not to make eye contact?

It's the same problem with ripping clothes off. Sure it's impressive and passionate, but dammit, I only have three or four good t-shirts and only one or two pairs of trousers, I can't afford to have people ripping them off willy-nilly. All you have to do is ask and I'll be more than happy to just take them off myself. It wouldn't be as racy but at least there wouldn't be buttons all over the floor afterwards. There's no need to get violent no matter how much you want me.

But getting back to the plates, that's another matter entirely. With the clothes you can just wear garments that fasten with those little popper things which can be easily ripped open without fear of damaging the material, but what can you do with plates?

Well, you have a couple of options. You can either, if you know you're going to be shagging over the table after tea, eat only off paper plates, or eat in a room with thick-pile carpets (in which case you should probably wait until you've eaten everything, especially if you're having custard).

Or, on the other hand, you could make use of my latest invention.

Yes, friends, I saw a niche for a product and I filled it. PASSION PLATES (patent pending) are the only plates that are actually designed to be pushed off a table in the throes of passion!

Constructed from cheap sugar glass, these decorative pieces of crockery have been known to shatter if you cough too loudly. If you suspect hubby is going to be horny after he comes home from his day job at the brothel, simply arrange PASSION PLATES (patent pending) over the table nicely and, when he bursts in and starts fumbling in your bra, just sweep them all off and start getting bizzay! Don't worry about the cost - PASSION PLATES (patent pending) are only two quid for a box of twenty! You could shatter a whole warehouse of the things and still not have paid more than you would for a VCR!

Rowrr!

For a little extra, PASSION PLATES D-LUX (patent pending) come decorated with extremely naughty pictures of nudes from several famous works of art, and are treated with a special pheromone to really get your blood pumping! Note - do not eat off of PASSION PLATES D-LUX (patent pending) as anything you put on them will taste like shit and probably kill you. But hey, I guess that hasn't stopped the smokers of the world.

But what about all the bits of shattered plate lying around? Don't worry! When they're broken, PASSION PLATES (patent pending) emit a special scent which is extremely attractive to children under 10. Use your existing little bastards as natural vacuum cleaners as they eat every last shard! Of course, they will probably die hideous painful deaths, but hey, you can always make new ones! Isn't that why you're shagging over a table in the first place?

But don't just take our word for it!

"Before Passion Plates my husband was a total washout in the bedroom area. He had to take Viagra by the handful and use a large green vegetable as a substitute. But now he's a veritable stallion of a man, who has been known to leap upon me whenever and wherever the fancy takes hiiiiiiiiiwdjdksamccsapodf"
- Lonnie McKnockers, housewife

"Passion Plates not only made our sex life much more interesting, they also fixed the TV and brought our spaniel Liam back to life! We pledge our very souls to Passion Plates!"
- Billy Destro, politician

So there you have it! Just send two quid in a cheque or postal order (plus 199.99 postage and packing) and we'll rush over a trial pack of PASSION PLATES (patent pending) today! Remember that PASSION PLATES (patent pending) aren't sold in shops, because they're crap!

Night, all.

16/10/2002: Killer Filler

Torn mercilessly from Friday's paper:

Someone do let me know if they can sue me for putting this up.

See, why can't things this cool happen more often? The most we ever usually read about in the Daily Mail is how the government is lying to us and how twenty-pound over-50s STILL find a way to look sexy and glamourous (or so we're led to believe; the pictorial evidence doesn't back this up very well). That probably explains why this little piece was delegated to a page deep within the heart of the paper, a few pages after a scoop that smoking can cause cancer.

I hate using the word 'arsenal'. I always mentally block out the last three letters and the whole concept loses credibility. I start thinking of referring to prisoners concealing weapons between the lips they never kiss with and wondering how I can work that into a suitably cringeworthy pun.

But enough of this editorialising. I draw your attention to this segment here, illuminated carefully with Photoshop just like all the real newspapers.

