Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Cowblogging

As if to defy the post downtairs, as I examined my iPhoto library this morning my eyes were drawn to this amusing photo of the La Vache Qui Rit float in the Tour de France publicity caravan. I got a refrigerator magnet from them, but not until the day after I took this picture.

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New Additions

I've added the divine blog What do I know? to the blogroll on the right, since author KathyF has been a recent commenter here with some good thoughts. She is living a similar life to us (American in Britain), although her setting appears a little more bucolic and her dietary choices are a little more disciplined, in a good way. Plus her choice in Friday animal blogging involves real animals, not these furry parasites I portray. (I hope she appreciates my lone weak effort at cowblogging.)

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Mo' Wetter Blues

Well, for London and the Southeast, we're just five millimeters from a record, with a few days to go. 1903, you don't stand a chance.

UPDATED at 12:33 p.m.: According to the Guardian, it has something to do with a jet stream anomaly.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Further Adventures Of English As A Second Language

A million points for the enthusiasm with which this writer uses the slang word jammy:
Imagine a huge traffic jam caused by a lorry carrying 10,000 jars of jam crashing and disgorging its sticky load all over the motorway and you have an idea how jammy India were at Lord's.

The context: England and India were in the final day of one of those five-day cricket test matches, with England on the verge of winning, when officials decided to call it a day because of the rain. Instead of declaring the team in the lead the winner, in their British-Continental style, officials declared the match a draw.

(Why do I know this? I, uh, watched the highlights.)

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Monday, July 23, 2007

More Weather

The casual reader might run into some recent posts and wonder, "Why's he complaining about rain in Britain?" That's an excellent question, to which I respond, you would too, if you were getting double your normal rainfall.

Even the natives are complaining, and the weather forecasters are already talking about "the year without a summer."

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Monsoon Wetting

The good folks at Hampstead Heath post monthly weather totals from the park, including rainfall totals. During our scorcher April, we got 5.5 millimeters of rain. May: 94 mm. June: 69 mm.

Doesn't seem like so much, I suppose ... but the daily persistence gets to be tiresome.

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Friday Catblogging

Sleepy Ethel for a filthy Friday.

Rain never kept Ethel indoors.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

'Flood Saved Us Being France'

Olympics Buildup

I came upon this rather late, London Geezer's epitaph for the area of East London that is about to be remade into the 2012 Olympics Park.

For those planning on coming to watch the Olympics, don't forget that I've warned you about it.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In Other News ...

Homer Simpson is side-by-side with an ancient chalk drawing in Dorset:
Pagans have pledged to perform "rain magic" to wash away a cartoon character painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant.

A doughnut-brandishing Homer Simpson was painted next to the giant on the hill above Cerne Abbas, Dorset, to promote the new Simpsons film.

Many believe the ancient chalk outline of the naked, sexually aroused giant to be a symbol of ancient spirituality.

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The Continuing Saga Of English As A Second Language

I caught myself doing something English this morning. I was saying the name of a hard-rock band called "Grinderman" (if you're of a sensitive nature, don't look up anything about them on iTunes or anything because their big song right now is written from the point of view of a man who hasn't had love in awhile, but it's put a little more bluntly. Grinderman is led by an Aussie bloke named Nick Cave, who's been around for quite awhile.). Anyway I realized I'd pronounced the name of the band GRIND-er-min, rather than the way I might have pronounced it in the States, GRIND-er-MAN.

I don't know why I've started talking like that.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Catblogging

Gray cat, blue throne.

The priests think they run the parish and religious community, but everybody knows Greg does.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Lighthouse Keeper, The Loneliest Man In The World

La Corbiere lighthouse on Jersey is the oldest concrete lighthouse in the British Isles. Now operated remotely, you can still see the causeway still used to access the lighthouse at low tide.

(Note: I did not photoshop the sailboat into the photo. It's genuine.)

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The Tour Of London, Kent, And, Oh Yeah, France

Those of you who pay attention to sport know that the Tour de France came through London and southeast England this weekend. Mrs. Werbenmanjensen and I went down to look around at some of the festivities surrounding the prologue stage on Saturday and then staked out a spot alongside the road on Sunday in Woolwich, an unfamous part of Greenwich that is undergoing some restoration around its old arsenal and artillery barracks. This is where some friends live, who decided to host a Gallic lunch following the tour's passage.

Some comments:

1. London is probably the biggest town the Tour has ever been in. So the prologue was mobbed on Sunday by a greater-than-usual density of hardcore cycling fans, casual fans, tourists and locals who just wanted to see what was up. After crossing some poorly planned pedestrian routes from St. James Park to Hyde Park and battling crowds along the way, Mrs. W and I more or less gave up. It was better to watch it on TV. This is my basic theme when it comes to cycling fandom: It's better to watch it on TV.

2. This event proves to me that London cannot handle mass events. The foot traffic was poorly managed and inadequate information was given to spectators. When I mentioned this to our Sunday host, a London native, he pointed out that the London authorities were trying to also manage Wimbledon and Live Earth along with the Tour prologue, and that's a fair response. But imagine how many such events will be going on during the 2012 Olympiad. Fair warning to all who plan on coming for that.

3. This weekend may have been the longest extended dry and warm period we've experienced since April. You'd think I'd be happy about that. However, I'm not. Why? The week before Sunday's Stage 1, I cycled essentially the same London-to-Canterbury route in an organized ride with thousands of others. Except the difference was it rained much of the day. I paid £50 to ride in the rain. The professional cyclists get paid thousands, sometimes millions of Euros to do it. It's their job. They should have to do it in the rain, too.

4. The publicity caravan is kind of fun. My favorite bit of swag: A refrigerator magnet from La Vache Qui Rit.

4. Bicycling is much better to watch on TV.

We have a few photos. Maybe we can all talk Mrs. W into posting them.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Catblogging

Kids 'n' kittehs edition.

(Thanks to reader Schmutz for the photo.)

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Uh, hi!

We did that thing again, that thing we're not supposed to do, which is to say go without posting for a week or more. Reasons? Well, they're all kind of lame, which is to say, rainy day after rainy day, car bomb attempts, I was in a bit of a mishap, etc. We'll try to get back on the blogging wagon today.

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