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Spaghetti grows on trees

It's customary for bloggers to do an April Fool post on the 1st April, but I'm too unimaginative to think of a good one - so I thought I'd tell you about a very famous April Fool's joke carried out by the BBC. In fact I think that the BBC usually does one every year, and it's quite fun to try to spot it on their website.

In 1957, when TVs were still small black and white boxes designed to look like a wooden cabinet, and olive oil was only sold in chemists in the UK, the respected program Panorama broadcast a 2.30 minute sequence on the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland, narrated by the venerable Richard Dimbleby (BBC).

Some of the classic lines are (Source):
"Spaghetti cultivation here in Switzerland is not, of course, carried out on anything like the tremendous scale of the Italian industry. Many of you, I am sure, will have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations in the Po valley."

"Many people are very puzzled by the fact that spaghetti is produced in such uniform lengths. This is the result of many years of patient endeavour by plant breeders who suceeded in producing the perfect spaghetti."

"the harvest is marked by a traditional meal... This is, of course, spaghetti—picked early in the day, dried in the sun, and so brought fresh from garden to table at the very peak of condition. For those who love this dish, there is nothing like real home-grown spaghetti."

Check it out :-D

For many, the really funny thing was how many people believed it - some even calling the BBC to ask where they could get a 'spaghetti bush' :-)

Kim Jong-il eats pizza

Kim Jong-il, aka 'The Dear Leader', is a despot who lives in a world of luxury while presiding over famines, poverty and despair. Not to mentioning being responsible for kidnappping, blowing up a civilian airplane, and having a ridiculous perm

Apparently, he is something of a superhuman, for example writing six operas in two years and - when he was born - "The event was reportedly marked by a double rainbow, and a bright star in the sky." (BBC).

The personality cult of the Kims in North Korea is in many ways a reproduction of pre-existing religious practices - photos are treated with the reverence of religious icons and/or ancestral tablets and his presence is (reportedly) an occasion for emotional outbursts.

Not much to laugh about there, really, but this comment by an Italian chef made me laugh:
In 2004, he described to the BBC how he had given lessons to three army officers who took copious notes and asked detailed questions such as how far apart olives should be placed on each pizza.

Mr Furlanis said Kim Jong-il may even have visited one of the training sessions, being held on a ship anchored offshore.

"I am not in the position to say whether it really was him, but our chef, who had no reason to fib, was, for the space of several minutes, utterly speechless," Mr Furlanis said.

"He said he felt as if he had seen God, and I still envy him this experience." (BBC, emphasis added)

Hehe :-D

Dancing God of Prosperity!

We're off to Pontian for the Chinese New Year, so I'll be mostly offline for three-four days (strange feeling...)

Here's wishing Gong Xi Fa Cai! to all who celebrate CNY, Happy Holidays to those who don't - and to those who don't get holidays for Hindu, Muslim, Chinese, Buddhist AND Christian festivals ... Come to live in Malaysia :-D

Diggin' the Dancing God of Prosperity :-)

Wishing everyone Prosperity, Happiness, and Success in the Year of the Ox! :-D

A plant writes a blog

Unfortunately, it's a Japanese plant so I can't understand what it says, but it certainly challenges the boundaries of blogging! :-D

Check it out here.

This is for real, by the way - I read about it in BBC:
A potted plant at a cafe near Tokyo, Japan is entertaining customers by writing a regular blog about its feelings.

It is the work of a university engineer who has been studying how to communicate with plants.

He devised a sensor which he attached to the plant named "Midori-san" that measures bio-electric signals. These are converted into data by a computer next the plant and then translated into Japanese in the form of a blog.

The plant's latest entry reads: "It was cloudy today. It was a cold day." (BBC)

My blog has been graded

blog readability test
Well, given that I am doing a PhD, but that I do want what I write to be readable and not too jargony, I don’t know if this is good or bad…

Anyway, it’s good for all audiences…
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Hmm… so my blog is basically rated for kids?

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

jeez… what a wussy blog is my blog…

Do you talk too much in your blog?

This is just getting stupid – it says “On average, your blog posts are around 2 words in length. This is 100 percent shorter than other bloggers who took this test.” – there must be something wrong with the way it looks at my site…

Prime Minister moonlighting in Beijing?

We caught the Olympics closing ceremony last night, and the English wheeled out Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, in a not very memorable performance with Leona Lewis.

While I was watching them, I couldn’t help thinking that Jimmy Page reminded me of someone; then my wife got it. What do you think?

Check it out, it’s clearer in the video :-D