WordPress thought for the day

Writing is a struggle against silence.

Carlos Fuentes


The Bogler

To which Kind Uncle Bogler has appended the following short thought, otherwise known as a Clerihew:

Carlos Fuentes
Is no longer in his tuentes.
Had he managed to survive
He would by now be eighty-five.

Spam, luvverly spam

Sincere thanks to the army of spammers, my true fans, for your many kind comments on this blog. Over 80 of your messages have now been recorded, whereas slightly fewer than one genuine comment has been received in the six months since I began bogling.

A minor problem you can help with, it is not always clear that you are actually reading this blog, as opposed to the inferior outpourings of my many jealous rivals. (Nor do you appear to have realised that it is meant to be filed under HUMOUR)

Would you therefore be kind enough to affix a password in future? Please begin your message:

Dear Uncle Bogler…

That way, I can be sure to reply in person to your treasured messages of sympathy and support. Remember: KEEP DAT SPAM A’COMIN!

PS – to the kind person who keeps sending me advice on how to leap ahead in the search engine rankings, I’m sure you mean well but your message is so technical I don’t understand one word of it. Please go away.

PPS Uncle Bogler is on holiday now until 6th August.

A new era begins

So, tomorrow sees the end of my five-week stint as the gibbering idiot on a teacher training course of such unparallelled rigour that the omission of a single sheet of illegibly scribbled notes from a folder of around 90 pages resulted in it being thrown back at me with the terse comment that it had not been marked.

An unmarked folder is, naturally, an automatic fail. Rather, of a non-pass, as it appears one cannot fail the course, however hard I may have tried to. One is left with the impression that the course has been constructed more for the honour of the brand than for the benefit of the teachers it produces, who are brought to the profession psychologically pre-damaged.

Any such suggestion is, of course entirely unwarranted, and is not to be interpreted as the opinion of its author.

There goes the sun

Group 4 Security, zippily known as G4S, the people who bring you dead deportees by appointment to the Home Secretary, applied for, and were actually given, a contract worth over £300 million to recruit, train and deploy around 10,000 desperately underemployed ex-police and servicemen as security plods at the Olympics. Is that £30k each? Someone help me out here.

They screwed up, largely because of underestimating the time it might take some other privatised bureaucrats to vet the would-be security staff for… er… security.

The error is costing their shareholders £50 million, but at least they’ve owned-up, and agreed to buy-back what’s left of the British Army and give the hard-pressed squaddies’ choral-singing WAGS free tickets to the one-legged arse-kicking event, in which British athletes are slated for gold at all levels.

This ritual humiliation, a fortnight before the opening ceremony, known as ‘I-told-you-so Friday’, comes on top of a) the meltdown of under-maintained data processing systems at Royal Bank of Scotland – some of the customers of their subsidiary banks are still waiting for their paychecks to go through, a month late. b) the lengthy service outages at, recently, Blackberry and last week at O2, c) my crap Orange Internet access and d) B&Q still being closed on our shopping park, three weeks after nine inches of water flooded the car park.

It seems we have bred a generation of cretins who couldn’t manage a fart in a bubble-bath. But I’m a charitable sort of satirist, and we have experienced a few months of unusual solar activity. Massive coronal ejections could be equally as responsible for the collapse of competence all over the country as they were for dumping three feet of rain over southern Japan in 72 hours last week.

What a shower, eh?

Traenin coares buttlein #3ish

Weeeek 3 of rancher tearing curse (CErtOL Anglish Linguoge for Spikers of Other or Sekund Lingages) end tonit, only two 2) gore werks left to mo! My am foing dine! Nealy killed man in cur lars nit, in Mirrosons caw perk ware I go for fud for Dogg but ok, he safe now. Note: tri not ii) start cur in gere nex term. Note 4):

Were was I? o yes

Problum: now i has three (3) carybogs full to bursten of paper thing — nodes to parry around wit my eyeware now. Start nodebuk (2) two thus mownin, got lods mo noads to reach thru whenevere I has, have or had got enough tide. (Prefect Continual Tensing! I lern somehin!) Only problum, cant reap wat nodes say. Brian had stop wurkin bi Fursday, ok, couldnt find todlets, weigh out of bilding, cur perk, cor, whatevre.And exams end of nest wee! Loofin forward to it.  This havin gud funnnnn£ for the summer!! Exep get bad revue from twtor yesterday or was it day be4) ?mage me fil v. bag.

Got go now, teechin new crass of stundents sometin. Wha? Day is today? OhmigodI;m


(Mr Bogl’s Week Three: ‘Observed class on observing a class under observation’ personal data log finishes here. Excess wordage. Fail! Signed: Emilia Bentley-Sponge, MA (Ed), Tutor-at-large)

Support Julia O’Dwyer

You may never have heard of Julia O’Dwyer, but she deserves all our support, yours and mine.

