image: rocketleague.com

I’ve been playing Rocket League for a few years, so I know how toxic the community can be. You’re lucky if you miss a shot or a save and don’t get a derisive comment from your opponents or, as is more often the case, your teammates. Some people take issue with you for other reasons. I once put a pride flag antenna on my car and a guy threatened to punch me in the face over it. I’ve been told to kill myself more times than I care to recall.

I usually try to tune this stuff out and respond…


One Euro one, six for six. Very, very tasty, very, very good!”

So went the song of the samosa salesman. He was a youngish guy of South-Asian origin, and I wondered why he sang in English rather than Catalan or — heaven forbid around these parts — Spanish. I normally find these hawkers irritating when I’m relaxing in a quiet park and my instinct is always to turn down whatever they’re offering, but there was something nice about his gentle voice, his undulating melody and the lightness with which he bobbed around with his box of samosas strapped to him…


image: thegamer.com

I love playing video games, but I often feel bad when I do. They’re unproductive, and I’ve been led to believe that anything unproductive is bad. Even during lockdown, when I didn’t have a job, I’d get pangs of guilt when I switched on the PS4. “Oh, more video games,” a little voice in my head would say, and it would proceed to remind me of all the people out there writing novels, learning languages, taking up new hobbies — and of course that old army vet who did the charity walk around his garden. …


image: nationalreview.com

This episode explores, with startling pertinence, the consumerism that drives our cherished national holidays, the seductive power of populism and the dangers of seeking quick fixes to big problems

Homer: You signed my name? I feel so violated!

Marge: You’ve signed my name lots of times.

Homer: But this isn’t like a loan application or a will; you signed away my dignity! And I’m going to get it back.

It’s easy to forget how great The Simpsons was, and depressing to think of how far it has fallen. The show has languished for two decades, never managing to reach the…


Did you know that on the autobahn, the German motorway, there’s technically no speed limit? There is an “advisory” speed limit of 130kph (around 80mph), but it seems that many people are happy to ignore it. Our car wobbles slightly as middle-aged men with Audis and a point to prove fizz past us. Makes me wonder if they’re late for something or just out for the thrill. I’ve heard you can do Maastricht to Berlin in a little over 5 hours, but I’ve never needed to be anywhere that fast.

Still some hours to go on our way to Munich…


John Cage’s experimental piece 4'33" — image: Subhan Ramanathan, Medium

A flash of bright orange tears across the screen. In a few seconds, a spaceship is reduced to shards and condemned to drift through the darkness. For all that the inferno attacks the eyes, it remains silent, for sound does not travel in space.

This happens in the 2014 sci-fi epic Interstellar, and director Christopher Nolan worked closely with renowned physicist Kip Thorne so as not to slip into the trap of scientific inaccuracy. The spectacle of a thundering Hollywood explosion is tempting, but set in space it would be undermined by its sheer impossibility. Yes, the silver screen represents…


image: www.coub.com

From Hefty Fine, 2005

Bloodhound Gang may have built its reputation on potty-mouthed rap-rock, but there is far more to frontman and chief songwriter Jimmy Pop’s craft than innuendo and cheap laughs.

Many of the Gang’s songs are about sex, and “Uhn Tiss…” is, on the face of it, no exception to this trend. …


Call me cynical, but I’m convinced that the people who work on trains and buses derive some sick pleasure from making people wait to board. I don’t know how many times I’ve stood on a platform with thirty other commuters, all of us glaring at a man in a reflective vest clutching a clipboard and a plastic bag as he carries out “maintenance” or does a “routine check” or whatever. And of course the colder it is, the longer they make you wait. I’d be more sympathetic to whatever duty they’re fulfilling if the train looked any different after they’d…


Image: www.vegan-preacher.tumblr.com

I’m writing this partly in response to Tiffany Rose’s piece for PETA, “Can I Get a Triple Soy Latte for “Fur Is Dead”?”

Rose’s article recommends giving the barista in your local Starbucks a fake name when ordering. Not a fake name for humorous purposes, but one designed to “have a conversation about animal rights”, as she claims. “No doubt he or she will want to know why you’re giving your name as “Fur Is Dead,”” she says, which I think is a bold presumption. “Plus, when your “name” is called, the rest of the shop will hear the message…

Lorenzo Gaertner

Meditations and rambles on whatever comes to mind.

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