Completely useless Christmas gifts: felt pebbles

Besw Felted Pebbles Lrg

Reader Lesley threw these my way. They’re felt pebbles, going for as little as US$14 each. There are six different ones, and are “useful as simple decorative objects (a collection of them looks great in a bowl) or when used as a pincushion, etc.”

So they’re not entirely useless, and are only slightly less useful than real pebbles because you can’t use them as paper weights. In fact, if you buy them, you’d be supporting local craftswomen in Johannesburg.

And if you flung these at people, they won’t hurt a bit. Unless of course you were using them as pincushions. Or if you flung the bowl with them.


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Completely useless Christmas gifts: Taser C2

 Www.Engadget.Com Media 2007 01 Taser-C2 01

OK, this is so not “completely useless”, I hear you say. Especially since the UN has defined the Taser as a weapon of torture.

It is, however, dangerous, because it’s such a nice looking gadget (“available in four designer colors”), and one that is likely to be mistaken for a new fangled electric shaver. The basic C2 model starts from US$350, has a range of up to 15 feet, so your would be assailants can turn into once were would be assailants at the touch of a button.

Light up your Christmas with one now!

Via engadget

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Terror on war: worst disguise award

 Wp-Content Images Artcoupledisguisedom

Either no one told suspected Iraqi insurgent Haider al-Bahadli that Halloween was over, or he was gunning for the World’s Worst Disguise Award. He and his “groom” were picked up at a security checkpoint who suspected something was amiss with the “wedding convoy”, because the convoy carrying the “wedding party” were all men, bar al-Bahadli, who was dressed up as the bride, complete with veil and stubbly facial hair.

I suppose they thought the Americans could be fooled.


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Hello, fine snack, please to meet you

We visited a newish mall called The Central, not to be confused with Central Mall, a couple of days ago, because unbeknownst to us, Liang Court was being renovated when we went there to take dinner.

It’s absolutely ok if that was the clunkiest sentence you’ve ever read, because at The Central Not To Be Confused With Central Mall, there are signs to read which are just as bad.

First, we saw the sign outside the Sun With Moon Japanese Restaurant & Cafe:

Because you might just walk through it

We weren’t careful, so we went in and ended up eating at the restaurant. Thank goodness it was a decent meal. But you’ve been warned before about these doors, so don’t say you didn’t know.

But because we were late in leaving the house, there wasn’t much time to browse the shops, but it seems it’s a pretty good place for friendly food:

Hi fine snack, pleased to meet you!

Yes, Japlish does meet Singlish at The Central, and there’s a shop in the basement that sells all manner of Japanese snacks which are fun because from the names, you’re never sure what they’re made of:

Don't want to know where these came from

Nor these

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The librarian tried his darndest

The Ask The Librarian service emailed me with his team’s findings, and found the most likely site of Tan Seng Poh’s mansion:

You might find this useful.

Excerpt from:
Title: One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore / Song Ong
; introduction by Edwin Lee.
Author: Song, Ong Siang, Sir, 1871-1941.
Publisher: Singapore : Oxford University Press, 1984.

“Tan Yeok Nee’s mansion was the last of the four residences built in
typical Chinese architectural design and style. The earliest was Tan Seng
Poh’s in Hill Street, erected in 1869 and for many years used as the
Chinese Consulate and now the site of the block of shophouses facing Hill
Street and Loke Yew Street.” (p. 335-6)

I think this would be the “Seng Poh’s new building”. Looking at SLA’s
streetmap website(, I think the building
would be the one with the address 30 Hill Street.

View Larger Map

On, it says it’s the former Malaysian High Commission building, but there’s no indication what the site is now used for, and I can’t be arsed to drive there to find out yet. I’ve put the google map of the place up instead of a one because, you know, the friendly folk at used to take offence at people copying and pasting their maps, and may take such action that may render me lying at the back of Seng Poh’s new house smoking a pipe.

Also, according to the librarian, the building’s probably been demolished, but that’s no surprise.

Thank you, Mr Librarian.

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Completely useless Christmas gifts: The Back Up

When I was in the Army, someone gave me a gift which was supposed to be the China Army version of the Swiss Army knife. We know the latter to be chock full of useful tools which you might need, like a foldaway magnifying glass to look for the tiny screw which you’ve struggled to place in an equally tiny hole with your tiny screwdriver from the same tool.

But the China Army knife came one (or two) better – there was a foldaway fork and a foldaway spoon, so that you could eat your foldaway meals without using your fingers. Problem was, you could only use one of them at a time, even though the spoon and fork folded out at opposite ends of the tool.

Here’s a gift idea that’s just as useless, and which we saw featured on Fox News, it’s called “The Back Up“, and it’s a cradle that attaches to your bed for to cradle your shotgun where you can reach it while you sleep. “Keep Your Gun By Your Side!”, says the website, “Put your shotgun where you an reach it, instead of some out of the way place where it does you no good!”

