Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

One man's lonely struggle to get justice for ugly people

Gonzalo Otalora
Gonzalo Otalora shows his younger self. Photograph: Juana Ghersa
While a few leftwing dinosaurs here busy themselves with the plight of the low-waged whose tax bills are about to rocket under the new 20% starting rate, an Argentine writer has been applying himself to wider questions of social injustice. Gonzalo Otalora has written a book entitled ¡Feo! (Ugly!), which calls for the taxation of good-looking people to counteract the natural advantages they have over munters. "Countless studies show that ... it's easier for them to find jobs; they're paid more and find partners more easily," he says. The "manifiesto del feosexual" also calls for the levy to be donated to the ugly, and for photo requirements on job applications and airbrushing in magazines to be outlawed.

As you may possibly have already suspected, the genesis of Mr Otalora's tome lies in his years as a pallid, bespectacled, bepustuled youth in Buenos Aires, where he stood out like a sore, myopic thumb amid his buff compatriots and - reading entre los versos - found it very difficult to find someone to have sex with him as often as he would have liked. Some men would simply have retired, defeated - or moved to Britain - but Otalora used his experiences to formulate his radical policy of redistributive justice for the greater good.

¡Feo! is already a bestseller in Argentina, but despite Otalora's urging to change the law, president Cristina Kirchner has as yet given no sign of acquiescence - possibly because it could hit the famously glamorous ruler in her own pocket.

In Britain, of course, we would have less of a political hurdle to overcome, as our sturdy leader has been bred for stomping around the grounds of a manse in Kirkcaldy rather than insinuating himself round the luscious forms of sultry tango dancers. And it would find ready acceptance amongst the populace at large, though it might need to be adapted to our own cultural specifics. We could either tax all celebrities or have a 24-hour-a-day reality show in which every member of society is assessed as taxably hot or not by a panel of vituperative judges. Rebates, in fairness, to be made available to late bloomers.

Courtesy of my learned bloggy friend in Poland- Shaunj and The Guardian


Thursday, 24 April 2008

Unfortunate Timing and Placement of Ads

Nothing much of interest to post today so here goes some plagiarism!

Advertising can be creative and even purposely funny. But sometimes, an ad on a bad place can have unexpected results! Here is a list of some unfortunately Placed Ads.

Ad on the bus reads: "If you don't have G.I.O Third Party Property Insurance, we suggest you don't hit this bus"

from Oddeee

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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Say It - Don't Spray It!

I've just spent the last ten minutes picking grains of rice out of my laptop keyboard, off my computer screen, the table, the floor and even the wall 2 meters away. Why that sounds strange? - I hear you say - Damn right! - It is strange!, so let me elaborate.

I went to a friends civil ceremony wedding today and although it's customary to throw rice after yer hitched here, that had nought to do with this story. The ceremony happened to be near Barrio Chino (Chinatown). So after the festivities, I went to the Chinese supermarket and picked up some jasmine tea, soy sauce, wasabi and some sushi salmon rolls.
I have a fairly high tolerance to spicy food and wasabi (japanese green spicy mustard for you non sushi heathens). The hotter the better - XXX Vindaloo - bring it on ya wussies!

So I chopped up the sushi roll and poured some soy sauce with a hefty dose of wasabi mixed into a small dipping bowl. After 3 or 4 portions, I wasn't getting the burn/sweat satisfaction I wanted. I like the eyes to water and the nose to burn with wasabi, so I upped the dosage or kicked it up a notch if you know what I mean!.

Finally there was some fairly good eye watering, nose burning sensations going on, so I had reached wasabi nirvana. I soaked the second last piece of sushi roll for a good 10 seconds both sides and popped it in my gob. Chew, chew, mmmmmMM - yummy!.....eyes water, nose burns.....ARGH! Nose on FIRE! ....ok...relax....relax... breathe thru your mouth....ARGH!....Mouth on FIRE!...HELP! ....can't breathe!....try and breathe thru nose again.....OUCH!...ALL AIR PASSAGES ON FIRE! - DANGER!- DANGER!- WARNING! - WARNING! - I'm MELTING!....I cannae take anymore Cap'n! - EJECT - EJECT!!!! - With that, I let fly, with full force, with whatever was in my mouth and sprayed whatever happened to be in the line of fire. Hence my computer was a rice ridden mess. I ran to the kitchen, eyes streaming, throat burning, nose in pain and dowsed the inferno with water!
I reckon either I got dodgy wasabi or didn't mix it right with the soy sauce - word of advice - BEWARE the fiery green paste monster!

