Category Archives: Blog

My blog and occasional comment on current affairs.

New speed record for completing Doom 2

Doom 2: Hell on Earth

Doom 2: Hell on Earth

There are times when I despair of humanity and our pointless scrabbling around, stressing over unimportant crap. But there are other times when I rejoice at how brilliant we are. Like landing a probe on a comet, cracking the genome, and now, setting a new speed record for completing Doom 2.

Doom 2: Hell on Earth is an old game that I personally spent hours upon hours playing back in the 90s. I used to play it for so long it would fill my dreams – the sounds, the monsters, the awesome shotgun. Apparently there is still a dedicated group out there who play it a lot. Amongst this elite group of non time wasters are an even more elite group of guys (probably guys, let’s face it) who compete to complete the game the fastest.

If you have ever played Doom 2, then the new record speed of 23 minutes and 25 seconds is probably going to floor you. It was set by someone called Zero Master and he has clearly played it a couple of times before. I spent weeks of my life to achieve what he does in 23:25, but to be fair, I probably enjoyed the experience more. If you want to see how it was done, well, here the the actual attempt in real time achieved by Zero Master. I doubt anyone would watch it in its entirety (apart from the aforementioned elite groups) but for old fans of the game, it brings back a nostalgic tear and a certain amount of awe.

Here you go:

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The Killing Floor by Lee Child

Lee-Child-Killing-FloorI don’t normally read thrillers and apart from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, I probably haven’t read one in a decade. But someone recommended The Killing Floor,  and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series generally, so I thought I would give it a go. This is the first Jack Reacher book and I have to say, I mostly loved it. I will probably read more.

A quick premise of the plot: Jack Reacher is a double hard bastard who is framed for a murder in a small town in America. I can’t really say much more without giving away a ton of plot. Needless to say there is a lot of action, a shed load of twists, turns and revelations, a hot woman and lashings of violence. There is also a fair amount of cliche and some massive coincidences that may stretch feasibility at times, but with a book this exciting, who cares?

I have read a few complaints about the way Lee Child writes and I suppose they have a point. He frequently writes short sentences. Quite a lot in fact. A bit like I am now. Some find it annoying. I got used to it. Read a bit. See what you think.

I will keep this review short and sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed The Killing Floor by Lee Child and will probably read a few more of his books. I am now going to watch the film with Tom Cruise and bitch about it.

You can get The Killing Floor by Lee Child by clicking this handy link:

 

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Megabots Kickstarter

Megabots Kickstarter

Megabots Kickstarter

A load of engineers, mechanics, scientists, artists and other robot-obsessed types have got together for an exciting, if slightly geeky, Kickstarter project. They have decided to make giant robot mechanoids, piloted by humans, fighting in a massive arena, a real thing. Their dream is to have a tournament where these metallic behemoths battle is out in large arenas while overweight nerds bay for the sight of leaking oil. Here is what the team has to say on their Megabots Kickstarter page.

The mad scientists at MegaBots, Inc. have been zealously working on the prototypes and final design of 15-foot-tall, 15,000-pound, walking humanoid combat robots with giant, modular pneumatic cannons for arms. A driver-and-gunner team pilot each MegaBot in a battle against other MegaBots, vehicles, and a variety of other defenses and obstacles in live-action combat – the likes of which the world has only dreamed of through video games and movies.”

While I am down with most things that fascinate geeks, I never really got into mechanoids/megabots/transformers or whatever. I just thought I would help publicise this because I think a world with a giant fighting robot league is better that one without. To see the Megabots Kickstarter page click on this link now. For $999,999 you can have your very own Megabot with seat warmers and a cup-holder. What a bargain.

Here is a video:

 

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Australia, Morocco, Thailand – Three True Travel Stories

I haven’t done this in a while, so please show some support. I have just moved back to Bangkok and need some Somtam money so thought I would plug my travel book: Australia, Morocco, Thailand – Three True Travel Stories. I have a few reviews on the Amazon UK site but only one on the Amazon US site. You can buy it by clicking this link here that you are looking at now.

Fortunately the lovely lady who wrote the US review was very nice about it. So instead of my usual blurb, I will just post her 5 star review. My dearest American buddies, a few more reviews would make my day. Thanking you in advance. Here is the review of Australia, Morocco, and Thailand. Three True Travel Stories:

A belly laugh from start to finish!

