Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

November 2006


Creative MediaWednesday, November 29th, 2006, (1:39 pm)

Flemish weekly magazine HUMO produced a series of ads a while back that I just had to post here for no other reason than to give some of you who might not have seen these ads a chance to do so. The message is that mixing cultures is a good thing and no matter if you agree with that or not, the ads themselves are quite interesting in their depictions of known world figures outside of the boundaries in which we usually see them.

HUMO is no stranger to producing controversial ads and these were no exception to that. Older folk called the ads insensitive and tasteless but as you might expect anything that the ‘older folk’ get upset about only helped make the ads (and therefore the magazine) that bit cooler to their younger target audience.

In fact poster campaign was so successful that it didn’t last long because they were being quickly stolen to be re-hung on various bedroom walls throughout Belgium.

HUMO magazine

GeneralMonday, November 27th, 2006, (2:51 pm)

Smoking seems like an illogical thing to do if you ask me. If it were invented today it would most likely be declared illegal because it’s addictive, expensive, and harmful not only to those who choose to do it, but also the people around them. 11,000 people die each day because of tobacco related illnesses yet despite the overwhelming evidence proving that smoking is just a flat out stupid thing to do, people still take up the habit.

Smokers become immune to the fact that their clothes, their home, and their breath whiffs of stale cigarette smoke which is about as appealing as warm cup of out of date milk. But perhaps by similar programming non-smokers have also managed to develop an immunity to the downsides of smoking. This is never more evident than when one kisses a smoker and enjoys doing so despite the fact that such an activity is comparable to licking an ashtray.

I’ve got nothing against people who smoke. I even enjoy the occasional cigar myself from time to time (though actually inhaling the smoke would send me into convolutions). But there is one thing about smokers which I simply can’t abide. I’ll put up with breathing their second hand smoke, I’ll look past their stained teeth, I’ll ignore the illogical nature of their addiction, but I can’t excuse their propensity to discard that cigarette butt as if it will simply evaporate the moment it leaves their smoke stained finger tips.

It might sound petty, but this subject is at the centre of an ongoing dispute with me and the hairdressers who work in the shop below my apartment. At intervals throughout the day they stand by our shared back door and replenish their addiction before flicking away the cigarette butt without so much of second thought or pang of guilt for their blatant littering.

Even more annoying is the fact that despite the unsightly collection of soggy butts the girls deny all responsibility. If pressed by their boss to stop this antisocial behaviour they simply take to flicking the butts over the neighbors fence as if that is a fitting remedy to the problem.

When I caught one of the girls flicking her filter to the ground a few weeks back she exclaimed it was “no big deal.” “How would you like it if I came to your house and did that?” I asked. “I wouldn’t care.” She announced with the flippancy you might expect from a not especially bright girl barely out of her teenage years.

Knowing my position on the environment one of the girls informed me that disposing of their filters in this way was okay because the filters themselves were biodegradable. However filters are not biodegradable at all as they are made from plastic (acetate), though she refused to accept this fact even when presented with evidence.

But even if the filters were biodegradable my annoyance at their inconsiderate disposal on what is my doorstep is not diminished. None of the girls would consider tossing a drinks can to the ground in our shared yard so how then does a smoker conclude that disposing a butt in that way is any less unacceptable.

It is of course unfair to suggest that those who smoke are perhaps not as intellectually complete as those who don’t. But exactly how stupid does one have to be to consider that inhaling smoke through a plastic filter laced in toxins is a good idea in the first place?

cigarettelitter.org
Litter Butt
4.5 trillion cigarette butts per year are littered in the USA.
Used cigarette butt for sale

GeneralFriday, November 24th, 2006, (12:53 pm)

Okay, this is entirely random but here’s a question for you. We all know coffee is good when it’s hot, and a whole lot of us enjoy a coffee when it’s cold too. So how come a lukewarm coffee is just flat out nasty?

There will of course be someone out there who will insist they like their coffee lukewarm, just like I like chicken when it’s been hugely overcooked and it’s all dry and chewy. But on the whole isn’t cool when it’s lukewarm. Why is that do you suppose?

Poshcoffee : The coolest coffee connection
Starbucks Delocator : Find somewhere (better) else to drink coffee

Environment and GeneralTuesday, November 21st, 2006, (10:01 pm)

I’m not entirely sure that I feel that a ‘buy nothing day’ really has much worth. I mean, what’s the point? It’s not like that thing you might have bought on that day isn’t just going to purchased by you the day after is it? But the thinking behind it isn’t a bad idea and maybe that’s the point.