You may be an American, and so you may be tired of the ungrateful America-bashing that seems to go on. Actually, I get tired of the Europe-bashing sponsored in our media by right-wing Republican business interests. Human rights, employment rights, product safety codes, anti-trust laws – the T– word (didn’t mention tax!) are anathema to global corporate interests, most of which are, unfortunately, driven from the USA.

You may also hate Big Government and be embarrassed that the USA locks up a higher proportion of its citizens in worse conditions than many third-world countries, where your security services have a distressing habit of sending people to be carefully treated, who have not been tried and convicted of any crime. Hypocrisy? hell, yes. And at your taxpaying expense.

But you may not be so aware of the fact that, in the interests of the ‘Special Relationship’ supposed to exist between our two great nations – your big one, our little one – our pusillanimous politicians signed into law a few years ago at the behest of Dick Cheney’s and Carl Rove’s ‘Bush administration’ some amendments to our criminal extradition treaty with your country, that allow your courts to snatch British citizens off British streets and drag them across the pond to put them on trial for doing naughty stuff in Britain, which is to say a sovereign country (i.e. you don’t own it, we do), that might (or might not) be crimes in the USA or even just in some states in the USA, or even just in some companies in the USA, but are not crimes in Britain, where they did (possibly) the stuff. Weird, huh?

Your courts don’t even have to show evidence that a crime has been committed; nor, indeed, I imagine, that a law exists; only, that they got the right guy: so, nothing to try in a court of law; no acquittal, because no defense. They only have to ask, and a judge has to rubber-stamp it. The accused remain in limbo, sometimes in gaol (we have eight cases pending), sometimes for years, without trial, while they mount legal battles at their own expense to show due cause why they should not be extradited to your somewhat harsher and more arbitrary system of punitive justice. But if we want one of your guys, we need evidence. Lots of it, oh, yes.

Did Kafka write this? (No, he died.)

If this worked two ways, we would be less angry with you, but it doesn’t. You get four times as many of our guys as we get of yours, but your population is five times the size of ours. Something wrong, surely? Also, the severity of the crimes is completely disparate: we get your rapists and murderers, sure – but you get our white-collar misdemeanours, sanctions-busters (doesn’t do to trade with bad regimes, does it?) and kids in their bedrooms doing stuff your corporations disapprove of (no, not that — internet stuff…)

In fact, we just ruled that we can’t send a convicted American paedophile back to the USA for trial, it would breach his human rights. But some Brit guy with a wife and kids who fell for an FBI sting over selling some batteries for a missile Iran might be building? Why, next to that, fucking hundreds of little boys and girls in the ass pales into insignificance in the sordid annals of crime.

Now, something even weirder. Much as we hate our politicians too, the majority of our Representatives (we call them MPs – Member of Parliament) are against this inequitable state of affairs and want it changed. But every time it gets to the Home Office, that’s like your State Department only smaller, it goes under the tea trolley and gets pushed around the corridors for a while, before the sameold statement comes trotting out like a nackered gelding, saying how everything is hunky-dory and there’s no problem, our legal guy looked into it and passed it fit for purpose, so you mind your own beeswax, you silly, ignorant lot. Who exactly is pulling the plonker of the Home Secretary (no-one, she’s a woman! But you get the idea, she thinks she’s got one)? We don’t know, but every now and then we get hints from the Justice department here that we are not entirely in charge of our own affairs, juridically speaking.

So, next time you accuse us stuffy Brits of being anti-Yanqui, try to understand. We’re not. We love and admire you really, especially your dentistry. We’re just like most of you: sick of politicians, our sons and daughters being ripped to bits in flyblown deserts around the world; the malign influence of the arms and oil industries. We resent being forced to pay taxes to buy multi-billion-dollar defense systems we don’t need, which we can’t even deploy ourselves without some eggvest in the Pentagon pushing the button; and we don’t care for our citizens spending years on bail without trial or even in gaol just because NASA or someone is embarrassed some UFO-spotting kid hacked their crappy computer security.

We consider this not unreasonably to be an abusive and arbitrary projection of power against what is supposed to be a friendly country. It would be against your Constitution to do this to your own citizens.

Oh, yes, Julia O’Dwyer, I forgot. She’s a children’s nurse. She’s fighting a one-woman battle to defend her son from vindictive US bullying, that is destroying her family. What did Richard – her son’s name is Richard – do? It is alleged that he broke your – I stress your, not our – copyright law by allegedly uploading stuff to people on the web that he had allegedly previously downloaded; stuff that was supposedly not in the public domain. Of course, you never did that, did you?