Some young folks hit the backpacker trail to gain self-enlightenment and seek spiritual awareness and save the world. With admirable honesty, the author admits that (at twenty-one) he was looking for fun, with the emphasis on avoiding boredom, staying drunk, and getting laid. Not surprisingly, he had more luck in the first two areas than in the third.

Don’t make the mistake of dismissing this as a stoned-and-stupid Spring Break saga. This man is a professional writer and a damned good one, and he knows how to tell a story. He also has a keen eye for the absurd, even when he’s looking in the mirror. The first (and longest) section recounts an adventure in Australia when he and three friends try to earn traveling money picking pears. Unfortunately, the beautiful farm of his imagination (think A TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL) turns out to be an “outback gulag” and the friendly, generous rural inhabitants consist of a hostile, dishonest farm owner and a pair of hard-working (and hard-drinking) Albanians.

The second story involves getting stranded in the Atlas Mountains during rainy season and taking a hair-raising ride back to civilization (or closer, anyway) in a van packed with Berber tribesmen. Why are the windows covered? “Il est preferable de ne pas regarder.” (It’s better not to look.) The third finds our hero living in Bangkok with his American-educated Thai fiancee Nim where he experiences a strange (typically Thai) overthrow of the government. The Prime Minister is unpopular, so the military steps in, sends the police home, the King okays the deal, and Happy Hour goes on. (That was in 2006 and the former PM is still in exile, but his sister is now PM!)

My only complaint about the book is that it is far too short and I wasn’t ready for it to end. The author writes science fiction, but I sincerely hope he will take a break soon and give us some more non-fiction. I also think that a snappier title and more interesting cover art would keep this very good book from being overlooked.

Just on the off chance I haven’t linked to my wonderful little book enough here you go:


 

 

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Time lapse video of Earth from space

The Earth. From Space.

The Earth. From Space.

If you are a regular reader you may be aware that I occasionally use the odd superlative, too many swearwords, and am guilty of overusing the phrase ‘awesome’. Well, thanks to a Spanish filmmaker called Fede Castro, you are going to see me massively revert to type. This time lapse video of Earth from space is fucking awesomely brilliant. It uses footage released by NASA’s Johnson Space Center and makes the Earth look ever so pretty.

There are times when I despair about humans (usually religion related) and there are times when I think we are an incredible species striving for knowledge and achieving amazing things (usually science or creativity related). This clip makes me think the latter. Go science.

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Meet Ed.

You know how graphics are getting better and more realistic all the time but people’s faces still look weird? Well, here is how good computer graphics are getting. This is Ed and he will show you how we are progressing with that.

Freaky gifs from Hayden Zezula

I saw these the other day and they were weird enough for me want to share. A graphic artist called Hayden Zezula created these eternal looping bursts of oddness and put them out on twitter. And possibly elsewhere. If you like a weird gif featuring babies and limbs (who doesn’t right?) then you have come to the right place. More can be found on Hayden Zezula’s twitter page (@zolloc).
cdkt2

cdktq

cdkue

cdkus

If you want to see more, Hayden Zezula (@Zolloc) can be found on twitter here:
https://twitter.com/Zolloc?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fio9.com%2Fdont-look-at-these-gifs-unless-you-want-nightmares-abou-1637395461&tw_i=503802792461361153&tw_p=tweetembed

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Real life Japanese Batman – Chibatman

Chibatman!

Chibatman!

Japan has its very own real life Batman – Chibatman. As you can see he looks just like Batman. Sadly he doesn’t solve crimes, he just kind of rides around and cheers people up. His identity is a secret though. Well, except for the fact that he is a 41 year old welder. Also, the police know who he is. Oh, and the video below seems to show his house. Other that, this mysterious crusader patrols the streets of Chiba in Japan (hence Chibatman) exactly like the real Batman. You know what I mean. Here is a hard hitting report from the BBC:

 

 

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Apple releases some stuff!

Iphone 6 and Apple Watch

Iphone 6 and Apple Watch

The 9th of September 2014 was a big day if you are geek like myself. A day I’d been waiting for, for quite a while. Something that promised to be something of a ‘game changer’. That’s right, the $500 million game Destiny was coming out. Happy times. Oh, and Apple released some similar looking phones and a watch.

I did actually follow the Apple release on twitter and Mashable’s live commentary, because it had been so damned hyped. I had read it was going to be a colossal leap forward akin to the invention of TV or spaceflight or even the iPad. As it was, it was all pretty damned predictable. The main thing I took away from it all was that even though I don’t want it, the Apple Watch looked quite pretty.

