Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Chris Morris: genius

So Chris Morris' comedy about suicide bombers, exploring 'the Dad's Army side of jihadist terrorism', which was rejected by the BBC and C4, is going to be made into a film by Film 4 with any luck. Brilliant news. I spent part of today watching Brass Eye again on DVD, and remain in awe of Morris - the celebrity interviews and appeals are much sharper, more absurd and more genuinely satirical than anything Sacha Baron-Cohen has done. And he is a fantastically funny writer: only Armando Iannuici at the moment has anything like his mix of absurdity and satire. Who can forget Wolf from Gladiators' emotional update on Carla, the elephant with its trunk stuck up its arse:

Urgent News. Carla has started to ingest her own head. Her dunkbump mechanism has blown. There’s bloody vegetable gas everywhere.”

Or indeed the studio guest who, it turned out, did not have 'good' Aids but 'bad' Aids:

"What if a mad man broke in here with a machine gun and shot you to pieces? Anyone here yawning would get your blood in their mouths. You shouldn’t have come in. You’ve got bad Aids.”

I do hope he's still got it. Hopefully we'll be able to see soon.

Eating in Venice and Rome

Going next week. Any types for good restaurants there?


Man-flu. At home. The experience of watching a bit of daytime telly leaves me thankful to the ever reliantly unpleasant Daily Mail for this:

'He lied... he called me a slut. Jeremy Kyle could be a guest on his own show, ' claims first wife

Philandering bastard...wife-beater...fair enough. But could be a guest on the Jeremy Kyle show? Ouch. That's harsh.

Monday, 29 September 2008

World upside-down

These are strange times. Really. Consider the evidence:

Bush's Republicans have embraced 'economic socialism'; the (struggling) bail-out is, some have argued, more extreme than anything proposed by previous Socialist Party candidates for President such as Eugene Debs. 

In the UK, the Prime Minister's ratings have risen on the back of financial crisis and meltdown: the same is considered good news for Brown.

The Conservatives, party of the great car economy, are looking genuinely green, however Labour try to spin it, with the pledge to scrap a third runway at LHR and build TGV-style rail links to northern cities.

It hit 27 degrees C on Baffin Island in the Arctic earlier this year. How many times did it reach that in London?

Sarah Palin is a vice-Presidential candidate who is no more qualified for the job than one of my farts - Christ, even National Review writers have started telling her that she is 'clearly out of her league' - apart from the fact that she is a woman which people think is is A Good Thing. Except feminists.   

And, perhaps weirdest of the lot, we really did do Pretty Well in the Olympics.


Just hoping some impressionable child is reading

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sunday thoughts

I've just been reminded, on reading Nigel Slater's excellent, poignant Toast, that I don't know how to blow bubbles from bubblegum. It is likely that I will go to my grave having never blown a bubblegum bubble. I find this depressing. Any practical bubble blowing advice gratefully received.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Ah, the Daily Mail

I've always thought that the Mail is brilliant in purely journalistic terms. I admire the naked cynicism of those 'As..question' headlines which allow the recycling of baseless gossip and to which the answer is always, when you read the article, no. "As troubled Robbie Williams prepares for his first live concert in two years, his worried friends are asking the question...Is Robbie addicted to Toilet Duck?" No, of course he bloody isn't.

And now, a classic come-on from the website, with just the right mix of absurdity and priggish moralising:

Ed Balls makes great play of the fact that his Oxford contemporaries David Cameron and Boris Johnson were members of the Bullingdon Club, notorious for its rowdy drunken behaviour. But coming from a man who was pictured in a German officer's uniform staring at the crotch of a fellow student wearing comedy plastic buttocks, his words have a somewhat hollow ring.

In case you missed it

Via Mrs Dale, Ladbrokes now have Harriet Harman rather than David Miliband as favourite to take over from GB. Conference was that bad for the man-boy. Odds in full:

3/1 Harriet Harman
7/2 David Miliband
5/1 Jack Straw
8/1 Jon Cruddas
8/1 Alan Johnson
12/1 James Purnell
12/1 John Denham
16/1 Alan Milburn
16/1 Ed Balls
16/1 John Reid
20/1 Andy Burnham
20/1 Ed Miliband
25/1 Caroline Flint
25/1 John Hutton
25/1 Yvette Cooper

Satire is dead, killed by Hank Paulson

So where did that $7 trillion figure in the US treasury bail-out plan come from?

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

Really, could that be any more Onion-esque?

Thursday, 25 September 2008

"A laminated poll tax"

So says Chris Huhne of identity cards: the Liberal Democrats have been good on this. Mock-ups of cards for immigrants, which will be issued from November, firstly to non-EU students and marriage visa holders, were 'unveiled' today as the saying goes. They will be told they must have the card when they apply to extend their stay in Britain.

Jacqui Smith tells us that the cards will people "easily and securely to prove their identity". "Allows" is, of course, a deeply ingenuous adjective in the circumstances, as these people will have no choice as to whether to have such a card or not. The message is, at the same time as being misleading, a deeply populist, dogwhistle one -  "We want to be able to prevent those here illegally from benefiting from the privileges of Britain," and the information the cards contain will apparently help HMG to do that.

They will do bugger all to fight terrorism, partly because they won't extend to people who are here for less than three months, and the latest press-release doesn't focus on the T word.