I think we’re all guilty of short term thinking. We pick up a product from the shelf with little or no thought as to where it came from, who made it, how it’s packaged, what happens to that packaging, and what will happen to the product once we’re done with it.

A tiny proportion of the world are using most of its resources, and we should probably all take a moment to ponder that for a while I guess.

Found on the webMonday, November 20th, 2006, (8:10 pm)

The term ‘Little Becky’ has been one of the top search terms that has brought visitors to this blog in recent times. For the last three months people searching for ‘Little Becky’ prank call clips have been out numbered only by those who, for reasons that I don’t really understand, are finding their way here when they search for ‘Christina Aguilera naked.’ The fact that in such a list a little girl from Ireland would be second only to a de-clothed pop star from America is perhaps telling of her popularity. As the Irish Times recently put it, Little Becky is in demand.

Otherwise known as nine year old Rebecca Barry from Dublin, ‘Little Becky’ has been entertaining listeners to Dublins’s 98FM breakfast show for some time. She was discovered by the shows hosts Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore when she was just 5 years old and singing at her Dad’s office Christmas party next door to the radio station. The pair invited Becky to sing on their Christmas show ever since.

But it’s the prank calls that have proved to be the biggest hit with listeners not just in Dublin, Ireland, but as far away as Australia and Canada. Of the 200 or so calls she has made the few that have found their way to the internet have been downloaded from countries right across the globe, shared by email, instant messaging, and bluetooth enabled mobile phones.

Every week Becky accompanied by her mother goes to the 98FM studios to record the calls that will be played the following week. “I sit in a room with my mam and talk to people on the phone. I have earphones on, and Dermot and Dave tell me what to say in my ear if I get stuck.” Says Becky to Irish Times journalist Róisín Ingle.

“There was one man I rang who made wedding videos, and I asked whether he could help me organise the wedding of my dog and my cat. He was fine on the phone, but then when Dermot and Dave rang him afterwards, to get his permission to use the piece, he got annoyed and wouldn’t let them use it.”

But perhaps because the calls are being made in Ireland, where it could be argued folk are a little more laid back, very few of the people Becky calls refuse to let the station air the call.

By far the most searched for call to date is the school demolition one. Becky calls a local demolition company and requests that they demolish her school, with the teachers in it! “How much would it be to knock it to the ground” she asks in her cute little Dublin accent. In good spirit the ‘top boss’ of the company plays along and asks her if she wants it “blown up.” He even sportingly offers to give her a quote for the demolition with a breakdown including the price for each individual teacher.

We might yet hear more from ‘Little Becky’ in the future too. She’s been to showbiz classes and can be seen playing on stage playing Prince Charming’s inventive party organiser in the pantomime ‘Cinders’ which begins at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre the day after Christmas.

Check the list below of Becky’s calls.
Sadly the link to Becky’s calls is no longer active.

GeneralSunday, November 19th, 2006, (1:31 pm)

Perhaps it’s unfair of me to assume that the road to yet another hollywood divorce started yesterday in a medieval castle near Rome, but as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes tied the knot I’m left wondering how long this latest star marriage will last.

It’s not unfair to point out that very few Hollywood marriages have ‘Hollywood endings.’ Cruise himself has already made two attempts at the ‘happily ever after’ and must surely be hoping that this time it truly is a match made in scientology heaven. But given the high attrition rate of celebrity marriages surely even the bravest gambler might be reluctant to play his hand on this surviving ’till death due us part?

Cruise is a devout member of the Church of Scientology, formed by failed science-fiction write L. Ron Hubbard. That fact might work well for the ‘A list’ couple as it is a teaching of Scientology that married couples should not go to sleep at night without resolving any conflict they may have had during the day.

The truth is though, that regardless of religious beliefs, celebrity marriages usually end in celebrity divorces. Recently ‘Bratney’ Spears added her marriage with Kevin Federsomething to the long list of bitter celebrity marital failures. What makes the Spears failure even more awful is the rumor that her soon to be ex-husband has threatened to inflict a four hour video of the couple ‘doing it trailer park stylee’ on the world if Ms Spears doesn’t make a suitably generous settlement offer.

While I can’t imagine a similarly trashy affair happening to ‘TomKat’ in the future, it’s surely not entirely out of order to start speculating as to when the newly weds will cite “irreconcilable differences” as reason for the almost inevitable sad ending to their fairy tale marriage. After all, under such intense scrutiny from the media how much of a fairy tale could such a marriage be anyway?

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes begin their road to divorce

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