Monday, March 31, 2003

Famous Belgians

Never one to resist a challenge, even when it was not directed at me. Even when I read about it in the comments page of somebody else's site... Ahem, anyway, the challenge laid down by Joe at it always rains in Wales was to name 10 famous Belgians. Here's the exchange:

that's harsh .... naming 10 famous belgians off the top of your head really isn't that difficult you know ...
but just don't, whatever you do, marry one.
03.02.03 @ 07:02:34

Go on then, I dare you!
08.02.03 @ 00:47:20

Now one of the few benefits of living five years in Belgium is that I am more aware than your average joe (no pun intended) of quite a few well-known Belgians. I wouldn't go so far as to say "famous", but then again it depends on your definition. So here's my list:
René Magritte
Hieronymus Bosch
Audrey Hepburn
Plastic Bertrand
Georges Simenon
Hergé (Georges Rémi)
Liz Claiborne
Jacques Brel
Now it's over to you. Have I missed anyone? Any dispute over this list of ten?

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 31, 2003 | link

CNN / Reuters

News reports have filtered out early this morning that US forces have swooped on an Iraqi Primary School and detained 6th Grade teacher Mohammed Al-Hazar. Sources indicate that, when arrested, Al-Hazar was in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square and a calculator. US President George W Bush argued that this was clear and overwhelming evidence that Iraq indeed possessed weapons of maths instruction.

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 31, 2003 | link

Imagine being loved this much

I've been reading the tributes to writer Amanda Davis who died recently. Thanks to rabbitblog for the link. And making me think.

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 31, 2003 | link

More from Moore

He's now working on a documentary investigating "the murky relationship" between former US president George Bush senior, and the family of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Michael Moore, whose last documentary film, Bowling for Columbine, won an Oscar, has been given the go-ahead to shoot his next film "Fahrenheit 911". Mel Gibson's company Icon is putting up the cash for the movie, which concentrates on the US government's past links with the family of Osama Bin Laden.
According to reports, the film will investigate "the murky relationship" between former US president George Bush senior, and the family of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The movie will suggest that the bin Laden family profited greatly from the association. Moore's anti-war, anti-Bush Oscar acceptance speech provoked a mixture of cheers and boos at the Academy Awards last Sunday.

According to Moore, the former president had a business relationship with Osama bin Laden's father, Mohammed bin Laden, a Saudi construction magnate who left around £190 million to Osama bin Laden. It has been widely reported that bin Laden used the inheritance to finance global terrorism. Moore said the bin Laden family was heavily invested in the Carlyle Group, a private global investment firm that the filmmaker said frequently buys failing defence companies and then sells them at a profit. The former president has reportedly served as a senior adviser with the firm.

"The senior Bush kept his ties with the bin Laden family up until two months after September 11," Moore said.

Moore said the primary focus of the new film will be to examine what has happened to the United States since the September 11 terrorist attack. He has accused the Bush administration of using a tragic event to push its agenda. "It certainly does deal with the Bush and bin Laden ties," said Moore. "It asks a number of questions that I don't have the answers to yet, but which I intend to find out." Moore said the success of his documentary and book reflects majority public support for his political argument.

"It's because the majority of Americans agree with me, see the economy in the toilet and didn't vote for George W," he said. "People are now realising you can question your government while still caring about the soldiers."

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 31, 2003 | link

Favourite quote of the day

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's probably too dark to read.
- Groucho Marx

Thanks to Nobody's Doll for this and a great blog.

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 31, 2003 | link
Sunday, March 30, 2003

If this is "dumbing down" then more please!

There was a wonderful programme on the BBC last night, The Madness of Vermeer.
The presenter (Andrew Graham Dixon) really loves Vermeer's paintings and it showed in his presentation of the man (and his family) behind the paintings. I've just been googling for more information on Vermeer's grandparents and the curator of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (who rejoices in the wonderful name of Toco Dibbits) when I came across Jonathan Janson who paints pictures like this and this:

Now all we need is a similar programme about Pieter de Hooch.

Posted by Daisy on Sunday, March 30, 2003 | link

Ebay in the news...

This would be funny if it wasn't so terribly sad. Thanks to Kelly for the link.

