April 28, 2009

Ever Wonder What All Those People Are Texting To Each Other?

Oh, this is so awful. And hysterical.

Hysterical and awful.

April 27, 2009

Sometimes It Ends Well

Swine Flu

I was watching the news last night, and caught interviews with travelers who were intent - content, even - with carrying on with their plans to head to Mexico. In light of the Swine Flu stuff going on, I thought they were mildly insane.

Personally, I will not go to Mexico unless they stop letting tourists get murdered and doing nothing about it. I have a problem with that. We all should. But with the entire world now on alert with a flu outbreak, well, a drug-crazed whacko ransacking your room and shooting you as you stumble back in at night full of mudslides, sporting Bo Derek braids and sunburn on your sensitive bits, now, those odds do seem a bit better. At least you can see the thug.

I caught flack a few years back for agreeing that we needed to be on alert for the bird flu. It is a real threat; the medical world has been telling us for years it's not if, it's when, and quite frankly, the media can't win. If they don't make a big deal of it and it is, they were wrong. If they do and it doesn't happen, they're crying wolf.

Because my father caught one of those antibiotic- resistant bugs when he was dying, I learned a great deal very quickly about the world of microbes. Laurie Garrett has written several books - she's brilliant. Forget waiting for the media to spoon feed you assorted bits - check for yourself, make up your own mind.

Arm yourself with knowledge, make your own decisions. You can't lock yourself away and stick your head under a pillow forever, but you can definitely make some choices that are wiser than others. Listeriosis here in Canada killed a few dozen people who did the risky decision to eat baloney. Remember all those federal programs that are supposed to keep our meat safe? Sure you do.

Remember when nobody believed big banks could fail? How about the auto industry? Unthinkable, right? I've decided the big poops who have consistently told me they have all the answers, don't.

There are decisions you can make for yourself. And if getting on a plane and flying into a hot zone of an unknown killer flu is something you're comfortable with, well, have at it. It's one way to make sure you don't lose your money, I guess.

Laughing on Monday

I've linked before to this writer's work at a blog site called Open Salon. Salon itself is an online mag, Open Salon is where they fleece some of their readers by having them post for free.

Most of the posts are worth what was paid for them. There are a couple of gems in there, however, and Deven, posting under Tequila & Donuts is one of them. She writes about her mom. I'm going to link to interview sessions she did with her mother and her friends at the senior's home where she lives. Part One, and Part Two.

On the same site, but in a totally different way, Knightwriter is also awesome. Scroll through any of his stuff, but here's a start.

April 25, 2009

Susan Boyle

Oh, jeezus. You may have noticed I pretty much never comment on the ludicrous crap that passes for popular culture these days. I've never mentioned American Idol, or Survivor, or Lindsay Lohan, or how desperate the housewives are. I just don't care, and fueling the fire can only lead to more ludicrous crap. And it has; there are bazillions of websites devoted to this nonsense. I have thus far refused to be Satan's pawn.

But, man, all this squawking about Susan Boyle has headed into overdrive, and I have a comment.

She's the wonder from Scotland that made everyone all weepy when she sang for Simon Cowell. She was presumably too ugly to live, but turned out to be alright enough to sing. Now, she's taking it on all sides because she had a 'makeover'. I don't need to give you a link - open your front door and you'll trip over one.

She's had the audacity, after she's had something like 20 million hits on Youtube for her prowess in winning over an audience who were rude and judgmental, to get a little scrub up.

Listen. If you go from nobody taking your picture unless you get arrested, to having the world's press assault you from every angle, you'd get a little prettier too. She got a hairdo. She got her brows plucked. She ditched her brocade dress for a leather jacket. Hell, that sounds exactly like something I'd do. Because I did.

Okay, I never wore brocade. But for the most part, I sit in my kitchen wearing torn out old army pants and my son's hoodies. When I suddenly had to have my picture in the paper, I started getting my hair cut 3 times a year instead of once. I still hack away - near-sightedly - at my bangs on my own every few weeks. And come on, I get a handful of people seeing my pic - Susan is getting 20 million. And the word is that people are turning on her? Really?

So the woman has the voice of a lark and eyebrows that look like caterpillars. If we hadn't turned the music industry into the soul-sucking crapfest it is (video killed the radio star, indeed), she needn't have bothered to buff it up, unless she wanted to for herself. But as long as we keep demanding that every damned artist be pretty enough, or commercial enough, or stylish enough to even get through the door, I say back off.

