Songs for Children

When I was a young boy, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, and my great aunt. Mum and Dad both worked, so my brother and myself were looked after by Nanna, Poppa and Auntie Ann quite a lot of the time.

They put you in a big white sheet,
and tuck the corners in nice and neat.
Oh-oh-oh-oh, where will we be in a hundred years from now?

Auntie Ann would sometimes sing me a song. About how the world was evanescent and fleeting, and how in the end all things must die. This isn’t the song that any parent would sing to their children. There are some truths that are told by others.

They put you in a big brown box,
and cover you under six feet of rocks.
Oh-oh-oh-oh, where will we be in a hundred years from now?

Last night over dinner I was telling my girlfriend about this. She’s from Texas. It turns out that it was sung in the playground there when she was growing up; she was taught it by her schoolmates.

The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out,
they crawl in thin and they crawl out stout.
Oh-oh-oh-oh, where will we be in a hundred years from now?

And children across the world will be singing this song to each other long after I’m gone to dust. Because there are some songs that you can’t be sung by your parents, but that have to be learned by us all.

The Mighty Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis has created and written some of the best comic series ever.

Planetary. Transmetropolitan. The Authority. For just three off the top of my head.

Indeed, like The Mighty Stephen Hawking, he is fully deserving of the Mighty appelation. But what is it that makes someone worthy of that title? I think we can all agree that Stephen is a Mighty Power, but what makes him so?

Well, it can’t be just talent. John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey is a great writer, but The Mighty John Rogers? Not yet. Maybe in a few years.

The Mighty Stephen King – yep.
The Mighty James Cameron – yep.
The Mighty Steven Spielberg – absolutely.

(But not The Mighty Uwe Boll. Or The Mighty William Shatner.)

The way I see it, it’s a mixture of three things.

A huge talent, expressed over many years, on many different projects.

So yes, for his work on science (I think we can leave out the excursions into Gangsta Rap which started me on this train of thought in the first place) The Mighty Stephen Hawking. And for his work on comics, The Mighty Warren Ellis.

Any more?

Keeping it Quiet

If you’ve spent any time on the West Coast, you’ll know In-N-Out. A burger chain that only exists in the states of Nevada, California, and Arizona.

You can recognise them by the bright red plastic tops and the bright yellow arrow by the signage that just screams “Whooosh! Burger!”

All of which is really just by way of setting the stage.

There are four items – no more, no less – on the In-N-Out menu: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double-Double (two patties, two cheese) and French Fries. All cooked from fresh, and to order.

But in addition to those, In-n-Out offers a Secret Menu. The cashiers know about it, it’s coded into the registers, but it’s not mentioned in the restaurants.

Among the secret options are five-by-eights (five patties, eight cheese), protein style (comes in lettuce instead of a bun), or the mysterious Flying Dutchman (I’m not going to say, it’s just too weird).

Sh. Don’t tell anyone.

It’s a secret.

Design Classics

Here, a look at the evolution of games controllers.

And here, check out 25 British Design Icons. And then vote on which one you think is the iconiest.

It’s a tough call – there are some beautiful, functional designs in there, but I managed to choose one eventually.

But really – the World Wide Web as an item? For fuck’s sake people – that is not a design in any possible sense of the word. It’s an infrastructure. Did they need to make up the numbers or something?