Archive for February, 2009

Happy Lupercalia

lupercusAs December 25 was decided upon as Baby Jesus’s birthday so that the Church could oust earlier solstice celebrations such as Saturnalia, Yule and Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, so it is suggested that the feast of Saint Valentine was placed on February 14 to erase Lupercalia, a festival bursting with nudity, sacrifices and flagellation.

In the spirit of this earlier celebration, therefore, while my wife lovingly prepares chilled champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries, I shall be donning my goatskin girdle, sacrificing the neighbour’s dog, lashing passers-by with a wet thong, fetching out the blender to froth up the blood-and-asses-milk smoothie, and, in the absence of Vestal Virgins to perform the duty, rustling up the requisite salty mealcakes myself. Which, evidently to please the gods’ noses, I have to burn – and that is right up my culinary street.

It doesn’t get much more romantic than that, now, does it?


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NT3778856Watch anybody using the telephone in a movie between the 1930s and 1950s and at some point he or she will be cut off. This will elicit a frantic rattle of the cradle, a shout of “Operator! Operator!”, another rattle, a final “Operator!”, then an exasperated slam of the receiver. Perhaps a furiously puffed cigarette would follow.

Did this ever actually help anybody to reconnect? Not in any film I saw; nor would it have, I’d venture to suggest, in real life. It certainly doesn’t nowadays, and I remember far back enough to know that it didn’t in the 1980s; yet scriptwriters at that time, and even beyond, seemed to retain a touching belief in this eccentric telephonic notion if the TV show I saw yesterday is any guide. OK, “Murder She Wrote”, if you must know.

This was an even worse example, though: florid businessman finds that blackmailer has hang up on him; the dial tone cuts in; businessman removes receiver from ear and yells “Hello!” into it in front of his face (having evolved from “Operator!”, at least); more dial tone, then the inevitable rattle of the cradle, a final exasperated “Hello!”, and the violent hang-up. No cigarette, though; he’s not Bette Davis.

The problem here is that even the most technologically inept phone user knows what the purr of the dial tone means, unless he thinks that the villain has put his Persian cat on the line just for larks.

And we’d be bereft without that comforting sound; it tells us (or soothingly invites us, even) to “dial your number now”, in such a reassuring and non-insistent manner that we cannot resist its blandishments. Which is why the cell phone, despite all its advantages, is such a cold mistress.

If the dial tone were invented now it would be some harsh bleep or absurd warble, so thank heavens it came about in a gentler age, making its début in the early 1900s. In fact, though, it was invented sooner. Too soon for its inventor to profit, sadly.

Before Bell, or Gray, or Edison, or any of the other claimants invented this electromagnetic communication device, an Englishman domiciled in Bushwhacket, WI, was already experimenting with sound, resonance and vibration, and had come up with the now familiar purring noise, initially as a means to soothe and quieten the livelier individuals in his herd of domesticated anteaters. His name: Sir Lionel Dial-Tone.

Convinced that the telephone would be invented, and that it would be an invaluable auditory addition, he approached Bell, Gray, Edison et al with this new sound but was rebuffed, simply because they didn’t know it yet themselves; it was the 1840s and they were still in kindergarten.

So Sir Lionel retired to his anteater farm – but there was little call for Vermilingua-based dairy products in 19th century Wisconsin, and he died in penury after being eviscerated by a rogue pangolin called Mabel.

How very different to the rags-to-riches story of that later acoustic experimenter, Lord Malcolm Busy-Signal.

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Goldfish Broth is not a weblog that, mannequin birds notwithstanding, flaps putatively amusing creatures in its’ readers faces and invites them to chortle, chuckle and waggle their eyebrows in an amusedly avuncular fashion. More than anything because the films in question have already thunked serially into in-boxes around the world anyway.

Nevertheless, here’s a moderately entertaining fox and his slightly bemused and somewhat less bouncy pal:

And I’ve ‘nevertheless-ed’ this footage not so much for the foxy caperings but more for the comments that appeared when it was lifted from YouTube and posted on a London newspaper’s website. Somebody called Jessica turned up in high dudgeon, it being her film, demanding credit, recognition, plaudits and who knows what. An Emmy, perhaps. Unlike most comments this did not degenerate into the usual hostilities. Read on:

Hello! I’d just like to let you know that you are posting MY video without asking me, the original owner!

I OWN this video, and I would really like some credit for it.

Please don’t make it get anymore annoying than this!

Samron (Jessica)

Posted by: Jessica | February 11, 2009 at 06:28 AM

If a video is posted on youtube I think the issue of credit is negated – but if you insist – Well done!

Posted by: Paul | February 11, 2009 at 09:39 AM


Have you for one second took into consideration the foxes being credited for this video.



Posted by: Jack Richardson | February 11, 2009 at 09:58 AM

I agree with Jack, for once the fox has done something positive for human beings instead of butchering chickens and raping our rubbish, why not let them take the credit?

P.S did you get the foxes consent before postings this?

Posted by: Frankie | February 11, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Hey those are MY foxes (Graham and Simon), you had no right to steal them and force them to perform for you in your sick video. I want them back now! Who knows what other videos you have forced them to act in.

