EDitorial ± 26-Jan-2004

All Brand

Sony alarm. Palmolive soap. Vaseline deodorant. Realistic radio. Next boxers. Tommy Hilfiger shirt. Next socks. Gap trousers. Kahuna watch.

Brita now (for all you Nick Drake fans out there)

Tropicana juice. Sony radio. Brita water filter. Bosch kettle. PG teabag. Co-op milk. Sainsbury's bread. Hinari toaster.

Macleans toothpaste. Braun toothbrush. Next shoes. Gap sweatshirt. Berghaus jacket. Fila rucksack. Renault car. BBC breakfast radio.

Fujitsu computer. Compaq monitor. Lift lemon tea. Papermate pen. Niceday notebook.

Microsoft email. Avaya telephone.

Nokia mobile. Microsoft web browser. Taylor's coffee. Bodum mini cafetiere. Co-op milk.

Lock & Lock lunchbox. Guardian magazine. Asda foil. Sainsbury's bread. Asda ham. Marks & Spencer relish. Hula Hoops snack.

WH Smith notebook. Ritazza latte. Safeway cake.

BBC drivetime radio.

Fanta orange. Ikea plate. Discovery tortillas. Asda chicken.

Sony television. Aiwa VCR. JVC VHS. BBC TV.

Bosch dishwasher. Whittard's coffee. Bodum cafetiere. Thornton's chocolate.

Apple computer. Zen broadband. Transmit ftp.

Tesco floss. Marks & Spencer pyjamas. Ikea bed. Maglite torch. Hodder & Stoughton paperback.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 21-Jan-2004

Ascending Numerical Order

Think I'm right in saying that the two schoolies spend a certain amount of time every day concentrating on two-thirds of the three Rs, reading and reckoning, at their walking-distance places of learning. These periods are known as literacy hour and numeracy hour. It's rumoured that there are after-school clubs dealing with such disparate subjects as self-esteem, fine foods and alien encounters, known as adequacy, delicacy and conspiracy hours.

Hear about the US comedy film soon to hit these shores about two dopey anaesthetists? It's called, wait for it, Numb And Number!

Living by numbers
Adding to history
And living by numbers
I guess was always meant to be
— New Musik, Living By Numbers (1980)

Choose a different combination each time. Choose Lucky Dip. Choose a new newsagent. Choose primes.

Hugely significant arithmetical quantities this week:

  • 2 – wheels became none en route to work last Thursday when I failed to spot a patch of ice and ripped open the left knee of my nearly new Gap trousers
  • 6 – goals scored by ITFC on Saturday compared to Crewe's four; many thanks to Bill for his stamina-sapping texting every time a goal was scored
  • 8 – points scored by BT Defiants ping-pong team on Monday night down at Trimley: two each to Alec and me, and three, count 'em, to Andy
  • 10 – episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm taped back-to-back from BBC4 recently
  • 20 – percentage of my dentist's patients who decline a pain-numbing injection; I am 1-in-5
  • x – age of She Who Must Be Obeyed this coming Sunday
  • 60 – months elapsed between losing filling and having it filled yesterday
  • 70 – issues to collect in latest part-work to hit the shelves, Locomotives Of The World
  • 128 – minimum RAM required to run Mac OS X 10.3, aka Panther, on my old iMac; what a shame I've just got 96 and that it took me two hours to find out
  • 512 – maximum speed in K of my whizzy new broadbean connection

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Three, two, one:

  • zero tolerance: 'scuse me, I think you dropped this wrapper
  • zero, the book: Charles Seife or Robert Kaplan?
  • less than zero: Mr Downey Jr and Mr Spader, together

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 13-Jan-2004

Only In January

It's January, it's chilly outside, and the Weightwatchers ads take pride of place in the commercial breaks between Fat Friends, Celebrity Fat Club, etc. Alongside other slots for Benylin and nicotine patches are one or two others for collectables that build up week-by-week, and there's often a binder free with the first edition.

New for 2004

Apparently these so-called part-works more often than not hit ITV at this time of year because the rates are that much lower. Plus everyone's contemplating the minimum repayment on their credit card bill and thinking of self-improvement generally. Quite how building a model of The Bounty comes into this, who knows.