Why on earth aren't they picking on the no-talents who are *only* pretty? Seriously. Good looking people are like shark's teeth - there will forever be another row ready to move up as needed. Has anyone accidentally flipped on that monstrosity, The Apprentice? Explain to me Joan Rivers' face, please. Then explain why her daughter, looks exactly like her plastic, creepy mother. My mom and I used to go shopping together all the time. Just not for new faces.

There has been much reportage that people are mean, and that Susan Boyle was judged harshly for her looks. There has been foot shuffling and feel-good tears as she defied the naysayers and stood her ground as she opened her mouth. They loved her!

And now they don't! She's not dumpy enough anymore!

Man, are we mean. What kind of message are our kids getting from all of this?

Geography, Anyone?

Though you should be outside snuffing out the life of errant dandelions, I found this fun feature on The Guardian that might pull you from your duties.

You can click on any country on the map, and get a nice thumbnail of relevant stats and facts.

I thought I'd just give Canada the once-over, then saw Iceland (I'm reading an article on their current implosion in VF right now - OMG, it's astounding), then Mongolia (where I missed a Land Rover trip when I was doing the Maritime-in-an-RV-thing last summer - boo), and well, on and on. It's not quite as addictive as this game - I'm warning you. You will muck with this all day, and dandelions will go unpulled. It's tests your knowledge of where things are around the world - I just love the way the little arrows fling themselves about.

Be careful; you might learn something. Actually, it's worth bookmarking the Guardian link. I like being able to check out some instant background on things that pop up in the news - this is a handy guide.

And no, Roz, I am not queen of the nerds.

April 23, 2009

Politicans and Pirates

I was reading this excellent interview that Lynda Hurst from The Star conducted with Joshua Cooper Ramo the other day. Nah, I didn't know who he was either. But the man has done a mighty fine job of explaining perhaps the main reason our world is going to hell. And not just behind our backs, but with a healthy assist from our sorely misguided ways.

"What's happening today is that our intentions don't just fail, they backfire on us," says the Beijing-based geo-strategy analyst. "We deliver the opposite of what we intend because we so misunderstand the way the system now works."

Politicians, economists, religious leaders, everyone. Grand bang-ups because everything - everything - has changed. And his warning? It will now continue to change at warp speed. There is no going back, and we are seriously deluded if we believe it might. Victors will be those who process information immediately, change focus and turn ship in the blink of an eye. It's like if Darwin met up with Captain Kirk. And if he has in some episode, I never watched that show, so don't remind me.

As I was mulling over this concept (and trying to gauge how quickly I could process the ideas), I read the latest missive from my favourite Vanity Fair contributor, William Langewiesche. He's written on the Somali pirates. As always, it's a riveting piece.

But. I tripped over this part, as Langewiesche describes the behaviour of these pirates who have been repeatedly represented in the press as ragtag cutthroats:

"A warship coming at you is supposed to present an intimidating sight. But it was as if the pirates inhabited a different dimension from that of the governments confronting them. With nothing but a group of French nationals as a shield, they were enjoying meals, going back and forth between ship and shore, and negotiating directly with the Saadés in Marseille, as if the French Navy did not even exist. The pattern was unusually frustrating to French authorities, as more recent piracy cases have been to American, Russian, and Chinese authorities. It raised disturbing questions about the relevance of governments and the exercise of power. More specifically, a suspicion crept in that these pirates knew exactly what they were doing, and that they understood the forces at play with more sophistication than had been assumed."

And the interview with Ramo came back. This is a perfect example of what he's talking about - that people we think will know what to do, don't. And perhaps its long past time that we look to someone - anyone - to lead. We're going to need people who have developed their views outside of the political process, which has become so corrupt and inbred that parties matter little, and promises matter less.

It's also time we quit feeding ourselves a steady stream of McNews and garbage because we're too lazy to realize that Hollywood is entertainment, Nancy Grace is a moron, CNN can only write headlines, and our newscasts have been reduced to 40% content about the local weather which we can figure out for ourselves by opening the damned door.

The Hurst piece is eye-opening; the pirate one is a fabulous read. It's the weekend - what else are you gonna do?

Found this the day after I wrote the above. In Salon. More commentary on how to (not) handle the pirate problem. Where's Johnny Depp when you need him?

Amen, Brother

This from the New Yorker - funny, funny, funny. If you've tender sensibilities, give it a miss. But I know none of you do.