Posted by Daisy on Sunday, March 30, 2003 | link
Saturday, March 29, 2003

Last Belgian story of the day (honest)

From Ananova comes this:

Belgian drink-driver found 'grazing'
A Belgian drink-driver was found eating grass in a field. He told a judge that he was fond of its taste.
Witnesses said they saw Jurgen Tersago, from Aalst, crawl out of his car on his hands and knees.
He crawled into a field, in Berlare, and began eating the grass. When police arrived he was still on his knees and grunting like a pig.
Police took him to hospital where tests revealed he was over the drink-drive limit, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
In court, Tersago told the judge: "I like eating grass, especially when I'm drunk. It tastes like spinach."
He was fined £680 and banned from driving for 45 days.

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 29, 2003 | link

You have been warned

If you're planning a trip to Belgium in the near future you might want to avoid the town of Kruibeke, south of Antwerp. The mayor, bless him, has set up a Department of Tenderness to "encourage people to be nicer to each other".
Kruibeke mayor Antoine Denert, who allocates civic duties, said he would make it his personal responsibility. "People don't cuddle anymore and that's the reason why there are so many conflicts," he told Het Laatste Nieuws. "I will set an example and start in my own village by caressing, cuddling and kissing as many people as possible."
People of Kruibeke - you have been warned...

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 29, 2003 | link

'Time-Traveler' busted for insider trading

Many thanks to Harry Stone for this excellent story. So who do you think will take the lead role when Hollywood snaps up the movie rights? Kevin Spacey's already done K-Pax so...

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 29, 2003 | link
Friday, March 28, 2003

Food for thought

Thanks to Pete Bevin for pointing to this article.

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 28, 2003 | link

Nah, forget this Friday Five...

Go read Saddam's (aka Mister Crunchy)

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 28, 2003 | link

Friday Fives

I've just copied the list from those nice people at fridayfive and put some answers in:

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?
Finding that two very generous bloggers have put this site on their blogrolls. I'm hoping to get a little time this weekend to set one up here. And getting back on Blogger five minutes ago. Sad, isn't it?

2. What one person touched your life this week?
I was trying to leave the war out of this but I would have to say the beautiful face of the black American female soldier held captive. She and her family are in my prayers this week and will be until, please God, she's released.

3. How have you helped someone this week?
Just emailed a Spanish friend to tell her about a competition to win a house in Andalucia. Oh and I've organised for my eldest niece to come stay with us for a week's "boot camp" just before her exams. OK, I might not be able to help with the religious education studies but I'm hoping to help with the French, English Lit and sciences. She doesn't know it yet, but I'm going to give her the money she would have earned if she had been at work that week. But it's a secret, ok?

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?
One thing? Are you mad? I have a list going into the hundreds of things I must do by this time next week. Doesn't mean they're gonna get done though.

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?
Not appear naked in public?

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 28, 2003 | link

I can blog again!

Sorry, it's just that I haven't been able to post since yesterday morning... Not that that means a great deal in the grand scheme of things but it makes me one happy teddy. Now where did I put all those deleted posts...

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 28, 2003 | link


Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 28, 2003 | link
Thursday, March 27, 2003

Quote of the day

"I'm not going to vacuum 'til Sears makes one you can ride on."
Roseanne (US comedienne)
Posted by Daisy on Thursday, March 27, 2003 | link
Wednesday, March 26, 2003


We were at a friend's house for supper the other night, along with a couple (Peter and Sarah) we'd not met before. Lovely people. Have two gorgeous jack russell terriers (Elvis and Grommit). Anyway, the conversation turned (as it does) to rugby and the Six Nations tournament which England are unfortunately likely to win. Sarah confessed that she would like to follow the rugby but didn't know the rules. A voice from behind me said w w w dot scrum dot com forward slash primer forward slash default dot asp. Everyone looked at me in admiration. I looked round, no-one standing behind me... that voice must have come from my mouth. Now where the hell did that come from? I have been on that site a few times but it's just too depressing for any self respecting Welsh ex-pat with a hatred for all things involving any of the following: England/Rugby/Will Carling. So how on earth did I remember the exact url? Now Peter and Sarah are under the (very) mistaken impression that I have a photographic memory for urls and that I'm an expert on rugby. Ha! So I have two choices - spend a weekend on that site studying as if I were to take an exam in the subject or confess that it was a momentary abberration. What do you think?

Posted by Daisy on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 | link

Ya gotta love drunk people...