+ =


Temaiken Zoo, Outskirts of Buenos Aires

The Buenos Aires city zoo has a reputation for being a bit old and drab and the animals a bit, well, old and drab! However about 60kms outside the city is Temaiken Zoo which is refreshingly clean, interesting, has healthy animals and very well maintained. See more info on this link.

If you get bored of the Zoo, there's a big beer garden across the road. What more you you ask for? And now a really corny joke.

A Man goes to the zoo, but when he arrives there's only a dog?
It was a Shitzu!

Photo: Courtesy Paraflyer

fyi - no elephants at Temaiken :-(


Tuesday, 22 April 2008

You Got's to Know When To Hold'em or Fold'em!

The last night in Puerto Madryn we entered a Texas Hold'em poker competition at the casino. Four tables of ten were narrowed down to two tables of ten and then narrowed to one table of ten and then by some miracle, I was in the last four. Eventually, it was just two of us. Yours truly came second and cashed in a nice US$800 prize, so I was well chuffed.

I won the annual poker comp back in my last year of college and the family likes to play cards ( a lot!) so I have some experience but I still think the exhaustion of late nights, and early morning fishing and fighting the big salmon till my arms were droppin' off (see previous post) was the best preface to a perfect poker face. No emotion - No tell tale twitches - Just yawning, even when I had my top hand to throw off the competition! - ALL IN - I BET THE WHOLE POT!!!.....ha ha Suckers!

Photo: Last 4 standing! (not Photoshop'd - I swear!)



Monday, 21 April 2008

Gone Fishing!

Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdes, Patagonia, Argenina

Photo: Big MoFo Fish

Point your mouse over the slideshow and Click the little chat bubble on the left of the slideshow to see the photo captions

It was a early start at 7:15am after a late night. I am not a social person before midday - EVER! Two fishermen arrived at the hostel and we were driven an hour out of town to a quiet beach. The maté drink (packed with caffeine) was the only saving grace.

Photo: Traditional Maté Drink

Myself and the wee bro probably wouldn't be considered the most hardy fisherman types, but since our guides were kitted out in several layers of fleece, rain gear and hats and we only had very light layers, we knew we were in for a cold ride. Truth be told, as soon as we were out on the beach it was 'freeze the balls off a brass monkey' cold!

From a total of about 3 hours freezin' our arses out on the boat, most of the fish action happened in the first 15 minutes and between us we caught about ten fish including a 10kg white salmon (photo above). I did a little fishing as a kid but rarely caught anything bigger than a goldfish, so this was a real bonus, in fact an absolute thrill!

I once got literally hooked myself as my older bro cast back and hooked me in the side of the head when we were fishing back home in Old Head in County Mayo. I had to walk 3 miles with a spinner & hook hanging outta my head to the nearest town, Louisburg and got a single stitch (probably to make sure I came back to pay later). Time to queue - Kylie Minogue music "I can't Get You Outta My Head!"

Anyway - It took about 15 minutes to reel the big blighter fish in and my arms were so tired and cramping so badly, I could barely pose for the photo, but the exhibitionist in me somehow prevailed!


Saturday, 19 April 2008

Smelly Europeans Stink Out Poor ENGLAND

Apparently Buenos Aires isn't the only city with air quality problems (see previous post). London has been the victim of manure like air blowing in from somewhere in Europe. It's suspected that pollution from a factory across the channel is to blame. Hmm.. I think I'll take smokey air over manure air any day!

From todays Mirror Newsapaper - UK

Europe blamed for foul stench over Southern England

A foul manure-like stench hanging over parts of Southern England yesterday has been blamed on Europe.

Weather experts said east-blowing winds carried the nasty niff across the Channel as calls flooded in from London, Kent, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, East Anglia and Devon.

The Met Office said the smell is believed to have been caused by a combination of agricultural and industrial pollution - with pig manure spreading being one possible contributor. Forecaster Sarah Holland said: "In the past few days, fresh winds have been blowing from the east.