Long Time No Hear...

Oh. I know it's been ages since I blogged when the Blogger thingee forgets me and makes me sign in again. I am too old to keep remembering passwords.

I have been running around like an idiot, and am just getting caught up now. I have been thrashing Porsches around Mosport - which, yeah, is just as much fun as it sounds. Probably more. For anyone who doesn't follow racing stuff (which would include me), Mosport is in Bowmanville just east of Toronto. It is third fastest track in the world, and a really, really world class venue. We got to drive it with a full line up of Porsches - very, very fun, and very, very fast. Articles will run next Saturday in the Star.

I was lucky enough to speak to a club out in the Caledonia/Hagersville area a couple of days ago. The Daffodil Ladies are over 200 strong, and turned out in force to listen to me speak about my Dad. A farming community, they knew more about the stuff I was talking about than I did. It was a blast - and I have to tell you, church ladies cooking is still tops.

I have lots of catching up - I'll toss things in today and tomorrow, some great links you of course must read. Because I told you to.

I know, I know.

April 16, 2009

Well, If It's Mistakes You're After...

...I may have found my niche!

Mark Bittman, food writer for the NYT, takes on cooking shows. He's weary of the 'perfect' results we see, with no regard for the bung ups, the un-real time displacement of events, and the handy cast of hundreds that are behind every successful TV cook. Or chef. Or star. Or whatever.

Oh, he is so right. Why don't they show the bloody fingers? The stuff slopped on the floor? The fact I can't break an egg without adding all the shelly bits to the mix? My son lines up little dishes along the back of the cutting board, just like they do on TV. He has a great knife, and he chops well. He reads a recipe to the end first, and makes sure we have everything needed. Now, there's a thought.

I draw the line at his practicing the flipping things in the air. To do this, you need supreme confidence, full commitment to the process, and a mother not standing behind you yelping 'don't get it all over the stove!'. Ever been on a trampoline? Remember how you were taught to stop bopping up and down, just bend you knees? Well, my omelets bend their knees halfway up. Splat.

Bittman laments that for all the creative ideas these shows may offer, they fail miserably by simultaneously creating unachievable results. These cookbook hucksters screw things up just like we do - but we can't cut to commercial.

Julia Child is quoted as saying the best thing about cooking is that you can eat your mistakes. She used to famously flop once in awhile, and just get on with it. To be fair, Julia Child's worst days would far outdistance my best ones in the kitchen, but I like her point.

I watch food shows, but mostly as sport. That Iron Chef one is a hoot - I like watching people try to make garlic ice cream or tuna daiquiris. But Bittman is right - it's a drag to watch the perfection played out before you, and the only place my cynicism usually leads is to the takeout menus.

Now, think if I had a cooking show. Think how fabulous everyone would feel. I would leave in all the car wrecks, work with no assistants, and do it all in real time.

Cooking With No Net.


April 15, 2009

'Tis The Season

So, my sister Roz has a big deck off her second story bedroom. She likes this deck. So do the raccoons that congregate and get to know each other intimately every spring.

As if the wailing and flailing of copulating raccoons wasn't insult enough, they leave behind a lot of crap. No, not beer cans and old condoms - actual crap.

The only way to deal with it is for her husband to venture out with a shovel, a bag and a nose plug. Well, there are probably other ways to do it, but this is the way Roz deals with it. So her Poor Bugger (ha! let the haters get on that nickname!) fastidiously cleans the deck, bleaches the yucky parts, and puts down Raccoonaway or something to discourage them. I suggested they take out the mood lighting and the flip out sofa they have out there...

And, they're back. She started Googling (my sister, not the raccoon) to find a way to get rid of them. She sent me this link, which had me howling. You see, my father used to take care of raccoons (and skunks and squirrels) his own way. Farmboy way. He called everything varmints, and though we live in the downtown core, he had a .22 he used to dispatch anything he didn't like. And leg hold traps. I know, I know, pure evil. Call PETA. But now I'm pretty nice to squirrels, so I'm making up for it. We even know them - Tripod (3 legs), a little grey one with white ears and a white tummy that the Poor Sod announced must be a girl, and a black one with a red tail we decided is a hairdresser.

Advice from the site: "In the fall, shoot them and eat them, and make a hat out of their skins. (Get a hunting or trapping license first) At least cars help control them a little." I dunno about that licence part. But it's kind of them to suggest it, as if everything else they're doing is totally fine.