A man and his wife are awakened at 3 o'clock in the morning by a loud pounding on the door.
The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.
"Not a chance," says the husband, "it is 3 o'clock in the morning!" He slams the door and returns to bed.
"Who was that?" asked his wife. "Just some drunk guy asking for a push," he answers.
"Did you help him?" she asks. "No, I did not, it is 3 o'clock in the morning and it is pouring out there!"
"Well, you have a short memory," says his wife. "Can't you remember about three months ago when we broke down and those two guys helped us?
I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!"
The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain.
He calls out into the dark, "Hello, are you still there?"
"Yes" comes back the answer.
"Do you still need a push?" calls out the husband.
"Yes, please!" comes the reply from the dark.
"Where are you?" asks the husband.
"Over here on the swing!" replies the drunk.

Posted by Daisy on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 | link
Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Not while we're eating, please

I attended a client lunch today. Great Thai restaurant, nice people. It was a bit like a UN committee with representatives from Spain, France, Brazil, Norway, Japan and the UK. I stayed relatively quiet (mostly due to a very bad headache). Two hours of eating, drinking and general bonhommie. And not once was the war mentioned. Did they all email each other beforehand and make a pact not to discuss the war? Unlikely. Then why?

Posted by Daisy on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 | link


There really are some great blogs out there. Just discovered cynzflogspot - another "must add to my daily dose" list. I really have to get a "blogroll" going in the left hand column of this page...

Posted by Daisy on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 | link
Monday, March 24, 2003

I'm sulking now

I fell in love with these doggie bathtubs and was about to whip out the flexible friend... when I realised that the Martha bloody Stewart does not ship internationally. Actually, the postage on these would be higher than the cost of the tub. And I'd have to have at least size XXL to fit our galumping great lummoxes in. So yippee, Martha Stewart does not ship internationally! Credit card back in wallet. Shopping alert over.

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 24, 2003 | link

Oh poor Joe!

From Internal Memos (via fucked company) comes this email:

From: Sanders, Joseph
Sent: Monday, July 29, 2002 6:38 AM
To: Unix Team MSP; NT Support; Network Support
Cc: Selzler, Galen
Subject: Star Wars figurines


To those of you who this doesn't apply to, I apologize in advance for including you in this e-mail.
To the person (or persons) who finds it funny to repeatedly position my star wars figurines in
inappropriate positions, please stop. The note I put there requesting this to NOT be done was not a
challenge for you to do it again, or to see how grotesque and inappropriate you could get. In all
seriousness, I ask you to stop. I find this extremely inappropriate, distastefull, offensive, and
in no way, humorous. If this continues, I will report this to HR. Please, understand that I don't
take this lightly and ask that you respect my wishes on this.

Again, to those of you who are receiving this, and have had nothing to do with this, I apologize.
I believe the perpetrator(s) is a member of one of these teams, based upon previous actions of this

Joe Sanders
Navitaire Unix Team
Direct: [phone number removed]
E-Mail: [email address removed]

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 24, 2003 | link

Ooh missus!

Keith Chegwin and Martin from Eastenders are on a ladder outside my window. No really. They say they've come to fix the guttering but they've just TURNED DOWN a cup of tea. Can't be real builders, can they?

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 24, 2003 | link
Sunday, March 23, 2003

Time for a chuckle

Lots more chuckles from Marc Petersen's "Fireside Cartoons" here.

Posted by Daisy on Sunday, March 23, 2003 | link
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Best news I've heard this week

I am so proud of my youngest brother. He left school at 16 with very few qualifications. A decade of working in the UK retail industry taught him that being Mr Nice Guy was not going to get him any further than store management so he took the hugely brave step of starting a full time degree course. With three young children to support. Three years later he emerged with a first class degree and the opportunity to pursue a PhD. He's now been offered a full time teaching post at the same university. Brilliant. Sorry if that sounds a bit braggy but I'm just so damn proud of him.

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 22, 2003 | link

Unexpected benefits of the current conflict - part 1 of ...1 (probably)

An extended 6 o'clocck news on BBC Radio 4 means a shorter than usual edition of Loose Ends. Second
best news I've heard all week. Now I'll only have to switch off the radio for 30 minutes instead of the usual 45...