It has never been shown in any court of law that he did it; it isn’t anyway a crime where he lives (it might be a civil offence at best); he has never even been in your country – but your Justice system plans to lock him up for five years and destroy his family and his future. Wake up! Your multi-billion-dollar global media corporations that you never voted for are making US law, deciding arbitrarily that their laws apply internationally, although no-one here has been asked about it either – plus, obviously, of course, just because they can.

This arbitrary abuse of power is what we are so vehemently objecting to. You may tell us just to shut up, drop ’em and bend over, but we are a proud race.

Julia’s URL is http://juliasblog-the-fight-of-our-lives.blogspot.co.uk. Don’t say I told you to check it out, it’s your decision. It’s not an illegal link. Write your Congressman, get this changed. Then we’ll love you again. Promise. Don’t go eating too many cheeseburgers, now, y’all hear.

Land of Hope and Glory (and you’d better memorise the words)

That impudent pup Mr Cameron, who is always lecturing people on morals in the hope that he will be elected successor to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and his cook-chill Home Secretary Mrs May, she of the Imelda Marcos-sized shoe collection, have both been in the news this morning, indulging in a convenient round of summer foreigner-bashing.

Mrs May wants people applying for citizenship to study more British history, in order to understand what a wonderful family they are being baptised into. They must be made to learn that Teddy Elgar was a greater composer than Beethoven, and how the Iron Duke defeated the froggy midget, Napoleon, at Waterloo (but not, presumably, the bit where von Blucher’s arrival turned the battle). They should recognise, dammit, that Britain invented reality TV and the Spice Girls, and be made to memorise the wit and wisdom of Andy Murray.

Meanwhile, Mr Cameron has told Sunday Telegraph readers we should have a referendum on Europe, but not now. It’s a bit like Bernard Manning telling Paki jokes to a taxi-drivers’ convention, or shooting a dead whale in a small biscuit barrel. He has forgotten that we had a referendum in 1974, when we voted to keep Britain tethered off the coast of France, rather than getting a plucky flotilla of small boats (aka the British Navy) to row us out into mid-Atlantic, where we can sink without trace. This of course is a great time to talk about renegotiating all the nasty, unfair treaties and getting rid of inconvenient human rights, with Mrs Merkel and M. Hulot locked in a darkened hotel room for weeks trying to thrash out whether Europe can survive at all.

Speaking personally, I loathe the Conservatives, and reserve a specially deep loathing for Nigel “The Joker” Farage, because UKIP are merely extra-opportunistic, extra-thick Conservatives who have climbed ponderously aboard Mr Murdoch’s anti-Europe bandwagon. They have  nothing to offer but splendid isolation and a descent into corporate barbarism. As for Dr Fox… I am steadfast in the belief that these people are in the pockets of US conglomerates, as I argue in my latest Page, “Politics: Are You Being Served?” You will find it under “1,000 Words Or Less”, upstairs.

Thank you.

Prometheus rebound: SPOILER ALERT!!!

Despite its clever graphics and superb special effects, Ridley Scott’s belated prequel to his Alien series, Prometheus is very possibly the silliest piece of cinema you will see this week.

As it happens, I attended the famous director’s pitch to the producers in LA and secretly smuggled out some notes.



So, Ridley, strange name, tell us about your latest movie idea. You want HOW MUCH???

MR SCOTT (for it is he):

Yeah, well, okay. We open with an enigmatic scene, like thousands of years BC, that’s Before Columbia, where this alien-looking giant humanoid drinks a potion and his DNA all spews out over a big waterfall. This is the human race being engineered! Cut to some modern-day scientists, one speaking with a slight French accent, the other some random American, excitably (but not too  scientifically) discovering a cave painting in Scotland, England, that looks remarkably like an illustration from Erich von Daniken’s book, the something-or-other of the Gods. It’s a star map! Could an alien race be calling us? We cut like in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to a future spaceship moving unbelievably fast like an usherette’s torch against a sparkly background of zillions of stars. Cue counterintuitive classical music, not Strauss this time, er, let’s go for a Chopin prelude.