We had a raccoon here the other night. I came into the kitchen, and flicked on the light. A raccoon was sitting in the window, staring at me. But that's pretty much it on the raccoon watch.

Guess we don't have a romantic enough setting for them.

April 13, 2009

Speaking of Artwork...

If it's Monday, I must be writing. But of course, I've wandered off topic like that one kid on a field trip that always holds up the bus.

I found this site that is providing all sorts of random joy for me. It'll only appeal to some of you - but it's genius in its inspiration. They took Family Circus comics and attached various Nietzsche quotes beneath them.

Family Circus was the first thing I used to read in the newspaper when I started reading. It was in the classified section of the Hamilton Spectator, and I'd fling it open and absorb all that Bill Keane wisdom. How is a 5-year-old supposed to know how gratingly annoying that comic truly is?

I don't read comics anymore. I don't like them. But if a newspaper messes with its comics page (or television listings), they get blasted like you wouldn't believe. It's true: comics, television and horoscopes. Dunno why the rest of us bother.

But all things old are new again with the Nietzsche lines. They say if you wait long enough, everything comes back.

Speaking of that, however, the following are some of the funniest album covers I've ever seen - and I truly don't think they'll be back. Thanks to Nika for sending them. And remember, Ken is by request only. But the Amish lads and their donkey seem to be open to offers.

Mimico Old Boys

Today's Motherlode (click to the left, April 13) took me ages to write - I kept getting all soppy about the subject.

These families are terrific. Do me a favour, take a moment and toss them your vote.

Go here.

April 10, 2009

In Case of Emergency: Do NOT Call Wolf Blitzer

You have to wonder what goes through people's heads.
"Mr. and Mrs. Blitzer - it's a boy!"
"Awesome! Let's name him Wolf!"

We're cleaning, which means we just put the news on and traipse in and out of various rooms, sometimes with the vacuum blaring full blast, sometimes weaving gently to the wheee wheee wheee of the Swiffer jet thing that the Poor Sod purchased for himself. Be quiet. I know.

Anyway, I'm watching the unfortunately named Blitzer try his hardest to get some American sailors killed by Somali pirates. He has assembled some experts on the subject ("I have a Masters in Somali Pirates, with a minor in Small Engine Repair"), who apparently are former naval commanders and the like. And maybe a captain of industry. Anyway, ol' Wolfy keeps asking how much should be paid to the pirates to free the hostages.
"Well, Wolf, that's a delicate question, as you can imagine. We don't want to jeopardize the lives of not just the Captain of this vessel, but the 300 other sailors on board," one of them patiently explained.
"Yeah, I know, but how much do you think you'd pay?" asked the willfully stupid Blitzer. I picture a bunch of Somali pirates huddled around a superduper radio, or more likely a laptop, listening carefully before they use their pricing gun to affix an orange sticker to the forehead of the captain they have tied to a chair.

"Well, gentlemen, we've established that ransoms have been paid in the past..." continued Mr. Spritzer, "so, how much you think this time?" I think the camera cut away before his in-studio guest punched him in the neck.
"We have paid ransoms, and it would be ludicrous to compare the value of a cargo against that of a human life," said Mr. Captain of Industry. I'm surprised he could speak with his teeth clenched so tightly.
"Well, I suppose we still aren't ruling out a surprise storming of the ship, right?" asked Wolf. Which I'm sure wrecked the surprise, if there was one.
"It's difficult, as you can imagine," replied an expert, who would make an excellent preschool teacher. "There's a housing over the bridge of the ship, and we are unable to determine how the captain is being held, if he's tied after his escape attempt, how many pirates there are, and what their weaponry is," he finished.
"Well, hey, wouldn't now be the time for the Navy Seals to swim up from underneath the ship and perform a rescue?" asked Wolf. I kid you not. This is what he said.

I turned on the vacuum.

April 9, 2009

Thursday Live@5:30

Are the kids all right? Some bogus (okay, my words) survey wants us to believe our kids are becoming more traditional in their values.

Which leaves me asking the obvious: when were they actually so bad?

April 5, 2009

Television Kickers & Nit Pickers

We're overdue for a rant, no? Let's begin.

The evil commercial for some yogurt, that starts off with this irritating 'la la, la la, la la la', sung by pixies holding hands with angels. Helium voices do not make me buy yogurt.

