Spoons AND roses.

A rose is a rose, and a spoon is a spoon. Or are they?Not according to James Chambers, 43, an inmate who is serving out a sentence at the Carter County Jail and who says he has found a way to bridge worlds.

Click here for the full story.

An inspiring tale, don’t you think?
So, do you fancy having a go for yourself?
Yes, you too could turn something like this…spoon

…into something like this.


Your examples on my desk by tomorrow morning, please.

(posted by Mike)

A list.

(posted by anna, late in the night, refreshingly sober)

The main differences between roses and spoons

  1. Although the basic structure of spoons and roses is similar (-long slender stem, bulbous tip-) spoons seldom have thorns.
  2. Giving someone a dozen spoons during courtship is unlikely to get them into bed.
  3. It is very difficult to eat anything with a rose. Apart from yoghurt.
  4. Spoons are man-made. Roses are not.
    Unless you take ‘man-made’ to include God, which we won’t, on grounds of sexism and agnosticism.
    (Not necessarily male, and probably doesn’t exist anyway.)
  5. Roses taste better raw than spoons. Unless the spoon is made of chocolate.
  6. Although roses are often present at weddings, they are seldom given as a traditional gift.
    Because they would die, and that would not be an auspicious sign.
  7. Instead, a wooden spoon is often given as a wedding gift, much more positive in symbolising the handing over the role of disciplinarian from the father to the husband.
    So that‘s alright then.
  8. If you bury a spoon, it will not create new spoons.
  9. It is difficult to kill someone with a rose.
  10. People dancing Tango never clench a spoon between their teeth.
  11. Spoons don’t smell nice. Unless they’ve been somewhere nice.
  12. Roses always smell nice. Unless they’ve been somewhere horrible, like up an animal’s bum or something.
  13. At the end of a ballet, people don’t generally throw spoons at the stage.
    I think they should.
  14. People don’t wander from pub to pub, selling ‘a spoon for the lady, sir?
  15. If you leave a spoon in your coffee, nothing will happen. If you leave a rose in your coffee, it will die, and people will think you’re mad and run away from you. It’s not nice.
  16. The rose is the symbol of several countries, counties and states. It is a fine and noble flower.
  17. The spoon is rarely adopted as a national emblem. Because it’s a spoon.


(posted by Mr. D.)

I was dubious about seeing “The Fellowship” because I’m old enough to remember being ripped off by the cinema world’s first attempt. We paid to see the cartoon version, knowing that they’d run out of funds and so Parts 2 and 3 would never be made.

But knowing the rest were in the can, I loved this one and The Two Towers.

And sitting here, composing this and coincidentally listening to NZ’s finest, Crowded House, I’m wondering if they’ll hold fast and not bestow a Kiwi accent on Shelob this Christmas.

“G’day Frodo, that’s a fine piece a julry ya got slung rand ya nick!”

Hope not.

Mr. D.

P.S. “Peter” – I took advice on the phonetics.

Perhaps you Church of England people can help me out with this one.

(posted by Faustus, M.D.)

Considering the fact that I’m Jewish, it sometimes seems odd that I am so passionately reactionary about the Christian liturgy. I have a job singing in an Episcopal church in New York that has both the most beautiful acoustic in the Western hemisphere (and the only acoustic I’ve ever sung in in the Eastern hemisphere that surpasses it is the Lady Chapel at Ely) and the most gorgeous and grand architecture imaginable.

So why the hell are we using Rite II?

I really am baffled by the fact that I care about this, seeing as how, oh, Christianity has been responsible for the death of millions of my people over the last two millenia. And yet every time we skip the Kyrie, my hackles start to go up. If I had my druthers, the whole service would still be in Latin.

But why we’re using Rite II isn’t really my question, since there’s not really anything I can do about it.

My question is about the hymn text “Ye who own the faith of Jesus,” which we sang last night in celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation, when Gabriel showed up at Mary’s place and said, “Surprise!” The hymn, a pretty dreadful and bombastic piece written in 1906 by one Vincent Stucky Stratton Coles, contains the following line:

Praise, O Mary, praise the Father, praise thy Savior and thy Son.

But here’s the thing: if Mary was conceived, as the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception tells us, without the stain of original sin, then she didn’t need saving from anything, so Jesus couldn’t very well be her savior.

I mean, I suppose one could argue that she sinned during her life, but that seems a little contrived, especially because if she did, those sins were almost certainly venial instead of mortal–I can’t imagine Mary committing “sacrilege, murder, adultery, false witness, theft, robbery, pride, envy, avarice, [or] if it is of long standing, anger, drunkenness, if it is persistent, [or] slander,” which is the list, according to Caesarius of Arles (writing in 522 A.D.), of mortal sins.

So what gives?

I’m inclined to believe that Mr. Coles was guilty of sloppy theology, but if anybody else has an explanation that allows him to escape such criticism, I’d love to hear it.

Now please excuse me while I put on a yarmulke and go to synagogue.

How to blend with the English – a bluffer’s guide.

(posted by Mike, inspired by Mark, and dedicated to D)

1. Cultivate an appreciation of draught beer. Vital, unless you’re an Old Compton Street queen (imported bottled lagers) or an Essex girl (Bacardi Breezers).