Then on board we’ve got a dozen ill-assorted sociopaths, like in the Magnificent Wild Dirty Dozen Predator Geese, whatever,  who all turn out to be, like, experts in their field. We’ll give them hearts of gold, too, even the Brit hippie guy with a tattooed face who turns out to be like this annoying expert geologist? Yeah, we’ll kill him off quick. And we’ll throw in an android English flunkey for good measure, like Crichton from Red Dwarf or the gold one from Star Wars. Ensure he is malfunctioning (maybe he wants to be Lawrence of Arabia! Maybe he is eavesdropping on the crew’s dreams!) and that his behaviour can be easily misunderstood, such as spiking scientists’ drinks with green gloop for no apparent reason. His name? Er, let’s call him David, like the Kier Dullyea character in 2001, who gets murdered by the crazy computer with the creepy voice. Great idea, we’ll give him a creepy voice.

We first discover the crew asleep in cryogenic pods onboard the spaceship Prometheus. A voiceover explains who Prometheus was, for the benefit of the average audience. So, okay, he was chained to a rock and brought fire from the Gods, some Greek guy. Then things roll across the pool table so we know the ship has stopped, yeah, like in Titanic, and the crew all wake up and have breakfast, like in Alien One, or two, I forget.

Okay, they soon learn they’re on a difficult mission from which they are unlikely to return, like they didn’t know, no-one told them, before they got on the ship. The two scientists, everyone thinks they have to be crazy with their wacky giant alien star map theory, but they turn out to be right all along. Make it an affair between them until one gets wormy eyeballs and has to be incinerated for the sake of the ship. Not before he has impregnated the other scientist with some green gloop Crichton slipped into his fizzy drink in the rec room. There’s some old guy played by a younger actor dipped in collodion, with a little dog. He is dead, but has sent his hologram to introduce the crew to the scientists they won’ have met like at the beginning of the mission before they all went to sleep, whose theory about the Gods he believes in. And there’s a giant building in the desert like in Dune, with a big dust storm approaching. Get outta there NOW!


So, the secret purpose of the secret mission is, of course, a secret known only to the elderly party in the hologram, a dying trillionaire business guy who is looking for the secret of eternal life and wants to ask the giant alien in the old cave pictures if he is really God. Unbeknown to the crew, he has been smuggled aboard with all his, like, bodyguards and male nurses and some powered trousers we got from Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers, and is occupying an entire secret residential suite somewhere on board that  nobody has noticed is there. There’s this tall blonde chick, Grace Kelly type, whom nobody would ever guess is the old guy’s daughter, a corporate iceberg who like bosses everyone around but puts out for the hunky ship’s black captain, although of course we never get to see the hot interracial action between them. Bound to turn up on YouTube.

Together, they arrive on a planet with air that is three per cent CO2 (‘kill you in two minutes’), just like Earth, so they mustn’t run out of oxygen or drive SUVs to school. They enter the  huge alien building like an underground carpark, where the air is breathable, and find a severed giant alien exploding head whose DNA is us! He looks just like the  waterfall guy from the beginning. The crew are soon being hunted down one by one in a complex of darkened tunnels infested with half-seen alien creatures like Triffids, or in Predator, with tentacles that fuck you in the throat. Don’t worry, we’ll keep it a 12A. Yeah, darkened tunnels, I use ’em ‘cos they’re cheap to build and light, and you can shoot ’em from either end, they look twice as complex. I saw that in Dr Who, which is just like the BBC TV Centre corridor, mostly.

Then there’s this great fuzzy effect we’re using, like a black-and-white TV, yeah, they used to be in black-and-white before colour, and fuzzy, where we see the ghosts of the vanished race of throatfucked alien giant superbeings the scientists call the Engineers wearing elephant masks – the ship’s captain is called something like Ganesh, the Indian elephant god, we’re kinda stuck on elephants – trying to run away from the little throatfuckers, like it seems they arrived on the planet to set up a green-gloop killer-DNA factory only hadn’t realised about the little slug things turning into bigger ones and they all like died before they figured it out and could leave, they were so smart?  There’s a pile of dead elephant mask Engineers in front of a secret door only David the smarmy barmy android can open, like in Indiana Jones and the Lost Narrative Arc, with inside thousands of, like, jugs of gloop and little slimy, sluggy things wriggling around, that only we can see. There’s an approaching silicon-storm, 200 mph for preference, so the characters can outrun it with only split-seconds to spare, gives the movie a bit of suspense, and extra silicon for, like, jug implants, while the guys who get left behind in the complex of darkened tunnels end up as zombies that relentlessly attack the ship, like in Them!, so have to be destroyed with a handy flame-thrower. There’s a a secret interplanetary killer-DNA green-gloop factory and some advanced medical technology stuff too. It’ll be great.