Toilet paper ads. Retire the cartoon bears. I have never, ever had toilet paper stick to my arse. I do not know anyone who has suffered this indignity. I asked around. Which means in other areas of my life, I have no dignity. Oh, and renaming toilet paper? Cashmere? Cashmere is for sweaters. Do not poach this name for toilet paper. You are making us envision wiping our butts with wool. And we only buy the stuff that's on sale anyway, as long as it's got 2 plies and isn't made from sandpaper.

Cracker Barrel Cheese. Gentling assuring us they only use hormone and antibiotic-free milk to make their cheese. Listen carefully to their ad - all cheese in Canada is made from hormone and antibiotic-free milk. Stop making me think of hormone and antibiotic-laden cheese. And, we buy the cheese that's on sale, as long as it isn't made from sandpaper.

Shamwow Man got busted with a prostitute. Ha, ha, ha. Mr. Shamwow has to pay for it. Actually, I believe this. Can you imagine voluntarily being in bed with a guy who suddenly yells out "Shamwow!"? I told the Poor Sod there was something off about that guy, who happens to be his hero. Perhaps I should go have a little talk with the Poor Sod.

Boston Pizza. Please, remove the creepy family with the glasses. It was horrible the first time round, and it's worse this time out. Using CGI to manipulate the mouth of a toddler is disturbing. And knowing he's going to grow up like his siblings, who you know just get beat up every day at school, is even worse. Parents like these should be gently corrected in their ways, not celebrated.

Moving right along...

I am perplexed, as I write this. About ten years ago, I lost my entire back lawn to grubs. It's a big yard. It was a lot of grubs. It remained a dirt pit, with random wisps of pathetic grass until I could afford to fix it. One of the boys brought home a friend at the time from a far more affluent family. This kid stared out our back doors, and said "wow, what happened out there?". He felt sad for his poor friend who couldn't afford grass.

After that, I had a lawn place do Merit grub protection each year. It's the only poison I use. We don't use any pesticides, we over seed and pull weeds by hand. But grubs don't play by the rules, and I'm too chicken to test the Grub Gods again.

My lawn place called this week.
Them: "Hi! You ready for your Merit treatment this year?"
Me: "Well, yeah, but that's in July. In the heat of the summer, at that precise time the grubs hatch or launch or whatever it is grubs do. And then I have to water every day for a week to make it effective, just like you've taught me. I have to abandon vacation plans to stay home to water."
Them: "Well, actually, the government is banning all pesticides as of April Something, so we're doing it earlier this year."
Me: "But you've told me for a decade that it's only effective in the full heat of summer, and then watered religiously." I look very perturbed at this point.
Them: "Well, this is a special formula, that will time release at the right time, so you don't have to worry."
Me: "You're telling me the grubs know about the provincial pesticide ban, and will conveniently rearrange their schedules and physiological makeup to accommodate a magic new and improved poison?"
Them: "Yeah!"
Me: "No!"

I don't believe them. Anybody out there know anything about this? I'm sick of getting ripped off by convenient answers to difficult questions.

Mike Danton. Can this story get any more disturbing? He's already back in a Canadian prison after serving several years in an American one after being found guilty of trying to hire a hitman to kill his coach and mentor, the incredible creepshow known as David Frost.

And he's reconciled with Frost. What kind of magic stun dust does Frost sprinkle on his players to make them go along with him? He's a menace. He's a predator. If anyone follows the junior hockey system, you'll know that boys leave home, sometimes as early as age 14 to play on teams they've been drafted to play for. It's the essential step to make it to the pros. The kids live with other families, and during some of the most formative years of a child's life, they are being shaped by others. They can be clear across the country. For every superstar you read about, there are hundreds, if not thousands, more who end up bitter if they're lucky, broken if they're not. Walt Poddubny - remember him? Hockey owes these kids better, and anyone who supports the system needs to look at kids like Stanton and question whom we entrust our children to, at any cost.

Off to do yard work. And look for grubs.

April 4, 2009


Had a question in Blame it on Lorraine asking me computer questions.

Not a pro at this stuff, folks. In fact, I rely on others. The question was whether I recommend a Mac or PC. Depends on what you want to use it for, how much you want to pay, and what you're comfortable with. I know people that swear by Macs. I use a PC.

I rely on Computer Corner here in Burlington for my computer shopping. They're awesome, honest and reasonable. They'll help you assemble what you need, you come home and plug it in, and you're off.