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 22, 2003 | link

A shocking problem

Ever since the war started our youngest dog (a smooth coated Patagonian whaling terrier) has been quite distressed at any television coverage of the war. She is particularly upset by people wearing gas masks. And since the war started her coat has developed huge amounts of static electricity. Really, it's getting quite painful to stroke her. And since she's officially the "office dog" and is sat next to me for 12 plus hours a day (minus bowel breaks), that's one hell of a lot of "ouches" flying around. I'm thinking of getting one of those anti-static mat thingies from a computer store. Would that help? Or would it be better to end the war immediately...?

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 22, 2003 | link
Friday, March 21, 2003

Oh bugger, what have I done now?

All my comments have disappeared. And I was celebrating getting my first 2 comments on the 2 week anniversary of this blog. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth going on here at the moment. You could always email me at* if you had something to say... Aksherlly, the enertation website seems to be down at the moment so maybe it's not me. Phew!
* Note to self - find out the html tag to make that an email link...

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 21, 2003 | link

Go on, treat yourselves...

Meg over at notsosoft is selling some great books. Get in there while you can.

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 21, 2003 | link
Thursday, March 20, 2003

This or That

"Borrowed" (belatedly) from Morgaine's unmissable blog.
1. Cold frosty ski slopes or warm sandy beach?
Can I have a cold frosty beach please? I hate the heat but love the beach so a December beach with the man I love and our dogs is my idea of heaven.

2. Chevy or Ford?
The olive green Saab 96 my father had when we were children. I loved that car.

3. Mac or PC?
I use a PC because of work/client demands but would LOVE one of those sexy new Mac laptops. Just don't tell Tim.

4. Dial-up or high speed internet access?
High speed of course! But I must admit to getting a twinge of nostalgia for that pssht, pssht, ping! modem noise of dial-up...

5. Small *family-only* wedding or large 200+ guest wedding?
Neither. Ever. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

6. Would you rather be the bridesmaid or the bride? (if you are a guy, substitute best man or groom)
I'd rather take the pictures.

7. AC/DC or ABBA?
Abba, most definitely.

8. Roses or daisies?
Roses for the bedroom, daisies for everywhere else (hint: check out the blog title)

9. Trashy romance novels or classic literature?
Both please. Currently reading Can you Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella (should come with a health warning) and Lord of the Flies because it frightened me so much when I studied it at school (aged 15-16). I thought I was old enough to handle it but in the current climate it's not the best bedfellow. Hence the Sophie Kinsella. I like to go to sleep with a smile on my face. [Insert smutty reposte here]

10. NEW! Thought-provoking question of the week...If you had to choose one...would you rather be blind or deaf? Why?
I can't do better than Morgaine's reply:
This indeed is a difficult choice. I think I would opt for being deaf as I'm much more of a visual person. It would be horrible not being able to read anymore. To write. To surf. I know there are alternatives like having e.g. your browser read the contents of a page to you, like having books read to you but it just wouldn't be the same. Being deaf would be terrible as well because I like music but it seems you can learn how to sense the vibration of the music so I would still be able to dance, well sort of anyway.

Posted by Daisy on Thursday, March 20, 2003 | link

Most unusual

blog of the day is in Welsh. The English version is here.

Posted by Daisy on Thursday, March 20, 2003 | link

Come again?

According to Reuters, "The administration is expected to ask Congress for between $70 billion and $90 billion within days of the start of the war."

Posted by Daisy on Thursday, March 20, 2003 | link

Thoughts on war

A very moving piece from John Mahoney.

Posted by Daisy on Thursday, March 20, 2003 | link
Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Hair today, gone tomorrow

A couple of weeks ago I had my fairly long hair cut quite short. Big change. But after years and years of blow drying, styling, heated rollers, hair slides, hair clips, pony tails, etc. I am revelling in being able to just "wash and go". I just get out of the shower and let it dry. Unbelievable. Wish I'd done it years ago.
Who said you couldn't think of things to take your mind off the war?

Posted by Daisy on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 | link
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

On Being Asked for a War Poem

by W B Yeats

I think it better that in times like these
A poet's mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter's night.

Posted by Daisy on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 | link

Need to forget about conflict for a while?

Go read this.

Posted by Daisy on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 | link
Monday, March 17, 2003

Go sign up now

Technical Difficulties by Democracy in Action. Superb. Thanks to oneblueshoe for the link.

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 17, 2003 | link

Unusual "clothing racks"

I'm sure this is a great product. No sniggering at the back there!