"The origins of the smell come from Europe and have brought in pollution. When the wind blows from the west, it is coming from the Atlantic so it brings in virtually no pollution but when it is eastwards it is coming across land."

Experts were trying to locate the source of the pong. But MeteoGroup warned: "It will possibly go on into Monday."


Thick Smoke Blankets Buenos Aires - Update

I've added a good YouTube video with a news report to supplement the first post below which demonstrates the seriousness of the situation. Visibility on the roads is now less than 3 metres. Several more fatalities reported. Breathing is noticeably difficult.


Friday, 18 April 2008

Thick Smoke Blankets Buenos Aires

Photo: Smokey Buenos Aires

Alternate headline = "Cristina Fiddled While Buenos Aires Burned" or "Where there's smoke there's FIRE!"
For more than three days in a row we've had smoke covering the city like the famous smog that covers L.A only worse. Tonight it's particularly bad as it's hard to breathe and my eyes itch and my throat is agitated. It's like a thick fog and visibility is minimal. There have been serious accidents on the roads with at least 3 fatalities and 14 injured. Ports have been closed and flights delayed. It's still warm this time of year so closing the windows is not an option. The cause is grass on farmland being burned outside the capital in the Delta del Parana region, with the winds blowing the smoke from the fires into the city and as far away as Montevideo in Uruguay .

Could this have any connection to the recent farmers strike? - Hard to say but I'm sure the conspiracy theories will be flowing. An Irishman who preferred to remain anonymous said "First, I gave up smoking in an effort to be healthier (ok maybe to save money too!), but then you had to deal with second hand smoke in pubs (smelly clothes and hair after a night out!). Then they banned smoking in pubs (Wahoo!), but for whatever reason, most of the bars in Argentina decided to ignore the ban (they're a law unto themselves here!). Then, all I want to do is go outside to get a breath of fresh air and look what happens! - The country is gone to pot I tell ye - Put that in yer pipe and smoke it!" The Minister for Health couldn't be reached for comment as he had respiratory problems - him and 90% of the residents of Buenos Aires!.

Official News article available here.


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

JAWS! - Orcas (Killer Whales) Punta Norte

Photo: Dinner Time!

Photo: Dessert!

Apart from sea lions, penguins, dolphins, elephant seals and guanacas, the main attraction in Peninsula Valdes this time of year (March to early April) is the amazing spectacle of Orcas (killer whales) coming into the shallow waters in La Ernistina, Punta Norte and gobbling up sea lions. They literally almost beach themselves in doing this - it's quite amazing as the above pics/videos demonstrate. Unfortunately, the orcas weren't being as cooperative (as pics above) the day we were there and I'm sad to say this is as close as we got!

Photo: Orca comes close but not too close!

We did get to see orcas, sea lions, guanacos, huge elephant seals and lots of Magellan penguins so it wasn't a 10 hour trip in vain. It basically boils down to luck and weather conditions to be able to see the great spectacle of the orcas coming onto the beach. Ah well maybe next time - Thank God for Youtube!

Tune in next post for the biggest fish I've ever caught!


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

'Simpsons' stirs uproar in Argentina

An episode of "The Simpsons" is stirring a political uproar in Argentina -- even though it hasn't yet aired.

In the 10th episode of season 19, which has already screened in the U.S, Carl Carlson tells Homer that former Argentine President Juan Peron was a dictator, adding "When he disappeared you, you stayed disappeared."

"Of course, his wife was Madonna," Lenny Leonard says in reference to the singer-actress' role as Eva Peron in "Evita."

However, it wasn't the Peron regime but the 1976-83 military dictatorship that followed his rule that has been blamed for the disappearance of 30,000 citizens.

The episode isn't skedded to air until June or July on Telefe and Canal Fox in Argentina.

But the segment on YouTube had an estimated 12,000 viewings in Argentina over the weekend.

Lorenzo Pepe, a former congressman and now secretary general of the National Institute of Juan Peron, called on national broadcasting regulator Comfer to intervene.

It isn't clear what action Comfer could take. A spokesman for the regulator said censorship wasn't an option for "The Simpsons," which for years has been a top-rated import in Argentina.