I won't buy one from any of the places that paper your mailbox with their ads. You know who the culprits are. The problem is that, if you're like me, you don't know what it is you're buying. They list all this stuff, but that doesn't mean it's what you need. And when you go to ask for help, you know you're getting a line of crap. I know this; my kid worked at one of the big shops, and they made him a 'computer expert' after his second day on the job. Now, he's a smart kid, and quite computer savvy, but come on - no way was he a computer expert.

I hate the pressure to buy the extended protection plans at these places. They're bogus, especially on the Macs. Do your homework. They cost hundreds of dollars. My general rule of thumb? No extended warranties on anything. They're a rip. You want to buy them, go ahead. But dig around, and most respected advice says to save your money.

I won't buy used or reconditioned computers. They aren't worth anything. Period. If you have a bunch of expertise yourself, have at it. But for the average non-computer pro, it's not worth the hassle. Especially the criminal amounts some places charge for reconditioned stuff.

Don't be duped by shops that say they don't work on commission. Future Shop and Best Buy are owned by the same parent company. One works on commission, the other doesn't. But don't be fooled - the kids are pressured to make sales quotas, not technically 'commission', but the pressure is extreme on them to close the sale.

I like small independents (like mine) because you buy what you need. Discuss your needs, and have a machine built based on that. Why pay for a bunch of stuff you'll never use?

Now. A bunch of you will tell me you I don't know what I'm talking about. But that's the whole point. I've bought enough computers that I finally have it down to an art. I can't afford for my computer to be down for even a day - and I can't afford to pay for a bunch of stuff I don't need, or a bunch of someone else's problems.

Ask around to people you know who are careful with their money, and are happy with the machines they have. Flavour of the Month buyers are of no use to you - most of us expect a computer to be capable of lasting more than 6 months, and have no interest in replacing it constantly.

That is my computer message.

April 3, 2009

Civil War Buffs?

Excellent 5 part series wrapped up today in the NYT.

Filmmaker Errol Morris has chased down the story of a Union soldier killed at Gettysburg, and unidentified until a single picture of his children led to a string of events that finally gave him a name.

Morris continued his search for the story of his life - perfect read for a rainy weekend.

April 2, 2009

Dunno if anyone I work for/with/near reads this, but this clip alternates between funny, prophetic, and than just nestles into sad....

Looking For Love

I don't know if I'm allowed to just C&P the following from this article, but I am anyway. I just sat here spilling tea all over myself I was laughing so hard. A gathering of favourite personal ads from the London Review of Books, via David Rose in the Guardian:

I celebrated my fortieth birthday last week by cataloguing my collection of bird feeders. Next year I'm hoping for sexual intercourse. And a cake. Join my invite mailing list at box no. 6831. Man

If intense, post-fight sex scares you, I'm not the woman for you (amateur big-boned cage wrestler, 62). Box no. 8744.

My last seven adverts in this column were influenced by the early catalogue of Krautrock band, Paternoster. This one, however, is based entirely around the work of Gil Scott-Heron. Man, 32. Possibly the last person you want to be stood next to at a house-party you've been dragged along to by a friend who wants to get off with the flatmate of the guy whose birthday it is. Hey! Have you ever heard Boards of Canada? They're amazing; I'll burn you a CD. Box no. 3178.

Meet the new face of indoor bowling! More or less the same as the old face, but less facial hair and better teeth. M, 28. Box no. 3377.

The celebrity I resemble the most is Potsie from Happy Days. What feels so right can't be wrong. Man, 46. Box no. 2480.

Mentally, I'm a size eight. Compulsive-eating F, 52, WLTM man to 25 for whom the phrase 'beauty is only skin-deep' is both a lifestyle choice and a religious ethos. Box no. 5115.

I vacillate wildly between a number of archetypes including, but not limited to, Muriel Spark witticism-trading doyenne, Mariella Frostrup charismatic socialite, brooding, intense Marianne Faithful visionary, and kleptomaniac Germaine Greer amateur upholsterer and ladies' league darts champion. Woman, 43. Everything I just said was a lie. Apart from the bit about darts. And kleptomania. Great tits though. Box no. 2236.

Philanthropy is my middle name. It's just a name though so don't be expecting any free rides. You can call me Mr Wallace. My first name is none of your business. Applications to box no. 9741.