Posted by: Gobbleguts McWobbleboots | February 11, 2009 at 10:35 AM


The foxes have been on the phone. They’ve heard about the video and they’re pissed. Really f**cking pissed.

Posted by: Bell | February 11, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Dear Jessica,

I find it extremely disrespectful that you recorded myself and my wife testing out the Trampoline.

We were curious as to why this object makes young kids go so high? IS that a crime? Did curiousity kill the Fox?

Would you appreciate me filming you taking a sh*t whilst your boyfriend is in the shower? I think not somehow?

I have hired a private investigator to locate your boyfriends house so we can knock down both your bins and shit on your driveway.

I think an apology would be satisfactory and i look forward to your response.


Sir John Fox (knighted 2001)

Posted by: Mr John Fox | February 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM


I represent a animal rights guerrilla movement activist group.
The may concerns regarding this video is that at any point no attempt was made to black out the foxes faces.

Posted by: Ernest Mcflannigan | February 11, 2009 at 10:50 AM

I would like to apologise to Sir John Fox for this degrading video.

We are the manufacturers of this new state of the art Trampoline. 1,000 of our products (including this particular product) have been recalled as people (and foxes) do not bounce back up (as shown in the video containing Sir John Fox).

I apologise to John Fox for this error and hope he can continue to live his life without this video haunting him.

We will replace the Trampoline within 4 weeks


Posted by: Nicky | February 11, 2009 at 11:10 AM

To be fair, Jessica, I don’t think there’s much chance of this getting more annoying than it already is.

Posted by: The Ridiculant | February 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM


Don’t let this lot get to you. If people took the time to look really, really closely at the clip (top right, beyond the Trampoline), there are two snails on the grass doing something really interesting which you should also get credit for.

I also thought I saw a moth do a ‘loop the loop’ as well but couldn’t be sure.


Posted by: Martin | February 11, 2009 at 11:16 AM

I work for TROLL (Trampoliner’s Rights of Leftist London) and am outraged to see foxes taking work away from real professional trampoliners. What’s next? CGI monkeys bouncing merrily away? Coloured balls being dropped from a helicopter to ricochet in all directions? I am disgusted at this catcrap.

Posted by: Roger Mungbeak | February 11, 2009 at 11:32 AM

As a health and safety officer I am concerned to see that there is no protective netting around the facility that would mitigate the risk of a potential injurious event to the foxes. Also, if I am not very much mistaken, the instruction manual for this particular model of trampoline, the Ultrabounce 1170GX, if I am not very much mistaken, stipulates in paragraph 12, clause 3.1, that “a maximum of one fox or dog or squirrel is permitted to bounce on the apparatus at any one time.” Failure to comply with this is in my view a potentially actionable offence.

Posted by: Hamish | February 11, 2009 at 11:33 AM

As a worker for PETA, Photographing Ethical Trampolining Association I am horrified that the “owner” of this video does not offer proof that the subjects knew they were being filmed, or had signed suitable disclaimers or were indeed adults.

This sort of reprehensible spying on what could be under age foxes is highly unethical. We shall be following this up with the appropriate local authorities.

One can only hope that these poor innocents are not scarred for life by the predatory actions of this illicit film. I simply don’t understand the minds of people that do this. They should be locked up.

Posted by: PETA activist | February 11, 2009 at 02:37 PM

I think it’s very brave of young Jessica to stand up and be counted. If the Labour government go ahead with their plans to ban fox trampolining, many rural jobs will be lost, and packs of trampoline hounds will have to be destroyed. Well done Jessica, the fox trampolining community of Great Britain thanks you for increasing the public’s awareness of what is not just a sport, but a great British tradition.

Posted by: Lord Frothington-Smythe | February 11, 2009 at 03:14 PM

I’ve had it with these mother****ing foxes on this mother****ing trampoline.

Posted by: Samuel L Jackson | February 11, 2009 at 03:18 PM


OK, so this was a lazy post; a stopgap, if you will. But if anybody can tell me what evolutionary advantage there is a for a springier fox, I’ll finally and gladly post my Darwin anniversary piece.

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There is a game of soccerball occurring on the television set as I work.

As the volume is muted and I am not really paying attention (so you might fairly ask why it is on) I am unclear as to who is playing; but the high incidence of headbands, the lack of mud or ice and the smartness of the coaches’ suits (no questionable tracksuits here) lead me to conclude that it’s somewhere in southern Europe.

The score displayed in the top-left corner of the screen offers few clues, except to announce that the home side is losing 0-2, a fact confirmed by the glumness of the crowd as the ninetieth minute approaches. I know some stuff about sport, though, and the three-letter abbreviations the producers have chosen for the teams’ names have left me nonplussed.

We have NUM playing against RMA, and a diverting few minutes pondering has left me choosing to believe that this means the Numismatists are engaging the Royal Moth Association, perhaps in the final of the Hobbyists Cup. The former ousted MDC, the Model Dinosaur Club, in the semi-final, while the latter overcame JEG, or Junior Embalming Guild, in a penalty shoot-out.


Currency scholars in red, mysteriously distraught mothman in white.

I had no idea that coin collectors and lepidopterists were so athletic. That’ll teach me not to judge.

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