(I should point out that I am not a fanboy of anything. I simply want the best kit. I am writing this on a Macbook Air and next to me is  my iPad and Note 2.)

What Apple did though, was reluctantly acknowledge that people want choice when it comes to phones. I’m 6 foot 1 and my hand is bigger than most women’s (especially the little ones). So surely there could be some allowance for that without everyone having to pretend that there is a perfect sized phone for everyone? Well finally there is. The great thing Apple has done with the new iPhone is to inform people that bigger phones are ok. This will hopefully stop people whining on about Android phones being too large. Thank you for that.

As for the Apple watch, as I said, it sure looks pretty but what else does it do? From what I can see it does the same as all the other smart watches except it can also tell when you are walking up a hill and you can share your heartbeat with someone else. Brilliant.

With most iPhone users this discussion is moot and fair play to them. They are probably heavily invested in the Apple infrastructure (music, apps, books, etc) and know how to work the operating system. So why change? Don’t. Stick with it and revel in the luxury of choice. Apart from wireless charging, changing the battery, removable SD cards, being waterproof, and so on, you can now do most of what other phones can do. Enjoy. (Sorry for the mild dig, just fooling around.)

Having said all that, I am going to be a bit contrary and say what I think my personal perfect gadget combo would be – a 4g smart watch that can make phone calls (perhaps via a bluetooth ear thing) and notify me about things, an iPad air for all my texts/whatsapp/facebook/quick emails, and a Macbook air for everything else. So no phone at all. Can someone sort that out please?

 

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malfunction by Cyriak – mental but fun.

Having a normal day? Everything a bit sameish? Got a couple of minutes to be weirded out? Good. Then watch this clip called “malfunction” by someone odd on the internet called Cyriak. I found it strangely uplifting. Enjoy.

New windowless planes

I am just a couple of payments away from paying off my private jet, so imagine how annoyed I am that some new planes are set to make mine look like the Amish knocked it up. (Apologies to all my Amish readers – feel free to email your complaints.)

Windowless planes

Windowless planes

The idea the plane boffins have had is to get rid of all the windows and turn the walls into massive screens. This has the benefit of reducing weight (apparently) and making the whole fuselage more structurally sound. Another big benefit is that it looks fucking awesome. Essentially, cameras will film the outside and then project the images on the inside.

People may argue that this might make the metal tube you are in more claustrophobic, but I disagree. Firstly, those windows you get now are crap and unless you have a window seat, you don’t see much anyway. Secondly, we are barely more evolved than monkeys (albeit monkeys that can make shit hot aircraft screens) and our eyes are limited. They could replace the windows with hi-def 3d TV screens now and we wouldn’t notice. I think this will make the trip much more pleasant. In fact, it could be mega exciting. If I had my choice we would be on an alien planet or in space. Like this:

Windowless plane in space!

Windowless plane in space!

Or even better:

We have arrived at our destination, please buckle your seat belts, there may be some turbulence

We have arrived at our destination, please buckle your seat belts, there may be some turbulence

In case I have laboured this subject to death already, here is a video.

IXION Windowless Jet Concept from Technicon Design – France on Vimeo.

 

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It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Its-Always-Sunny-header-its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia-16086951-760-255I’ve moved house and country recently, so have spent the last few months packing and generally getting stressed out. Fortunately, you can pack while watching TV so I have been watching a lot of Netflix – specifically a show called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The show revolves around four characters who own/work in an Irish pub in Philadelphia. In series two they are joined by Danny Devito who raised two of the characters and may be the biological father of another. The first series is great but when Mr Devito joins up things get greater. All five characters are a bit mental/ shallow/ narcissistic/ sociopathic/ just plain a bit fucked up. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been described as ‘Seinfeld on crack’ which I guess is kind of fair given the shallow cynicism of the protagonists and the ludicrous situations that evolve but they are from a very different social spectrum. In one episode, the crack analogy literally happens when two of the characters – Dennis and Dee – decide to start smoking crack just so that they can get benefits. (To give you some idea of the shenanigans they get up to.)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia treads very close to the line of being offensive but remains continuously funny. Unless you are easily offended and lack a sense of humour, in which case just move along. If you have ever written a letter of complaint about a TV show then don’t watch this and do something more meaningful and less whining with your life. For everyone else, prepare for a treat.