I have a mug that says 'World's Greatest Lover'. I think that's my referees covered. How about you? Man. 37. Bishopsgate. Box no. 8763

If clumsy, unfeeling lust is your bag, write to the ad above. Otherwise write to me, mid-forties M with boy next door looks, man from U.N.C.L.E. charm, and Fresh Prince of Bel Air casual insouciance. Wikky wikky wick yo. Box no. 2851.

All humans are 99.9% genetically identical, so don't even think of ending any potential relationship begun here with 'I just don't think we have enough in common'. Science has long since proven that I am the man for you (41, likes to be referred to as 'Wing Commander' in the bedroom). Box no. 3501.

Normally on the first few dates I borrow mannerisms from the more interesting people I know and very often steal phrases and anecdotes from them along with concepts and ideas from obscure yet wittily-written books. It makes me appear more attractive and personable than I actually am. With you, however, I'm going to be a belligerent old shit from the very beginning. That's because I like you and feel ready to give you honesty. Belligerent old shit (M, 53). Box no. 6378.

They call me Mr Boombastic. You can call me Monty. My real name, however, is Quentin. But only Mother uses that. And Nanny. Monty is fine, though. Anything but Peg Leg (Shrewsbury Prep, 1956, 'Please don't make me do cross-country, sir'). Box no. 0473.

All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you. And a five-door saloon (fully air-con). And minimum income of £55K per annum. And two holidays a year (Latin America plus one other of my choosing). If you can meet these requirements, apply to 'Evil Dragon Lady, Breaker of Men's Constitutions' (37), box no. 3685.

You're a brunette, 6', long legs, 25-30, intelligent, articulate and drop dead gorgeous. I, on the other hand, have the looks of Herve Villechaize and an odour of wheat. No returns and no refunds at box no. 3321.

If I could be anywhere in time right now it would be 17 December 1972. I have my reasons. Man, 57. Box no. 1553.

The usual hyperbole infuses this ad with a whiff of playful narcissism and Falstaffian bathos. But scratch below the surface and you'll soon find that I really am the greatest man ever to have lived. Truly great man, 37. Better than Elvis and Gandhi. You'll never be a genuinely worthy partner, but try anyway by first replying to box no. 7637. Include a full list of qualifications, your aspirations, and a full frontal nude body shot.

When not in my London city office overseeing the day-to-day business of my successful accountancy firm, I can be found leaning inside taxi cabs, spitting wild obscenities and challenging the drivers to fisticuffs. M, 47. We take the direct route home, we don't stop at Belisha beacons and we never - and I mean never - leave the impudence of a box junction unquestioned. Don't expect a tip from box no. 9091.

OMG! This magazine is the shizz. Seriously, dudes. Awesome! LOL! Classics lecturer (M, 48). Possibly out of his depth with today's youth. KTHX! Box no. 2680.

Google-search this: 'Inherited wealth real estate Bentley' - that's me, result 63 of 275. It'll take 0.21 seconds to find me online, but an eternity of heartache in real life. Save time now by writing to box no. 4511, or by just giving up. Mother says you'll never be good enough for me anyway. And you carry the odour of your class.

We've all made mistakes. Mine was a cerise pump during London Fashion Week 2004. Style troubadour, (M, 35). WLTM similar, or appropriately dour fag hag. Box no. 8643.

The toughest decision I ever had to make was choosing between soup and fish in a Brighton café in 1987 (I went for the fish, though later regretted my decision when I discovered the cod had been over-seasoned). Now, however, I'll have to pick one of you delicious women. The selection procedure will involve a four-part interview, along with an aptitude test and multiple-choice questionnaire. Apply now for full details to stupid man, 45. Box no. 6821.

Remember when all this was open fields, and you could go out and leave your door unlocked? Woman, 24. Inherited her mother's unreasonable and utterly unfounded nostalgia (and her father's hirsute back). WLTM barber with fondness for Sherbet Dib-Dabs and Parma Violets. Box no. 8486.

God appeared to me in a dream last night and spoke your name in my ear. He gave me the winning lottery numbers, too, though, so you can understand where my priorities lay when I raced to grab a notebook and pen. Man, 37, living on hope and the next seven weeks' bonus balls seeks woman whose first name begins with S, or maybe F, and rhymes with chicken, and has a surname that's either a place in Shropshire or the title of a 1979 Earth, Wind and Fire track. Shicken Boogiewonderland, I know you're reading this. Write now to box no. 5729.