Saturday, October 25, 2014

"What's it like to live inside your head?"
"Oh...! Think of a haunted house!"

A previous installment of the Riddled Cumulative Encyclopaedia of As-Any-Fule-Knoledge touched lightly upon the topic of Novelty Head-shaped Dollhouses. These are not so popular as they once were for they rely on a metaphor of 'neuropsychology as business office hierarchy' -- just as Body-shaped Dollhouses realise a metaphor of 'physiology as factory' -- which became obsolete when both sorts of jobs were outsourced.

Anyhoo, since sufficient realism in a doll turns into Creepy, it follows that a sufficiently realistic dollhouse must be even creeper. In the limiting case, the dollhouse is made for pampered royalty and like all the best stately homes is haunted by the ghosts of dolls that died under tragic circumstances in times long ago.

This is why this man has dressed up as a dollhouse to go trick-&-treating.
The dollhouse shown at right displays a curious posthumous spectral phenomenon or "haunting" causing it to sprout ginger hair. Meanwhile Another Kiwi is asperging the hair with Comfrey-&-Samphire Shampoo which he bought in bulk from Evangeline van Holsterin's well-meaning niece Dolores who works at the hair salon in High Street. There is a Carnacki Ghost-Hunter story in which a room is periodically possessed by a pair of giant ectoplasmic Irish-melody-whistling lips in the floor, but prodigious follicular activity is unparalleled in the field of psychic research.

I suspect that AK is actually dressed for Trigan-Empire Cosplay. He may win the Old Entomologist Hallowe'en costume competition anyway; other customers and barstaff have put a lot of effort into their costumes for the party but they are not entirely clear on the concept.

Readers who are familiar with the Wodehouse canon (and who else reads Riddled?) will remember the Ganymede Club, an exclusive institution frequented by gentlemen's gentlemen on their evenings off where they could enjoy intelligent conversation and argue about which of their employers would be first up against the wall when the Revolution comes. There is scope for Wooster / Wimsey crossover fiction (into which we shall not enter here) for Bunter was presumably an initiate.

It is not so widely known that Keats and Chapman had also acquired the coveted membership cards, the former because his plausible manner and forged references had earned him employment as a manservant to a dissolute scion of the ruling class, and the latter on the more questionable grounds that he was "a servant of the Muse".

Even in his pecunious and poverished situation, Chapman (relying on budgetary advice from Keats) found himself at the end of each fortnight too short of funds to buy any clothing other than the livery of manservantry. At the time of which we speak, he had been invited to a Hallowe'en party and was racking his brains for ideas for what to wear.

Keats was not particularly helpful. "Just go as you are," he counseled.

"My work clothes?" Chapman said, his mind focussed on the importance of keeping them relatively clean and un-puked-on.

"You would be an Uncanny Valet," Keats explained.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


There appears to be a dearth of Jean Michel Jarre-themed pumpkin carving on the Interlattice, so I am stepping in to fill the gap.

Here Wassilissa the Beautiful uses the carved pumpkin as the centrepiece of her Hallowène costume.
[hoicked from Feuilleton]
Either that, or she is a better-than-average-dressed proselyte for Sithrak.
Updated with BONUS HALLOWE'EN COSTUME suggestions.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Antisocial media

Hey monkey boy! Those annoying Tonkinese kittens from the next street over have their own FB page for their friends to Like!
You're cats. You don't have friends, only resources.

It is not good enough. Lola the Aro Park cat has her own FB page! Even her own beer! Why are we not on Furbook?

Tell you what, I'll credit you as co-authors on a paper, and you can have your own ResearchGate archives.

As long as it's not Mendeley or Academia or we'll be very very... um very... ummmmm

Friday, October 17, 2014

Memo to the Marketing Department

The proposed label for the Christmas Hopped Winterstipple Scrumpy did not go down well with last night's Unfocus Group at the Old Entomologist. Needs work.

My new Skype avatar

Thanks to Riddled a-mi-go Jeffrey Beall.

Oddly enough, corn smut featured elsewhere on the Interlattice just the other day.

Incidentally, let the record show that not all intelligent fungi reproduce by asphyxi-wanking. Myco-libel!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

N-sane in the membrane

"The N gland," I suggested, "was named thus by analogy with Blondlot's N-rays."

"Speaking of mysterious glands," tigris said, "remember Pishinger's Space?"

"It is akin to the Schade Organ," I said.

"I know that one," Another Kiwi vouchsafed. "Dr Phibes wrests doleful discords from its keyboard as a musical expression of the torment in his soul."

"They are both forms of distributed interstitial connective tissue," I interrupted in the Explaining Voice; "unknown outside of Alt-Health websites where the crank magnetism goes up to 11 Teslas."
...the extracellular space that contains the fluids that bath and feed each and every cell while carrying away the waste from those same cells...
This organ connects and holds everything in our bodies in place. This organ is composed of ligaments, tendons, sinew, and the finer fibers that become the scaffolding that holds every single cell in our bodies in place.
"Are you loonies ranting about telocytes again?" head barmaid Evangeline van Holsterin asked as she swept past to wipe the table-top dry before the spillage of Old Blandings Scythe Sharpener etched rings in the faux-bacon formica finish.
Special pint glass for Scythe Sharpener;
leaves no rings but prone to falling over

Indeed, arguing we were. In our defense, the prospect of the Telocyte as an entirely new class of cell is tremendously exciting to everyone at the Riddled Research Laboratory and Tractor Parts Exchange. Paying members of the public have grown increasingly skeptical of outlandish claims about 'stem-cell implants', so new cells with unknown and potentially unlimited properties are just what is needed for our commercial operation at the Bona Body-Part Embellishment & Rejuvenation Clinic (ask about this week's special on vat-grown penis!).

According to Professor Popescu [whom God preserve] of Bucharest, the distinguishing features of telocytes are the long, extremely fine 'telopode' extensions -- invisible to optical microscopy -- which wind their wendy way around other cells, occasionally bulging out in blobs of protoplasm in the manner of a partially-constructed balloon animal.
Skeptics might marvel at the way these filaments confine themselves to a plane as they meander around... a plane always coinciding with the slice taken for electron microscopy. But concerns are assuaged by the reassuring fact that Popescu and his colleagues -- having first encountered telocytes in gut muscle -- have since found them everywhere they've looked. They are the duct-tape that holds exocrine glands together (as opposed to endocrine glands which require ductless tape).
Also, telosites have their own webcyte and a Whackyweedia entry. Theory has it that they carry signals, providing a kind of cellular intranet, allowing the constituent cells of each organ to coordinate their holidays, exchange lists of jokes, and regenerate after injury.
Telocyte-seers Edelstein and Smythies are especially enthusiastic about the evidence. Fortunately the Frontiers journal is there as an outlet for the enthusiasm.*

Meanwhile the race to monetise telocytes is on, with Popescu's team at the Victor Babeş Institute regenerating damaged hearts with telocyte transplants! [transplants actually performed in Shanghai on account of pesky ethics restrictions].
"But what about the Keats-and-Chapman story?" Another Kiwi waxed indignantly. "You can't just finish here without a punchline!"

"Relax," I shrugged. "Lie back and think of N-gland."
* Frontiers appear to be repositioning themselves from the Frontiers to the fringe. Perhaps they are trying to fill the yawning lacuna created when Medical Hypotheses sold out to the The Man and turned all staid and boring (Elsevier hoofed out the old editor and instigated a new policy of having potential papers "reviewed" by "peers" to exclude the more egregious submissions, with a net loss to the gaiety of nations).