2. Sartorially, either go for anonymous muted tones from Marks & Spencer (you will think of this as your “classic” look), or else adopt a suitable street-style which “expresses your individuality” in some way.

3. Your sense of humour should be evenly divided between gentle self-deprecation, wry observation and bitter, withering sarcasm.

3a. If you consider yourself to be a person of breeding, then you should also add “hilarious” impersonations of regional dialects to the above list.

4. In conversation, be prepared to hold forth at great length on:
· the weather.
· house prices.
· the appalling state of customer service these days.
· road works, diversions, and detailed discussions of the best route from A to B, quoting full road numbers and motorway exit points.

5. Complain about everything – but never directly to the person or persons who have caused your grievance, because that would be drawing attention to yourself.

6. Never deliberately draw attention to yourself.

6a. Unless you are drunk, in which case the reverse applies.

7. Use any of the following words/phrases:
· Blimey!
· Dearie me!
· Cheers mate! (double points if used sarcastically to someone who is just out of earshot)
· Oh, that’s all we need…
· Too clever by half.
· Just a quick one, then.
· Anyway. (used on its own, in an attempt to wind up a conversation)
· I’d give him/her one. (an all-purpose expression denoting a wish to commit an act of sex or violence; meaning differs according to context and gender)
· Here we go! (South of England) / CUMM-on! (North of England)

8. Speak – Very – Slowly – And – Distinctly – To – All – Foreigners.

9. Never attempt sexual congress when sober. Because that would just be embarrassing. And you wouldn’t want that.

10. Never cry in public, except in the following circumstances:
· Royal funerals.
· Major sporting defeats.
· When appearing on light entertainment shows.

Finally: never win at anything. There is nothing that the English respect more than a noble loser.

Eau de roast beef

Posted by D

When I came back to Britain after nearly a decade living in Europe with Americans (see, its starting to make sense now, isn’t it?) we seemed to be at the height of Cool Britannia. Lock, Stock had made east end gangster movies the height of cinematography (followed by innumerable wastes of celluloid), Oasis were the darlings of New Labour and Blur had dominated underground rock. It seemed to me a very good time to be British.

Only… I never could project that Britishness, that essence of Brit, that je ne sais quoi that personifies Johnny Brit.

Johnny Vaughn’s got it. John Cleese too. Tony Blair’s a little too slick to have it but I suppose he does by default of being the Prime Minister although the image of those red demon eyes has been etched into my brain. Elizabeth Hurley, Kate Winslet, Nigella Lawson, there’s just no mistaking them as anything other than British totty (well Nigella is totty as far as I’m concerned, have you seen her lick a spoon?!)

Now make no mistake, I am not talking about that bumbling character Hugh Grant always plays, the “terribly sorry” type who has a heart of gold hidden behind ineffably stupid clumsiness and verbal dithering. Although tentatively there may be some truth to that Mr Bean-esque Chaplin comical quality; doing something with the right intentions for the wrong reasons.

Did Britain ever recover from losing an empire? And yet its not like we lost it, we didn’t suddenly wake up one morning and collectively start looking down the back of the couch… sorry, sofa… or behind the fridge. We did the right thing, for the wrong reasons. We gave the people their indepedence (albeit with a little bit of a struggle) and in return they promised to thrash us at every sport we’ve ever invented except golf. All it took was a skinny man in a nappy making salt and refusing to fight back to show us the error of our ways.

Tea. What could be more essentially British than tea? There’s an art to making tea I learned from Douglas Adams. Still makes tea taste like distilled weeds but my sister seems to appreciate a good cup of char every other minute… its a drug, isn’t it? I managed to escape the country during those formative years where you’re all put on Earl Grey drips and forced to sniff tealeaves, right? Not that coffee is such a huge leap up the scale, its just soggy ground up beans. I’d be quite happy if Starbucks just sold cups of warm brown sugar water so long as it came with whipped cream and a biscotti.

So I can’t emulate our British celebrities, I can’t sympathise with our politicians, I can’t understand our social order structure or class system (am I upper middle-class, lower upper-class, middle upper-class? Can I look royalty directly in the eye?) and I don’t like tea. I think I’m probably just a failure as a Brit altogether. Terribly sorry about that.


(posted by Mr. D.)

Those of you who’ve been kind enough to read my amateur ramblings (thank you Brandon, for your appreciation) may have noticed recurring themes of humour and music.

So in aid of a bit of fund-raising, a challenge.

Throw any girl’s name at me and I’ll come back at ya with a song which contains it.

I promise not to use Search engines or pick an easy one, or one which can’t be validated. In fact, I’ll choose the most bizarre and outlandish and if I beat you, you must donate the smallest note in your country’s currency to either the Royal National Lifeboat Institution or Motor Neurone Disease.

I won’t be fazed by, say, Frances (Lullaby for Frances, Ian Dury, on the “Do it yourself” album, or Chloe or Irene (Chloe and Goodnight Irene by the inimitable Ry Cooder, both on Chicken Skin Music). Ignore the lewd cover, it’s a beautiful album.

So come on then, if you think you’re hard enough …