Yes, you read that right. In between all the other deathbringers they found a HAMMER. This isn't particularly amazing, it's just amazing that they felt this was important.

CONSTABLE: Sergeant! Sergeant! We found this bloke with a bunch of pistols and sub-machine pistols and stuff in his basement!

SERGEANT: You get so hot-headed sometimes, don't you, constable? Hundreds of people own guns just for sport, you know.

CONSTABLE: But he also has 100 rounds of ammunition, a stolen high-powered motorbike, handcuffs, balaclavas, ski masks, boilersuits the works!

SERGEANT: So? I've probably had all of those at one time or another! Come back when you have some real evidence, sonny.

CONSTABLE: Oh, and he has a hammer, as well.

SERGEANT: WHAT?! A HAMMER?! FUCK! GET SO7 ROUND THERE ASAP! JESUS CHRIST WE'D BETTER GET THERE BEFORE HE HITS SOMEONE WITH IT!

It should really have occurred to the police and the 'elite SO7 squad', whatever the hell that is, that if a man owns half a dozen silenced pistols and enough ammo to topple the end-of-game baddy from Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, he's probably not going to settle disputes by biffing people with a ball-peen. It's the same reason he's not going to try hammering in nails with the barrel of his AK47. You might as well include the fact that he wears potentially hazardous loud shirts, too.

On the other hand, this could just be over-zealous journalism. Note that the author of this piece boldly states that the arsenal was 'thought to be for use in contract killings', when the only quote we have from the police is that it looked like 'a contract killer's kit', of all things. There's still the possibility that the guy's just a collector, and he was using the hammer to mount his favourite gun rack when the police came calling. "He's got guns! And ... a hammer! And a microwave oven! And some fairly sturdy books!"

On the other other hand, maybe that was a full account of everything that was in the place, just for the sake of completeness. They probably also mentioned that the lock-up was decorated with textured wallpaper before the editor got out his snippy-snips. I still think mentioning the hammer was entirely unnecessary, though. As was the bit about Ingram pistols being used in James Bond films, which I believe was included to bring the story down to the level of the ordinary moron in the street.

Here's how the Daily Mail would report a raid on a drug dealer's house.

"Police discovered over 10000 worth of cocaine stuffed into the armchairs, ten buckets of heroin in the kitchen, a vacuum cleaner full of methamphetamines and ecstasy tablets, and three packets of Lemsip in the medicine cabinet. A vacuum cleaner is a device used to remove dirt from carpets made famous for not being used in James Bond films."

15/10/2002: Ghost Storey

I'm still working as a data enterererer for the most trusting company on Earth near the town centre. While the days are long and dull and I don't get as much time alone as I had previously believed, it's still a whole lot better than washing purple goo off metal trays or measuring filofaxes. What I mean is, while I certainly don't want to be doing this for eighty years, at least I can live with it for now. And above all else, I'm GOOD at it.

Yes, apparently it is possible to be good at something as menial as data entry. I'm quite the office star right now, working away stacks and stacks of surveys in surprisingly short amounts of time. I'm sure I'll be able to get a good reference when I move on. All in all, and at the risk of sounding bloggy, this is turning out to be a rewarding enterprise.

Oh, and the building is haunted.

I swear it is.

I was a bit surprised when I first arrived. The building is a fairly big business centre with loads of offices. For some reason, however, 90% of them are empty of human life. There's a board by the main entrance displaying all the companies based there, and it stops after four or five, leaving the rest of the board empty and blank. As I walk down the narrow corridor between the office and the kitchen or the toilets, all sound seems to grow faint. There's no-one else around. It's kind of eerie.

But I never really believed the place to be haunted until today. Shortly after lunchtime I went to the gent's to find that one of the two cubicles was closed and the door locked; this I found slightly bewildering, as as far as I had seen the only people working on the top floor seem to be women. Eventually I accepted the possibility that it was probably a visitor or something, and left quickly, because I hate being in a toilet with other people. It's really not the time for great social encounters.

