March 16, 2003

Half a snail is better than...

The latest campaign from ginger beer brewers Fentimans may not make the shortlist for Great Advertising Mistakes Of Our Time but it still boggles me.

Fentimans are rightly proud of their traditional beverages, and stress that 75 years ago all ginger beer was made the same way. But it seems strange to link this with the anniversary of Donoghue v Stevenson, well known to law students as a tale of negligence and gastro-enteritis.

...celebrate with us, the fame that snails have given Ginger Beer

I'm particularly bothered that they're running a competition with a prize of 7400 'via special bottles'. That would be special how?

Just call me picky, but I prefer the vegetarian option.

Posted at 05:49 PM

March 04, 2003

Float Like a Melusine

Wisdom in a cup

via Snark Hunting

Posted at 08:43 PM

March 02, 2003

Not warblogging actually

I leave that to those more knowledgeable and coherent on the subject. But it's only natural to be affected by events, especially after partying yesterday at the house of shy retiring Avedon Carol.

Here in Snailville I've been looking at ostensibly lighter matters, and was directed by Languagehat to this Chinese poetry site. Unable to resist even a non-Japanese poet with the name Su Shi, I found


Visiting the Temple of the God of Mercy on a Rainy Day
The silkworms grow old,
The wheat half yellow,
The rain falls unrestrained about the mountain.
The farmers cannot work the land,
Nor women gather mulberry,
The Immortals sit high in white robes in the hall.

The site is excellent (and click here to get a bit more than my transcription).

Meanwhile, Renee Perelmutter at glosses.net rambles entertainingly and cites a Sumerian translation The Seven, including


They are strangers to pity, compassion is far from them
They are deaf to men's prayers, entreaties can't reach them
They are horses that grow to great size, that feed on mountains
They are the enemies of our friends
They feed on the gods
They tear up the highways they spread out over the roads
They are the faces of evil they are the faces of evil

I agree with Renee's uncontentious points about the impossibility of choosing a single favourite book or poem. And at the moment it's no surprise that when I started thinking about poems that most affect me, I dredged up the first serious works that I met at school in North Wales, by not quite local boy Wilfred Owen. After 32 years I don't have them off by heart, although fragments are permanently etched in memory.

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues -
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum Est
Pro patria mori.

Perhaps my internet brain is stuck.
Look forward to fluffier Snail Musings next time around.

Posted at 12:24 PM

March 01, 2003

Gwŷl Dewi

Rattling off the last post, I completely forgot that March 1st was St Davids Day.
I'm not the sort of person who follows saints days, and last year I rather boggled London co-workers who were working up footballing enthusiasm for St George's. Perhaps it was mean to mention that he was patron saint for Canada, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Palestine and Portugal, and cities in Italy, Russia and Turkey. Not to mention herpes, leprosy and plague.
It's easy to find all this and more with the web, using pages like this one.
There are patron saints for all sorts of causes, though I thought it was a bit dodgy that Joseph's patronage covers people who fight communism. And while it was comforting to know that saintly patronage extends to poor helpless accountants, I don't really understand why invincible people need a patron saint.
Still, you have to admire the even handedness of patronising enemies of religion.

Posted at 06:27 PM