Reminds me of a scene from Ripping Yarns, the one entitled Tomkinson's Schooldays. Our hero, played by Michael Palin, is in metalwork class, when in comes the teacher who can't help but look up:

[teacher] What is that, Tomkinson?
[Tomkinson] It's an icebreaker, sir.
[teacher] What scale is it?
[Tomkinson] Full scale, sir!
[teacher] Well, melt it down at once!

Last week, one lunchtime, myself and G-G-Grenvyle were racking our considerable brains to recall this year's offerings; we managed half-a-dozen or so. For posterity I thought I'd recce a couple of newsagents for a fuller list, and here's what I found:

  1. Art Crazy
  2. Art Of Calligraphy
  3. Build The Red Baron's Fighter Plane
  4. Cavalry Of The Napoleonic War
  5. Classic Carry On Film Collection
    — issue 2: Carry On Up The Khyber
  6. Classic Trucks & Vans
  7. Dickens Collection
    — free with issue 1: Oliver Twist
  8. Doll's House Step By Step
  9. Easy PC
    — apparently this one runs to 104 parts!
  10. Inspector Morse
    — already up to issue 10, I believe
  11. Lord Of The Rings Collector's Models
    — issue 1: tiny Gandalf — not a toy!
  12. Mr Bean's Amazing A To Z
    — issue 1: from aardvark to anglerfish
  13. You And Your PC

Inaugural issue is typically half-price and includes a freebie of some kind. Full price of LotR Models, by the way, is £5.99: yikes!

Confession time: when I was younger and knew no better, I succumbed to The Illustrated Encyclopaedia Of Aircraft. The local paper shop put it to one side each week, and I was no more than halfway through the alphabet when, the total cost getting ever higher, my long-suffering parents put me out of my misery.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 5-Jan-2004

Sock Thing

Chances are that if you crossed the threshold of Broom Acres over the holiday period, you'll want to thank (or curse) a lady known only as Jenny from Scotland. For it was Jenny, you see, who emailed the BBC website shortly before Christmas with her suggestion for "an amusement for two teams".

Here's Jenny's official description of The Sock Game, and please note that definite article:

Each team member gives themselves a number.

Two large, long socks are produced which have been filled with numerous items, both socks containing the exact same items.

Both teams take a sock. A caller is appointed who then calls out the name of one of the items in the sock, and a number which corresponds to a team member.

The sock is passed cautiously down to the correct team members and each team battles it out to see who can retrieve the item from the sock first by putting their hand down and simply feeling for the item.

And so it came to pass that I found myself in the town centre on Christmas Eve buying one or two last minute items plus, from a handy street seller outside HMV, a pair of over-the-knee Tigger socks. Easy, tiger!

Behold the Tigger sock and a selection of objects still to find their original homes

I thought it was a great game, and so did all three of the kids, bless 'em. So much so that roped in to participate on various days were friends, neighbours, both sets of grandparents and other assorted relatives, in fact anyone unwise enough to plonk themselves down the sofa for five minutes.

That description casually mentions filling both socks with "numerous items". We generally played with 20 objects in each sock, including:

  • cork
  • 50p piece
  • plastic syringe
  • Magitape roll
  • comb
  • Teletubby from the bath
  • plastic pig (farm animal, not a Reliant)
  • hairband
  • Lypsyl
  • balancing monkey
  • watch
  • medicine spoon
  • wooden wheel
  • coin from Cyprus
  • credit card
  • large paper clip
  • Love Heart
  • Hot Wheels car
  • Nemo plastic fish
  • wooden cylinder
  • piece of Lego
  • AA battery
  • Maglite
  • magnetic letter
  • top from a felt tip pen
  • 20p piece
  • expensive shiny pebble
  • string
  • teaspoon
  • credit card
  • and a chocolate coin, which I couldn't recommend

Two operative words: (1) cheap, and (2) cheerful. The three-year-old was proud as mulled wine when he won, sometimes beating the odd adult, and gutted when he lost. That's my boy.

Be seeing you!