Here is a brief intro to the characters:

Dennis Reynolds – a good looking narcissist who gets lots of women but there are moments where what he gets up to are a little disturbing. His DENNIS system of getting women for example, is funny but a little unnerving.

Dee Reynolds – Dennis’s sister. She aspires to be an actress but isn’t really very good. She even gets stage fright which causes her to vomit. Which is funny.

Mac – Dennis’s flatmate and self proclaimed badass. His dad is a convicted drug dealer and he can be a bit of a religious gun nut. Good times.

Charlie – used to be a part owner but sold all of his shares for food and stuff. He now works as a janitor and is often seen sniffing the cleaning supplies. He is also semi literate and semi stalks a local waitress.

Frank Reynolds – Dennis and Dee’s legal father and possibly Charlie’s real dad. Great at business but a bit dodgy. At times, very dodgy. (The Devito character.)

I would mention some classic moments but there are just too many. Although the characters are all a bit on the negative/dark side, you kind of like them. They may be semi alcoholic and nearly everyone they meet comes off worse for having done so, but it is so damn funny you forget or forgive most of their behaviour. Where It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia succeeds is getting these strong disparate characters to exacerbate nearly every situation to the point where it is fucking hilarious (and sometimes quite extreme) while remaining believable given their motivations and personalities.

To quote Dennis: “We immediately escalate everything to a ten. … (S)omebody comes in with some preposterous plan or idea, then all of a sudden everyone’s on the gas, nobody’s on the brakes, nobody’s thinking, everyone’s just talking over each other with one idiotic idea after another. Until, finally, we find ourselves in a situation where we’ve broken into somebody’s house – and the homeowner is home.” (I saw that quote on wikepedia and it is a good one, so thanks for that.)

This review has run on longer than I meant it to but I have smiled while writing it. I heartily recommend It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Make sure you keep watching until Danny Devito enters in series two. Then you will be hooked. I am actually a little jealous. Enjoy.

 

 

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Goodbye London!

goodbye_londonWell, the time has come to move on once more. I feel like Bruce Banner, always on the move but without the rage and government agencies after me. (He was the Incredible Hulk in case you missed the reference.) Or the Littlest Hobo but without being a dog. Or – whatever. I get restless and need to move occasionally.

While it is fun to change scene/city/country/continent there is always an element of melancholy as you are leaving friends and possibly even family behind. When I was younger and moving to Australia or Hong Kong or wherever, it was a bit worse as flights were longer and there was no internet and people are shite at writing letters. Now it isn’t quite so bad. Thanks Facebook, you are keeping me in touch everyone (and in return here is all my personal data). Also email and Skype and all that stuff. The modern world is bloody marvel.

It is with sadness that I leave but also some excitement. Working in TV with a bit of freelance writing on the side was great and it paid for a degree and a shiny new pair of lasered eyes. But I find writing full time more satisfying and London is too goddamned expensive. So I am returning to a life of journalism, while focusing on my legendary websites. I will also be working on more kindle books, which is ridiculously good fun and is already making me an increasing amount of money.

So I bid you farewell London and all my wonderful friends and family. I will only be 12 hours away by plane or a few seconds by a click of a mouse. I will visit lots. If all goes well maybe I will spend half my time there and the other half in the tropics. (Now is a good moment to buy one of my books, by the way.) It all depends on numerous factors and most importantly, what Mrs Word of Ward wants to do. She is in charge after all.

So cheers, London and farewell Blighty! I will see you soon but for now – mine’s a Beer Chang.

 

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Moving abroad – the final countdown

Well, it’s all happening here at the Word of Ward. In 10 days from now, on the 18th, I am undergoing a continent/country/career/lifestyle change. I am mentioning this not to gloat but just explain why blog entries maybe be a bit more haphazard over the next couple of weeks. And also to gloat. I plan to quit my half writer, half TV existence and become pure writer. There is a lot of opportunity out there on the interweb for someone who can vaguely string a sentence together, so it seems like a fun experiment to try and make a living doing that.

Writing on a beach. That's the dream.

Writing on a beach. That’s the dream.

Obviously the best place to try such an experiment is in a hot country with nice beaches,  and cheaper beer. All you need is an internet connection. I intend to put a lot more hours into my websites as well because the pittance I make from them cover the costs of hosting but are hardly helping toward my cocktail on a beach fund. I also intend to release more fiction on kindle and enter stories in competitions and magazines. And of course, there is always the freelance journalism which pays the bills and can be a lot of fun – but can also be quite restricting and frustrating.