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 17, 2003 | link

Bullies in the playground

If a few of kids are looking likely to take a stand and report wrongdoing to the teacher, what do the bullies do? They exclude and attempt to ridicule them.

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 17, 2003 | link


This advert has been banned from British television screens until after the 9pm watershed. Apparently a record number of complaints (580 and rising) were received. Shame, it's so cleverly done. But yes, I did feel a little queasy both times I watched it. I've got no complaint with the ad itself but I do object to the Guardian report referring to a "scruffy grey dog"...

Posted by Daisy on Monday, March 17, 2003 | link
Saturday, March 15, 2003

Bride in wedding hitch-hike

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 15, 2003 | link

Weekend reading

If Lord of the rings had been written by somebody else...

Thanks to quarsan for the link.

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 15, 2003 | link

We've all been there...

but not many people can describe it so well.

Posted by Daisy on Saturday, March 15, 2003 | link
Friday, March 14, 2003

Odd items on ebay - Part 2 :

Tempting but... I don't have any immediate plans to take up lap dancing as a career so I'll pass this time.

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link

Odd items on ebay - Part 1 :

Toenails. Beurk. Eeuw. Even if they are listed under "Art: Self-Representing Artists".

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link
And an ebayer with ATTITUDE!

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link
Some moving stories at Crumble.

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link
OK, so you've got one of the best websites in the world. What do you do? You cut 100 jobs and divert money away from it to increase spending on "interactive tv".

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link
Boring test stuff.

Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link
Comments to be added soon. Courtesy of those nice folks at enetation.
Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link

These are [allegedly] extracts from actual letters sent to various councils and Housing associations throughout the UK.

Look away now if you are easily offended by blatant innuendo...
  • I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt my knob off.

  • I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage.

  • And their 18 year old son is continually banging his balls against my fence.

  • I wish to report that the tiles are missing from the outside toilet roof. I think it was that bad wind the other night that blew them off.

  • I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the wall.

  • Will you please send someone to mend the garden path, my wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant?

  • I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen. 50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster and the rest are plain filthy.

  • The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.

  • Will you please send a man to look at my water? It is a funny colour and not fit to drink.

  • Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces.

  • I want to complain about the farmer across the road, every morning at 6:00am his cock wakes me up and it's now getting too much for me.

  • The man next door has a large erection in the garden, which is unsightly and dangerous.

  • Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two small children and would like a third so please send someone round to do something about it.

  • I am a single woman living in a downstairs flat and would you please do something about the noise made by the man I have on top of me every night.

  • Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy my wife.

  • I have had the clerk of the works down on the floor six times but I still have had no satisfaction.

  • My bush is really overgrown round the front and my back passage has fungus in it.

  • He's got this huge tool that vibrates the whole house and I just can't take it any more.

  • Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link
    Separated at birth? Wendy and Barbie.

    And there seems to be a bit of a dispute going on here.

    Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 14, 2003 | link
    Wednesday, March 12, 2003
    Do you have a spare couple hours? A box of tissues? OK, make sure the house is empty, and that the neighbours are away (both sides) and then go visit Mil Millington's website. I defy you to leave your computer screen before you have read, laughed (and I mean laughed, laughed like you've never laughed before) at the content.
    Posted by Daisy on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 | link
    Tuesday, March 11, 2003
    I love everything ever written by Bill Bryson but I think I'm going to have to go back and read Notes from a Small Island again. It's been voted the book most representative of "England" (that's England, not the rest of the UK). Bear in mind that the poll was conducted amongst BBC Radio 4 listeners. Eh? I listen to Radio 4 for about 12 hours a day and I've not heard anything about this vote. Then again, I've developed a "trailer antenna" that allows me to go glassy eyed and deaf in the 30-60 seconds between programmes and maybe I missed the call for votes. I like trailers, and I'm sure that the BBC likes trailers but they do tend to overdo them. I can see that I may overdose on Radio 4 and that trailers are repeated to catch different audiences (school run, drive time, etc.) but even so. Maybe the poll was conducted on the message boards. Anyway, it's great that Bill Bryson has been honoured in this way but I'm surprised at the vote. Will try and read it again this weekend. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read the Welsh, Scottish and Irish entries so will be on Amazon later tonight to check those out.
    Posted by Daisy on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 | link
    Friday, March 07, 2003
    Posted by Daisy on Friday, March 07, 2003 | link