That looks kind of like an old teacher of mine.
Ah, Google image search. Where would I be without you?

Anyway, when I returned just before I left for home, the cubicle was still reading 'occupied'. This is when I started to get suspicious. Could a visitor really be using the same gent's bog every time I went in there? A visitor who didn't seem to be making any noise at all? At once a vision overtook me - that there was a man lying dead or dying on the toilet, his throat cut from ear to ear. Having discovered him I would be targeted next by the culprit - undoubtedly an escaped lunatic or Mafia hitman. I would be placed in witness protection but tracked down, and be forced to have a final confrontation with the villain in a disused chemical plant over a vat of toxic waste. I would overpower him and he would topple into the goo, and I would think him dead until he returned again next issue as TOXIC MAN -

I dismissed the vision before it became too surreal. Reasoning that if there was someone dead in there then it was my public duty as the only person who seemed to use these toilets to discover him at some point, I entered the adjacent cubicle. No blood on the floor. Good sign. I peered under the partition, hoping the occupant would not merely turn out to be a burly sailor inflicted with Satan's Rectum. But no. No feet could be seen.

The sequence in the movie 'Scream' where the killer stands on the toilet flashed into my head. I stepped onto the lid of the toilet in the cubicle I was in and, prepared to duck back hurriedly, leaned over to have a good look inside the mystery cubicle.

Empty.

I had been entering data all day and frankly I needed all the brief moments of adventure I could get. I stood on the cistern and, momentarily thwarted now by the ceiling, I slipped over the partition wall - almost crushing a testicle on the way - and unlocked the door. My good deed for the day done, I turned to investigate the toilet.

There was a head in it.

HA, got ya.

No there wasn't. It, too, was as empty as a football hooligan's skull. I flushed it once, just in case the thing was broke and the discoverer of this had felt that locking the door and climbing out over the partition would be far more preferable to a simple 'out of order' sign.

I don't remember eating that...
HOLY SHIT.

So the mystery of the locked toilet haunts me to this evening, where I sit typing this little update. What was it, then? The ghost of some public schoolboy whose face had been held in the bowl for just too long? Unlikely. The place was slightly too modern to have proper ghosts, and besides, it had never even been a school, stupid.

So what, then?

I have a theory. It's a theory I've been living with for a long time. I have always sworn that, if at some point in the future I find a way to travel back in time, I will return to my past self and give me artefacts or information from the future that will aid me in becoming rich and famous. Winning lottery numbers, a copy of my first blockbuster novel, a fully functional robotic condom that spoke encouraging phrases during use, stuff like that. Here's what I think; My future self arrived back in the past to the office building where he knew I would be working, because his time machine can only send him back in time, not in space, and the office building was the only place he could get access to. He decided that if he remained there he would be seen and awkward questions would be raised. He hid in the toilet and locked the door to rethink his strategy, and decided to go forward to the following night, where he would meet me in my bedroom and do the proper business there. Having decided on a plan of action, he teleported to the near future, forgetting to unlock the door.

Right then. It's clear what I have to do now. The internet will probably still exist in whatever technologically marvellous future we end up with, so logically this page will still exist then. My future self will be looking over these old pages to find this very paragraph which will refer to when he should return to. Ready, future self? The date you're looking for is the 14th of October, 2002. I'll be waiting for you at around midnight in my bedroom. I'll leave the door unlocked.

OK, I'll keep you guys posted as to the further adventures of me and my future self as soon as they arise. Don't touch that dial!

14/10/2002: Laugh, you bastards

So, er...

Had a good weekend?

Good.

...

Want to read some more Cowboy Comics?

No?

Well, here's some anyway, in case you change your mind. Two little adventures I tossed together, one called Bureaucracy and the other called Diamond Jim's Drama School.

I might even write something proper for tomorrow.

Updates Archive

All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved and other legal bollock language