Okay, so in the meantime the American scientist with the wormy eyeballs has had sex  with the other scientist so she can get pregnant with something nasty, and we watch her in enormous detail carry out a DIY caesarian section on herself using, like, advanced medical technology with only split-seconds to spare before she would anyway give birth to it naturally, while being hunted by the ship’s medical team who want to put her in stasis but can’t find her because she is already in the sickbay. Lots of blood, sweat, panic. Have her remove a scary like baby octopus from her uterus, then staple herself up with big staples that hurt. Send usherettes to fetch the audience back from the toilets.

Okay, so now we cut to the scene where David the smartarse android finds this big chamber full of giant relics of a bygone civilisation, whose language only he knows because of them having taught it to the ancients on Earth. Some 2000-year-old giant aliens are stored in cryogenic chambers, one of them is still alive but seemingly confused. Have David press buttons until he sets off the holographic map of the universe, pointing to Earth. Reveal the secret of the mission: the old man must meet the alien who engineered the human race, before he dies! The giant aliens are planning to attack the Earth, taking the green DNA-gloop!! So, the giant alien wakes up after 2000 years asleep. He immediately goes berserk and slays the old trillionaire. He pulls off the head of Android Dave, who is filled with, like, polystyrene – but Dave’s head can still speak, remember Pierce Brosnan in Mars Attacks!? God, at was so weird — and even transmit instructions from inside the alien building using a radio pack that is no longer anywhere near his head to talk to, like, the sectioned caesarian scientist, who has survived the impressive emergence scene from beneath the desert sands where the giant Engineers have unexpectedly buried it in a secret chamber, of the enormous-sized giant alien spacecraft that looks like a half-eaten bagel, or torc as the Scottish people call it. That’s like a reference to Scotland, right, where we started out? No, I don’t know who’s supposed to be flying it if there’s only one giant alien left and he’s still in the building, I’ll work  something out. No, it’s not very aerodynamic but at least it’s something original! Whaddayawant?


Yeah, there’s more. So, the surviving crew needs to find a solution to bring down the giant alien spacecraft before it can set off to destroy the earth with the killer-DNA gloop, but they’re unarmed so they decide to ram it. So this is the part where the hunky captain and the remaining crew reveal their hearts of gold and go to their deaths with a quip on their lips, to save Mankind! We’re staying wiv you, Cap’n, you never wuz much of a pilot anyway! says the Chinese one from that Kung-fu movie, in the only joke in the script. It’s from an old TV western, where we found the plot. Oh, yeah, then we wrap-up the iceberg lady story arc by having her squidged under the falling giant alien torc ship and she goes, like, oh no! or something tall and icy. Daiquiri? Don’t mind if I do.

Meanwhile, the caesarian scientist is also under the falling ship, but has survived by sheltering under a small rock. Rediscovering her religion, she elects to fly off with David in a handbag, using a spare torc ship he knows of, that he can tell her how to fly all by herself, to find whichever planet the aliens came from – the ones, that is, who weren’t the other aliens that had four sets of teeth, one inside the other, like in Predator, and who fucked everyone in the throat with tentacles – so that she can find out why, why oh why did God abandon Mankind? And her mommy, who died when she wuz 3? Did Mommy go to ‘eaven? Can we find this, like ‘eaven, right ‘ere in Ouder Spess?

Meanwhile, the baby octopus has grown into this giant octopus, that fights the last giant alien like the dinosaurs in 2 Million Years BC, and the giant alien wins — only to give birth within seconds to the familiar pointy head of…. The Alien! It’s a prequel!

And roll credits. How was that for you?


Despite its brilliant graphics and superb special effects, Ridley Scott’s belated prequel to his Alien series, Prometheus is very possibly the silliest movie you will see this week, except for some of the other films in the Alien series. From start to finish it has not one single original or logical idea, that I could understand. My son tells me Alien Resurrection is probably the worst film he’s ever seen, but explains how that is because all these Ridley Scott movies are not films at all, but FRANCHISES. Anyway, he seemed to enjoy it, maybe yours will too. Oh, you are one… Sorry.

I have seen Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, They Came from Outer Space, various Godzilla franchises, the original one, and many more truly dreadful Sci-Fi films, but this, believe me, was the worst, if only because of the brilliant graphics and stunning special effects when matched up against the shocking banality of the content. What a waste. You can’t just make movies for the effects, there has to be something else in them, some idea, a credible storyline…

God, that last jelly baby I just ate was a mutant… tasted like one too.

And why can no-one yet get 3D perspective right? Things nearer to you are meant to look bigger, not smaller! Ask any 14th-century Italian. I had a Pollock’s Toy Theatre when I was a kid, everything was flat cutout 2D shapes mounted in receding planes, sometimes 3D cinema looks just like that, don’t it? Way to go, Ridley. Strange name.

Rating: Go, see. Just make sure it’s a rainy night, your basement is flooding and there’s no TV.