As you can imagine, it’s not the gift for everyone. Or as one of the commenters on the YouTube page quips, “This is only for fools who don’t wear their shoulder holster to bed”.

“I told you a thousand times before, put your gun in The Back Up, that’s what I bought it for!”

“But darling, that’s not my gun. It’s loaded though”.

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An open sandwich to the Prime Minister

If anything the latter half of this year has been remarkable for, it’s been the “open debate” we’ve heard about but rarely experienced. There’s been more “open letters” lately than I care to remember. Even the doyenne of Singapore Lit has set up a website for such a purpose.

Sure, prices are going up, and you’re not allowed to play an XBox game because it’s got one lesbian scene (damn, which button combo is it?) in it. But hey, it’s the festive season, and in America and everywhere else that follow American traditions (like the whole English speaking world), it’s Thanksgiving this week.

Thanksgiving is about a bunch of pilgrims who came across some turkeys and gave thanks for them because turkeys make a good meal, especially when you get them frozen, like we do, from the supermarkets, which stock everything you want from America but which are made in China, and more.

So, this thanksgiving, I present, an Open Sandwich To The Prime Minister:

An open sandwich

Toasted Swiss Farmer Bread (from Swiss Bakery),
Caramelised Organic Onions (Onions from L’Organic)
Camembert Cheese (from Cold Storage)

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The librarian’s on it

I wrote earlier about the ‘drug lord’ turned philantropist Tan Seng Poh and his mansion near the Armenian Church, and about how I asked the National Library’s “Ask a librarian” librarian to locate the site of Seng Poh’s house.

He’s (the librarian, not Tan Seng Poh) emailed to tell me that he and his colleagues are on the case, and that though they haven’t any answers yet, they’ll be looking through Chinese archives and material from the pre-1900s for possible information:

Dear Sir,

At this moment I’m still unable to locate Seng Poh new building.
Information (in English) on Tan Seng Poh is limited. I’ve looked at old
Singapore maps as well as the Straits Directory from the period before
1900, but so far no luck yet. I’ve enlisted the help of my Chinese
colleagues to help with the Chinese resources, and hopefully we shall be
able to provide the answer to your enquiry soon.

Thank you.

I’ve known about this reference library service since the Rambling Librarian pointed me to it when I had a previous question not resolved through rigorous Googling and Yahoo Answering, and I think it’s a great resource of last resort. I emphasize the phrase “last resort”. At least Google it first, can?

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If only Michael Faye did this instead…

I don’t keep my car well. I don’t like washing it, and it’s not a good thing that it’s a black car, because it’s usually so dusty it’s more like a shade of dark grey.

I’ve had people finger paint on my car the usual epithets – “wash me”, “dirty fellow”, and “”.

But a couple of days ago, Naomi caught this on Fox News (no she doesn’t usually watch Fox News, it was one of those just so happened to press wrong number on the SCV remote and hey look that’s interesting kinda situations ya know), and said, hey, since you don’t like to get the car washed, you should do something like this. Then again, neither of us can paint, so scratch that idea. (Geddit? Scratch that idea? Car? Scratch? No? Long bow? Too oblique? Come on, it’s Christmas! Let it go!)

So anyway, this fler by the name of Scott Wade idly fingered his way to fame and fortune by “painting” a dusty windscreen. Several magnum opii later, he’s got on several television programs, and even a website that sells merchandise like caps and prints of his artwork. I was hoping for something equally offbeat like “Dirty Car Art Starter Kit 5oz. bag of dust”, or something, but I suppose the madness has to end somewhere.

Scott Wade’s performance art:

You don’t really have to be an artist/painter to make something out of a dusty windscreen though:

“I wish my wife was this dirty” – Photo by Darling Snail

Ex Wallaby 2005: Graffiti with grease
Ex Wallaby 2005 – Graffiti on a dirty tank

More of Scott Wade’s art here.

Where is Michael Faye now anyway?

iPhoney Christmas

Christmas is nigh, and if you’re wondering what to get your loved ones for Christmas, keep thinking. There are too many things to buy, and very little money to go around. The iPhone’s been launched in Europe, but because the rest of Asia’s the backwater of the world, it’s not here yet.

It’s the very latest 2G mobile phone technology, but heck, I admit to thinking of getting one, even if it’s from a Lucky Plaza shop that sells mobile phones, vibrators (no sir, this vibrator doesn’t come with the phone but you can buy one if you like) and all other manner of electronic peripherals that you only use a few weeks following Christmas.

But if you really must, here’s a run down on what the iPhone is really good for. It’s an SNL spoof of an iPhone commercial that never aired. The spoof never aired. Not the commercial. The commercial aired until the cows came home and set up their own facebook account.

Anyway: Here tis