So bear with me. I am still here. And soon I will be there.

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Assassin’s Creed real life Parkour

If you have ever played Assassin’s Creed for hours then left the house, you sometimes find yourself looking at real life buildings to assess easy access to rooftops or cool things to run over. This subconscious analysis gets even stronger when you visit cities that feature in the games and you suddenly realise that you know your way around and that the easiest way to get to where you want to be is to climb a certain wall, run across the roofs of several buildings then dive into a river and hey presto, you’re there.

The crushing reality I felt when I visited places like Rome, Venice, and Florence was that even though it was pretty damned cool that I could navigate between some major sites based purely upon a game, I would probably injure myself just trying to jump over a small wall. Happily, while that would be the case for most of us, it is not true for practitioners of Parkour – that amazing sport/hobby/boastful exercise thing where people jump over street objects in an impressive manner.

Finally, someone has linked these two strands together and proved that Assassin’s Creed could definitely happen. (Although maybe not the ‘leap of faith into some straw’ bit if you have played the game.)

So if you like Assassin’s Creed or Parkour then you should enjoy this 3 minute clip set in Paris. It all looks pretty easy actually although the video shows that it is probably still quicker to take the bus.

 

Joaquin Phoenix’s Forehead

Sorry, I know it is puerile and stupid but this clip has been circling the web a lot recently and the world has been an increasingly grim place of late. So for just a minute, tilt your head to the left, watch this clip, marvel at the strange little face that appears on Joaquin Phoenix’s forehead and forget about things briefly. A word of warning – you will never look at Joaquin Phoenix the same way again. Or his forehead.

 

 

 

Nice in France

Dear Internet,

Sorry I haven’t written in ages but I was moving house and then had a delightful couple of weeks in the south of France. But I am back in London now and will soon be returning to the drudgery of work and a normal existence. I will be writing a lot more from that point on, I promise. Our first stop was Nice, which is no misnomer. In fact the city could be called Bloody Lovely and it would still hold true. We then went to Antibes, Aix-en-Pronce, Chateauneuf-de-Pape, Avignon, then Paris. With a few little stops in places like Eze and Monaco.

Here’s a picture of what some of it looked like:

The Cote d'Azur

The Cote d’Azur 

As you can see, it was bloody lovely and hence not a lot of writing got done. I should also add that a glass of wine in that part of the world is cheaper than mineral water or coffee, so I was half drunk a lot of the trip. We were on a budget you see…

So prepare yourselves for an explosion of shallow stuff as The Word of Ward returns to business. Tonight I am seeing Monty Python live and tomorrow we are off to Hyde Park to see Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Faith No More, and so on. Then it is back to business.

Please bear with me for this difficult period.

Yours affectionately,

The Word of Ward

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RIP Rik Mayall

Rik Mayall in the Young ONes

Rik Mayall in the Young Ones

I just wanted to say a quick goodbye to Rik Mayall. I would find it hard to add the hours I have spent watching him on TV but it would be a hell of a lot. I suspect his passing will revive a lot of fond memories in those of a slightly older generation. We generation X-ers grew up with Rik Mayall on our TV playing anarchic manic characters and although the characters were vastly different, they were all very definitely him. He seemed to dominate my TV from when I was 10 and he was in the Young Ones, through to the mid-90s when he was in Bottom and The New Statesman. I know he did a lot of stuff before and after but this was the period when he was almost permanently on my TV and his humour perfectly matched my own. Even more so once VHS boxsets came out and I could watch the shows repeatedly.

My personal favourites that deserve particular mention are: Rik – the anarchist student obsessed with Cliff Richard, the awesome Captain Flasheart in Blackadder on whom I modeled my 20s, the legendary and highly accurate portrayal of the politician Alan B’stard on whom I may model my 40s, and Richard Richard who lived in a squalor in London that was a replica of nearly every flat I have lived in until I got married.

Although some of his humour may be a bit puerile or over the top, he brought me some of my favourite TV when I was young and I thought he deserved a mention and my thanks. I feel a New Statesman binge coming on. RIP Rik Mayall.

rik-mayall

 

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Turns out I’m an apathetic non-voting scumbag

I want to vote, I really do. Unfortunately, like a lot of the apathetic bloody populace these days, I don’t. There was a load of local and European elections in the UK recently and I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for any of the main parties. I actively distrust them all and don’t want to risk voting for a lesser political evil when the party involved might actually win and then invade an oil filled country a year later or starve pensioners or lead us to a scenario where no one will ever be able to afford a house ever again or… you get the idea.