From Variety Magazine

That Homer guy is always stirring things up! Homer for US President I say - better alternative to what's out there right now!


Sunday, 13 April 2008

Operation Desert Storm - Puerto Madryn

I'm just back from 5 days exploring Puerto Madryn, Peninsula Valdes in beautiful Patagonia with my brother who was visiting Argentina for 2 weeks. The first day of the trip, we rented bikes and headed on a cycle, 16kms out of town to look at sea lions and 16kms back. For people who aren't overly active, it wasn't going to be that easy and in retrospect, given the gale force winds was probably a little ambitious.

After some navigation problems were worked out, we were on our way. The terrain on the way out started on asphalt but eventually became rough with lots of stones, dirt, hills and sand, so wasn't that easy. Also, we hadn't exactly done our homework on the availability of water, so were only able to source a small bottle between us which didn't last very long. Ninelty five minutes later, we arrived at the sea lion reserve and paid the park entrance fee but there wasn't a shop or vending machine in sight - Argh! Cupped hands under the tap in a public toilet was going to have to suffice to quench the thirst. Here's the view of the sea lions which slouch around motionless and make me, the king of couch potatoes look hyper active!

The outbound cycle was with the wind but the journey home was straight into a head wind, with sand blasting into your eyes and where even a downhill stretch took serious pedaling energy. As we set off back to town, I noticed my bro had a puncture so, with wind, fatigue, dehydration, hunger, bad terrain and the hot sun, this was clearly becoming torture session. After 3 hours battling the elements, resorting to lots of walking and a 'pump up the tyre routine' every ten minutes, we were finally back near civilisation and saw a few beach front cafe's with 7UP and Coke signs but this ended up being just a tease, as the cafes were closed - Bloody low season! We were seriously parched and seriously pissed off! Finally we got to a kiosko that was open, but when I asked for a drink, my mouth was so dry and lips were so chapped, I couldn't speak. I reverted to sign language and grunting which was greeted with amusement and puzzlement at the same time. After downing a 1.5 litre bottle of 7UP in about 60 seconds, I was feeling somewhat human again.

Photos: Wee Bro on the Bike

Lessons learnt: 1.) Exercise is WAY overrated. 2.) Sea Lions aren't very exciting creatures and certainly not worth cycling 32kms to see. 3.) Water is precious even from a public toilet!

Tune in next post for Huge Orcas eating seal lions! Is not a joke!


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Need an Alibi?

I thought this was a joke at first but the following is from a real website offering you an alibi for everything from a doctor's excuse to take time off work to having an extra marital affair. The company can mimic the caller id to make your telephone appear as if it's coming from somewhere else or give you complete anonymity if you prefer. If you haven't worked for a while and need a bogus CV/resume filler they can sort you out (might need this myself!). There are many of these websites out there so I guess they must be doing business.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alibi Network is a cutting edge full service agency providing alibis and excuses for absences as well as assistance with a variety of sensitive issues. We view ourselves as professional advisors who understand our clients’ unique situations. We explore various approaches with our clients and implement the best solution based on each individual case. We understand your need for privacy and we are completely discreet and confidential. _________________________________________________________________

We all encounter sensitive situations in our life. These may include family problems, social issues, work or financial difficulties. When you don’t want to involve your close friends and relatives for privacy reasons it is time to contact Alibi Network. Let us be your Privacy Partners.

We Understand The Delicacy of Real World Personal relations and can help you solve any sensitive problems and situations resulting from them with a variety of discreet services we provide. Whether you are interested in a doctor's excuse or a virtual seminar in order to get away or need us to place a discreet phone call on your behalf, we'll provide the support you are looking for.

Having a Discreet Affair?
Married but looking? We invent, create and provide customized alibis and excuses for attached adults involved in discreet relationships or encounters.

Virtual Hotel Service
Toll free or local virtual hotel number answered by a virtual front desk clerk 24 hours a day. The operator will greet a caller with the appropriate hotel greeting message and will handle the call according to the instructions.

Worldwide Telephone and Fax Services
We will receive a phone call from anywhere in the world and discreetly route it to anybody, in any location, anywhere in the world with ANY number showing up on the caller id of the receiving party.

