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Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End


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Everything posted by Sgriob

  1. I dunno, Butcher Cumberland had an eerie resemblance to an enraged rhinoceros.
  2. Ghosts are probably personal, but Inverness always seemed haunted to me. It may be something to do with 13-24 Castle Street, where archaeologists found the campsite of mesolithic people who must have watched the inundation of Doggerland and returned later to see the North Sea where once were rolling hills and valleys teeming with aurochs, wisant and wild horses. Sometime around 7000 BCE; before the tsunami you could hike from Aberdeen to Trondheim, with nothing to stop you but the occasional enraged rhinoceros. Same spooky sensation creeps up behind me at Culloden, for more obvious and recent reasons.
  3. I lived in London for more than five years. The happiest two were in Bloomsbury.... I had the City to myself at weekends and relished the quiet strolls from pub to pub and wet Saturdays in the British Museum. I met Mrs Sgriob there too -- she was on a husband hunting safari from America. But the hollow feeling comes when I recall Wimpyburgers in Oxford Street and the littered deserts of Crouch End, Willesden and points north and west and the claustrophobia of endless miles miles of brick and asphalt. I suppose when you're happy you don't care where you are. There are places I loathe, but I admit that's not necessarily their fault.
  4. London has just unseated Hull as the "Crappest place in Britain." I stoop to concur. No Scottish towns on the list. Shurely shome mishtake? I think I'd put Steornabhagh near the top of my list, followed by Kelty and Wick. The metric is simple: a hollow sense of despair when I think of the place. What's on your personal list of Ten Worst Towns in Scotland?
  5. Right enough, Pat. I couldn't resist a surge of pride (mixed, as always, with a soupcon of embarrassment) at the pictures of the Tartan Army in Trafalgar Square. Good humour and almost universal good behaviour. A beautiful game to top it off. Grace and pride in defeat, that's what we do well.
  6. Cannibal and son walking along the beach. They find a beautiful naked girl washed up by the tide. Son: Look dad, she's still alive. Can we eat her? Dad: (thinks for a moment) No son. We'll take her home. And we'll eat your mum.
  7. I'm a lazy bugger, so before I start digging, does anyone know the minimum requirement for a vote in the referendum? Scots outwith the country don't get a vote, it seems. Other Nationals who live in Scotland do. I'm a long-time US resident growing steadily more in favour of Independence. (The anti-Scot invective on-line has got to me.) I'm working on an excuse to stay in Scotland long enough to learn some new tunes, get tired of old friends, do a lot of fishing and... oh yeah... and maybe get to vote. I'll post no more for now. One of the grandkids reset my Mr. Martini to "stun" I now realise. The amount of vermouth in that last one was positiffly homoi... homeo..[pathic.
  8. My home village has a fine view of the Cairngorms and, whenever the mercury climbs above 80, some not so fine views of hairy bellies, sweaty faces and plastic lawn chairs all along Mill Street.
  9. Would it no be this exchange between Otis B. Driftwood (Groucho) and Fiorello (Chico)? Fiorello: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here, this thing here? Driftwood: Oh, that? It just says.....if any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified. Fiorello: Well, I don't know... Driftwood: It's all right. That's, that's in every contract. That's, that's what they call a sanity clause. Fiorello: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Clause! What I really loved about the Marx Brothers is they made it seem okay to be insane.
  10. It was 90F here today. It reached 118F in Death Valley recently, so we're grateful. My house doesn't have air conditioning, but we find that sliding into our wee swimming pool with a G & T makes it bearable. Strange, when we were wee and wore grey flannel short troosers our enemy was the cold (my kids still think the chilblain is as mythical as the unicorn) and now we hide from the heat.
  11. Forgiveness is an interesting concept in the domain of biological game theory too, where ideas like cooperation, altruism, cheating and strategic alliances come under the microscope. Birds do it, bees do it, monkeys in the zoo do it. Even micro-organisms do it. It's not hard to make a case for slime molds being more forgiving than some humans.
  12. Texas alone has executed at least ten innocent men since 1989. While Cameron Willingham lay on the execution gurney in 2004 the scientific report clearing him lay unread in the Governor's in-box. In their heyday the Aztecs executed 10,000 citizens a year. They had to, they believed, to keep their civilisation running smoothly. The main difference between them and us is numbers, IMO. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, goes the old army saying. If your state has an execution chamber, the chance to use it will inevitably come up. Same with torture. Whenever torture becomes an acceptable part of policy, the line of job applicants, pincers clanking, stretches around the block.
