Auf Wiedersehen Pet II

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The pet death business is larger and stranger than I thought: you can even take a Hoegh Pet Casket Factory Tour in Michigan, Hoegh being the Microsoft of the pet death trade, as this page of special offers shows.

For predictably Teutonic precision about measurements and the various types of pet which would fit into each casket – from XS (hamsters, mice, small birds) to L (large cats/medium to large dogs up to 13kg) see the Kaleidon animal coffin catalogue from Lippstadt in Germany. For those nostalgic for the good old days of coffin manufacture, the Pet Casket Store makes caskets which are “reminiscent of a bygone era”. But then caskets themselves are so last year. If you can’t bear to part with your pet’s mortal coil, Anthony Eddy’s Wildlife Studio offers the “largest Freeze-dry service in North America”. ‘Wildlife’ seems an odd word to use to describe freeze-dried cats, which makes me wonder whether Eddy’s original idea for a business took an unexpected but profitable turn.

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Aufwiedersehen, Pet

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Daniel and I cringe and wonder whether anyone would dream of sending condolences by e-card, in a conversation about the status of email compared to the letter (will we one day buy The Collected Emails of Famous Author X, for example?). Only one way to find out… and the answer is that top of the list comes a pet bereavement e-card, complete with a choice of literary quotations about eternity and the dog, and Haustiertotenlieder embedded as midi-files. If it’s your pet that’s gone before, and you can’t cope, perhaps you need to enrol on the Coping With Pet Loss E-mail Course. But to show grieving friends you really care, send them a ‘more kleenex‘ card.

All of which shows that being able to guess how weird other people are is a good starting point for Googlewhacks (although our version is slightly different – it uses inverted commas, is competitive, and has a complex scoring system). Nonetheless, I would never have guessed the existence of the collocation time porn. Like many other terms at Wordspy, once you’ve heard it, you wonder how you ever lived without it.

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Time to shred your wings

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Another one for the moth-hating community (by popular request): this time the Insect Vac or Moth Killer. It’s not often you read advertising blurb that contains the words ‘attractive’, ‘ornamental’ and ‘quickly shred the insect apart’ in the same paragraph. From the same, exhaustive catalogue (this company just hates insects) an electrified tennis raquet for delivering death by AA battery to anything with wings. The resemblance to a raquet is only coincidental, and you should not be violent with this thing, oh no: “The device is not intended to “swat” at insects”, says the author, “Instead, it is used to “fry” them and all it takes is a gentle touch”, a use of the word gentle which I find more than a little disturbing. Word has it that the RSPB has developed a ‘splatometer’ which you stick on the front of your car to see how many insects of which variety you have slaughtered, thus ending arguments about whether there are less insects about than there used to be. Does anyone argue about that?

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Say IT with flowers

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hollyhock
I rather liked the effect of having random flowers on this otherwise rather stark page, so here comes the hollyhock. I wonder how many people that bought posters of Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers knew how she felt about her subject: “I hate flowers,” she said apparently, “I only paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move”.

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Call yourself a philosopher?

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From the terrific Metafilter comes a link to the Battleground God quiz on The Philosphers Magazine, in which you argue with the server about the existence and nature of God in 17 questions. Contradict yourself in your answers, and you get a screenful of explanation about why and how you are being illogical. Rather more difficult than the Jesus Test. You might need Anthony Weston’s excellent Rulebook for Arguments, which together with the Silva Rhetoricae are my two favourite sites on the net for reliable, old-fashioned learning like grandmother used to make.

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Sweet Peas Are Made of This

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If, like me, you haven’t had a garden of your own until very recently, you’ll understand why I had to rush out and take a picture of my very fragrant and flourishing sweet peas. It’s also compensation for the fact that having planted everything that smells beautiful near the house, including lavender for the benefit of those who hate moths (you know who you are), I now find that everyone close to me has hay fever so badly that they look at me as if I was armed if I have a flower in my hand.

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