Sunday, September 27, 2009

God goes high tech

In a previous life, I used to work in a publishing company that also had a tele-marketing department. That was really just two kids sitting down with a phone directory and methodically calling every phone number listed in it.

Now, tele-marketeers have computers to do the dialling for them. Some even have recorded messages to do the hard-selling.

What I didn't expect was for God to do the same. L picked up the phone today and was somewhat startled to hear a recorded message informing him that Jesus loves him, and that if he wanted to know more, he could call a certain number. Thank goodness he didn't. It could be a long-distance call scam, and god knows how much it'll cost to call Heaven.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's not happy. Period.

There's a feminine product here that has followed its American cousin in using a new advertising tagline: "Have a happy period."

It could only have been dreamt up by a male advertising guy. Because if he were to bleed from his penis for a week, he'd understand that there's nothing happy about periods. You cramp, you bloat and you bloody *bleed*. I bloat so bad even my fingers swell and I can't wear anything that requires doing up buttons or a zip at the back because the bunch of bananas that my hands have become can't manage them. Not a happy camper at all.

Never trifle with a menstruating woman. She can bleed for a week and still not die.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Getting into a good book

Was cruising the library shelves under C for Artemis Fowl books (Eoin Colfer) but he wasn't on the shelf so I ended up with JM Coetzee, Diary of a Bad Year. And it turned out to be the most amazingly structured book I've ever read, possibly outshining Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses.

You've got an author writing a serious essay, who gets the pretty girl upstairs to type it for him, and her boyfriend's suspicion over her new pastime. Three narratives going on concurrently, down the page. I don't know whether to read down the page and jump from one narrative to another or to read one narrative straight through to the end and then go back to the beginning of the book for another.

I am going to have so much pleasure reading this book, and I know I'll read it more than once, and in different ways.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Dumbing down

One of the things I got to do with four days at home was to watchTV, which included a lot of quiz shows. Does anyone remember Magnus Magnusson in Mastermind? Now, that was a real quiz show. I can't remember how much it paid out, but the point wasn't really winning money but the laurel wreath of being really, really smart.

As opposed to the winners in Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader now on TV. You could win a million dollars by knowing the answers to the stuff you were *supposed to know* when you were 10 years old. It must be why we've gotten collectively stupider over the years, when you could win a million bucks for knowing what the measurement oz stands for instead of boning up to be quizzed on say, sexual politics and power play in Shakespeare's tragedies. Or string theory. Or the periodic table. What's the point of being learning so much nowadays when popular TV has taught you that it doesn't really pay?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

No place like home

I had worked enough public holidays and Sundays to accumulate enough off days for a long four-day weekend. Much of it was spent with a dog on my lap. This, I discovered, was an automatic effect. For instance, the deck chair came with a self-regulating furry seat-belt. The minute you sat down on it, a furry seat-belt will instantly drape itself lovingly and protectively across your lap. How you want to remove your seat-belt so as to get up to get another cup of tea is a different matter altogether.

I don't spend enough evenings at home watching the sunset. I think having a dog on your lap actually helps the sun go down a little better, even if the sun can do it on its own without any help on your part.

I also organised the music in my iTunes, and have rearranged a new folder named Tenors. Which made me realise something -- why does Italian sound so magnificent when sung? I don't even mean the Puccini and the Verdi arias, but the fact that Il Divo's Unbreak My Heart sounds a whole lot more resounding in Italian than the original Toni Braxton English version. Same with Paul Potts' Memory, Lloyd Webber's English version from Cats didn't have the oomph that the Italian version did, as beautiful as it was.

The other realisation was that I have 4 or 5 different versions of Ave Maria. For some reason, every tenor who records a CD feels that he must include it, and always the Schubert version. Why?