  13. Read the New Yorker piece avidly, having earned an award from Arthropod Weekly for 'Best Alfresco Dining in California." Don't quite know how that happened because I didn't think any of the countless ticks who have dined chez moi ever lived to tell the tale. Could it be that a few satisfied customers escaped without my noticing? But... Lyme is still something of a medical mystery. Science has yet to get to the bottom of it, but Science is still our best hope.
  14. I don't have a closed mind about the possible efficacy of all out-of-the-mainstream therapies. I'm convinced that hypnotherapy is one of our oldest resources for treating mental and physical ailments. Every shaman in every 'primitive' culture is a skilled hypnotist ( and usually a good mind reader, herbalist and conjurer too.) The body has a thousand ways to repair itself and battle infections. Sometimes all that's needed is a bit of a shoogle - mental or physical - to set the processes in motion. There is scientific evidence to suggest that placebos, hypnotism, cupping and acupuncture, among others, might be the shoogles in question. Some individuals are more susceptible than others. The reported effectiveness of acupuncture is much higher in countries (Asia) where it has been used for donkey's years. Some investigators believe that susceptibility to its effects may even be hereditary. (Those for whom it didn't work didn't live to breed another day.) I'm all for the SCIENTIFIC investigation of 'alternative' therapies. When their efficacy is proved we can start looking at HOW they work, to the great benefit of us all. "Alternative" therapies, if they are any good, don't stay alternative for long. No reputable scientist has been able to demonstrate that homeopathy works. To those who say it worked for them, I say more power to your elbow. But it's still 18th Century pseudoscience for all that. (Fun factoid: a recent study showed that placebos can work even when you know they are placebos.)
  15. What are the real pro union arguments, Samsetc? All I've heard is that Scots are too incompetent to run a country without Westminster's expert help.
  16. Radio news here kept reporting that Andy is first Englishman in 77 years to win Wimbledon. That rankles a bit. I thought the shooge saltire was a bit de trop, tho. A wee paper one would have been enough. Will disgust with Westminster be enough to make it a national Yes? As a fan of Scandinavian TV dramas, I must say I like the idea of an independent Scotland with their social values and lifestyle. Maybe we could do something about the weather too. I'd love a female PM like the lassie in "Borgen." Jist ramblin oan, ken.
  17. And not harps and heavenly choirs either, just yet.
  18. Don't ask me, Sam. The Wikipedia entry is exhaustive and exhausting. I can't be bothered to read it all, because I'll never use homeopathy and I have nothing to say to those who do. This is another of those persistent delusions that afflict mankind. The real mystery is why so many people, even intelligent people, prefer delusion over reason. True story: A friend's mother treated her ovarian cancer with Buddhist chanting and homeopathy. She died in her fifties. Wicked of me to say so, but I don't think she insisted on homeopathic doses of morphine at the end.
  19. Let's be clear. Homeopathy dilutes substances to the point where no atom of the original is likely to remain. Practitioners claim that subsequent dilutions, even to astronomical degrees, increase a drug's therapeutic power. Whatever anecdotal effect homeopathic 'remedies' may have can only be explained by the placebo effect or something happening in the counter-intuitive chaos below the quantum level. What is unarguable is that if you dilute a gram of cinchona ten million times you have a pretty fair unit cost for your product. In other words, homeopathy works with one substance only: BS. Dilute BS ten million times and you still have BS.
  20. I'm just amazed that a chunky wee Dundonian actor can be in so many movies AND find time to be an authority on spiritual matters. As for being cute -- let's just say he's not my type.
  21. Just being polite to Believers.
  22. Respect returned, Sametc. The resurrection motif is common to dozens of other religions. Baldr, Quetzalcoatl and Osiris for starters. I'm an atheist, so I'm not that impressed with Jesus's signature 'miracle' because I don't think it really happened. My respect is for Christ's character, or what we know of it, and for the many millions of Christians who have done the right thing despite the moral limitations of their faith. I'm done. I offer up my wrists in atonement.
  23. Saw a convincing image of Jesus in a dog's bum the other day. Jesus himself refused Satan's demand to show him miracles. We would do well to emulate His subtlety and sense of proportion. I don't much admire faith that is so easily swayed by the 'supernatural.'
  24. When I poured myself some tea this morning my Obama/Biden mug glided away from me across the tile counter. Something to do with heat and trapped moisture, my teckie pal explained. There was a moment but..... Question: when the Gods decide to do a miracle, why is it usually a teeny-weeny, useless miracle? Even the Old Testament miracles, apart from parting the Red Sea, were kind of ho-hum.
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