I think everyone should have a vote – that’s a given. Everyone who chooses to side with a party and wants them to lead their country should be able to have a say. Democracy is a pretty bollocks system really, but it is by far the best we humans have come up with and I will fight for people to able to have their say. Probably not to the death, but pretty damned close.

I think I just increasingly dislike the generation of politicians who have made politics their career. They rarely seem to me to be arguing for what they genuinely believe should be happening in the country, they seem more concerned with getting one up on their rival politicians and furthering their career. They are more concerned with the politics of government than actually governing.

I don’t know why I have strayed from my usual inane fun this entry. I apologise. I think it is a combination of all the shiny politicians on TV, the fact that it is my birthday next week and I am getting increasingly grumpy, and a concern for all my friends and family in my former home of Thailand (and future) where democracy is really going through the ringer. In Thailand various failed power plays have caused people become so entrenched in two opposing political parties that the army staged a coup to try and get everyone a fair vote. On the same day in the UK, UKIP suddenly made huge gains because people were so fed up with the similar shite spouted from the main two parties that they either voted for UKIP or lay in bed in resigned apathy. In both cases, people in power craved more power and it backfired. Which is a good thing if it then leads to change. Sadly I don’t think that will happen.

The final reason is that I was reminded of a superb quote from George Orwell’s 1984. One of my favourite books. It got me thinking in a pointless and futile way and also gave me an excuse for a great quote on power. I shall stop whining now and leave you with Mr Orwell.

 

1984

1984

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.” ? George Orwell, 1984

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Deadly snakes that could kill babies at large in North London!

NatureLittle did I know that I, as a North Londoner, have been living with the threat of DEADLY KILLER probably EVIL, RABID snakes for years. These things are 8 foot long and can kill babies and may or may not be able to fly. Apparently it has gotten to the point  where my own borough of Camden is talking about culling the slithering menace and I am only just hearing about it now.

Panic damn you!

Ok, I am being slightly alarmist here but that is because I have just read a load of news reports that are being massive dicks about the whole thing. Here is one such headline:

“Deadly eight-foot snakes that can kill cats and dogs invade London.” (http://travel.aol.co.uk/2014/05/10/deadly-eight-foot-snakes-found-london-regents-canal/)

Here is another one:

“Snakes capable of crushing small children to death at large in London” (http://www.independent.ie/world-news/snakes-capable-of-crushing-small-children-to-death-at-large-in-london-30262994.html)

A few points need to be made here.

– Yes the snakes (Aesculpian snakes to be precise) are DEADLY – but to rats and birds and so on. All carnivores are deadly in that they make other animals die. So you should also be afraid of DEADLY pussy cats and DEADLY little birdies and DEADLY moles, etc. (Especially moles, they just look weird.)

– They have invaded in the sense that they are not native to the UK. According to the newspaper reports, they originate from Yugoslavia which is no longer even a place. So they have been living here a while just getting on with things, although I am sure that still infuriates Daily Mail snake lovers.

– They live mostly on rats and small birds. Technically they can strangle small animals but as London is chock full of rats, why bother eating Mr Tiddles? As one paper pointed out – large snakes have been known to attack small dogs or babies but as this has never happened in London and after decades of them lurking around, I feel ok. Birds and rats have been known to attack kids too, so maybe this will balance out.

– The main concern about the babies being attacked comes from one quote from one person that I have seen repeated in several papers and online magazines (including the two above). They all use the exact same wording as if simply copied and pasted by some lazy bastard who can’t be arsed to do better research. Here is the copied and pasted quote:

Mum-of-three Sylvia Taylor, 33, told the Daily Star: “If they are capable of killing small animals then surely they could constrict small children?”‘

Great stuff. I have a degree in English and one part of my studies involved linguistic analysis. So having skilfully dissected the above statement I can reveal it is slightly misleading. She is actually asking a question not telling them something. Her hypothetical question is not answered but that doesn’t stop the question turning into an implication that is consequently used as a chilling headline.

I grew up in Asia and snakes are fine. Especially non-aggressive non-poisonous ones that eat rats. Leave them alone.

On the other hand I could be wrong! Be afraid! Think of the children! Next article: ‘Moody Geese from France are here to break your children’s legs.’

Regent's Canal, Camden. Right now! (Allegedly)

Regent’s Canal, Camden. Right now! (Allegedly)

 

 

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