Handling of Business and Personal Sensitive Matters
Do you find yourself in a sensitive situation and you can not involve your friends or relatives to help you? Are you sure your business partner or vendor is trustworthy? We can help you solve your problems.

Pretend You Are Anywhere
We can send email from anywhere in the world from your own email account, backed up with your own international phone number of the hotel, friend or anybody else. Discrete and confidential.

Rescue Call Services
The phone call from us to communicate any information you desire or to help you escape any situations such as dull meetings, bad dates or other unnecessary commitments that need to be cut short or cancelled.

Virtual Doctor's Office / Doctor Excuses
Looking for a doctor's excuse to get away? Supported by the local virtual doctor's office phone number anywhere in the world? Your doctors excuses are only a click away.

Virtual Confirmations:
- E-tickets - Hotel Stays - Car Rentals - Seminars, Conferences, Classes - Job Interviews - Sporting Events - Outdoor Trips - Other Discrete Services and Events.

Virtual Seminar/Training:
We offer a solid and a carefully constructed 2 to 5 days alibi and excuse package for our clients who are comfortable with the idea of going to a training/seminar.

Virtual Buddy
We'll set you up with the phone number and a voice mail. Our Male / Female Specialist will act as your virtual buddy taking and placing phone calls.

Untraceable Phone Numbers
For a week, a month or a year. Receive and make calls discreetly from this number. Instant activation. Available in every major city in the U.S. and most cities worldwide.

Virtual Employment
Are you embarrassed to be unemployed? Do you have a critical life situation that requires you to have a job? Would you like to create an impression that you have your dream job? With your own virtual office, executive assistant and business cards?

Fake Novelties
Are you embarrassed to admit you missed the show? We provide fake tickets for past events, fake receipts, fake confirmations and many other novelty items for pranks and practical jokes

Discreet Shopping
allows our customers to acquire any products or services anywhere in the world and remain completely anonymous. We will purchase, wrap and ship to any location.

Virtual Business/Office Phone Number
With a greeting, voice mail and receptionist confirming your virtual presence.

Read More Here


Monday, 7 April 2008

Have You Tested Draft Blogger?

I'm not here !!! - I'm off travelling with my delinquent younger brother for 6 days down to Puerto Madryn in Patagonia and so won't be at my computer night and day (or is that day and night?) so I decided to test the scheduling of a blog post at a later date with

The idea is you can basically scribe up blog post today Saturday April 5th and have it auto post a few days later (hopefully Monday April 7th). It seems to have a few extra bells n' whistles (aka gadgets) too that they haven't rolled out to the main blogger masses yet. Anybody tried it? Like it?Hate it?


Saturday, 5 April 2008

Football Fever!

The folks down here are a little more than passionate about football (that's soccer to you yanks). I still remember the first time sitting at home with the windows open and hearing sporadic roaring and not having a clue what was happening. I'd rush to the window and expect to see a mass riot on the street but nothing / nobody /nada was happening. It was only later that I learned it was your average Mom and Pop sitting at home watching the footie on tv. So then I started turning on the tv myself to see the goals and listen to the commentary.

The most bizarre thing is that some of the channels who don't have the right to show the game will just show pan around the stadium for 90 minutes so you can see the crowd with just audio commentary of the game in the background. It's on my list of things to do to go to a game, preferably Boca Juniors or River Plate or better still, both (like an Old Firm game (Celtic VS Rangers) in Scotland. But for now the entertaining tv commentary (similar to below) will have to do (what a pair of lungs on this commentator - GoooooAAAAALLLLL!


Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Bye Bye Bertie, Bertie Bye Bye!

Bertie Ahern (a.k.a Bertie the Bollocks!) the Prime Minister of Ireland has said he will resign next month. The Celtic Houdini who has been constantly embroiled in bribery scandals and investigations has managed to avoid this fateful day for a long time and is still being investigated, has finally met his Waterloo. He has unexplained deposits and bank accounts which he simply can't remember. Many politicians are corrupt but Bertie graduated from the Charlie Haughey school of memory loss. He simply can't remember how he accumulated his fortune - poor chap! - I feel for him NOT! - Ding Dong the Dick is Dead - the wicked wicked Dick is dead! Politicians are not above the law, yet it remains to be seen if Bertie will be held accountable.

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