The Conservative position is to oppose the identity card scheme but to support the use of biometrics in immigration documents. I have some sympathy with that, as long as it is recognised that biometrics can be hacked.

Labour are justifying the introduction of identity cards for these groups of immigrants on the express basis of strengthening  immigration control. Hmm. To use groups who do not have the vote as a guinea pigs for this project is nasty. And the information will be held digitally and centrally - let's hope securely, eh? But I still don't see what the purported justification will be when they seek to introduce the cards for the indigenous population in a few years' time. 'Immigration control' as a reason to demand Mrs Jones from Worcester to report to an ID interrogation centre when renewing her passport for a trip to Spain won't really cut the mustard, will it?

It genuinely amazes me that Brown is using up vanishingly rare political capital to progress this fantastically expensive, deeply illiberal project.

You know what's in the corner of JM Towers

Yes, at last, we can all own an almost life-size cut out Sarah P with fabulous accessories.

Price List
12 Inch $19.99 - (4) 12 Inch Images
48 Inch $49.99
60 Inch $69.99

Loving the gun/lipstick/hockeystick combo.

Go to WallMonkeys.com now!

Update: the 48-inch one has got to be good value: perfect Oompa-Loompa-size.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Look, sorry, but she is...kinda...scary

Sam Harris in Newsweek is required reading on The Subject Of This Blog's Obsession. He brilliantly points up her bizarre self-confidence in this imagined exchange between her and Charlie Gibson (to whom she's given her only TV interview since the pick):

"Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child's brain?"

"Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I'm an avid hunter."

"But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind."

"That's just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink."

And he's good on her church, the Assemblies of God, and what her membership means for her likely beliefs:

Every detail that has emerged about Palin's life in Alaska suggests that she is as devout and literal-minded in her Christian dogmatism as any man or woman in the land. Given her long affiliation with the Assemblies of God church, Palin very likely believes that Biblical prophecy is an infallible guide to future events and that we are living in the "end times." Which is to say she very likely thinks that human history will soon unravel in a foreordained cataclysm of war and bad weather.

McCain wins - or 'wins' - in November, a year later has a heart attack, and this woman is leader of the free world and has hundreds of nuclear weapons at her disposal. OMFG, as I believe the young people say.

Miliband and his shocking preposition

David Miliband is universally agreed to have had a pretty crappy Conference. "Hezzagate"; gurning like a loon at every opportunity; it wasn't a triumph.

But now there is further, deeper evidence that the boy-man is not fit to lead his party.

Attacking - but not actually denying, natch - the BBC's reporting of the Heseltine moment comment, he is reported to have said that "it is something that they should know better than".

Good God. For Chrissakes man, sort it out.

Climaticide Watch (2)

Anonymous, commenting on the post below, takes me to task for not commenting on the alarming Independent front page the other day on the methane time bomb in the Arctic. Fair enough; I stand chastised. To make amends, here's a YouTube that graphically illustrates just how much methane is there, and how close to the surface.

Consider me scared.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


So Gordon Brown will continue to push the theme of 'fairness' in his speech today. 'Fairness' is dominating the airwaves today.

I just wanted to say that 'fairness' is such a quintessential Brown/Labour term. It sounds ok - who's going to stand up and say they're against fairness, that they're pro-unfair? - but it means bugger all when you try to analyse it. There's a hint of left red meat, something bit chunkier than Blair-era Labour, but still nothing substantive. When you pick it up it falls apart. It's a blank canvas on which both the BNP and the SWP could paint their colours.

Monday, 22 September 2008

That US bail-out

The US Treasury's bail-out proposal to Congress makes - believe it or not - for interesting, not to say eye-watering, reading.

Have a look at section 2 for example:

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.–The [Treasury] Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

How much?

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.

Lawks. So what exactly can he do?


....(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation...

Crumbs. Ah, but presumably there's pretty effective oversight of the Treasury Secretary's use of his powers, right? Er, not as such:

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Hmm. As Guido said drily in the context of the UK banning of short selling, first they came for the capitalists...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Labour and the polls and Andy "ffs" Burnham

Can they go any lower than polling results giving a Tory majority of 146? Or is it the case that the only way really is up?

Latest received wisdom seems to be that global financial apocalypse is actually good news for Gordon Brown and that he seems more relaxed because of it. You know things are bad when what we've seen in the markets this week counts as a welcome political boost.

Latest putative challenger to the Crown appears to be the featherlight Andy Burnham, who, when he was on Newsnight about a year ago, I had to switch off out of pure embarrassment, such was his inability to string a sentence together. Here's his faux-naive response in the Sunday Times to the question - which would be arrant madness in more normal times -whether he would be interested in the top job:

Aaahhh, I’ve gone all hesitant. How do I answer that? . . . Who knows what the future holds? This may sound all corny but I have already gone way beyond what I thought I would ever achieve in politics . . . whatever I can contribute to the Labour party I will carry on doing.”

Pass the Capita sick bag. 

Saturday, 20 September 2008


I don't have the story yet.

I don't know if there is one, actually.

But when it breaks, remember you saw 'Moosegate' coined here first. JMP, always ahead of the curve.


Hope you've spotted the Astronomy Picture of the Day at the bottom of the page - often really rather luvverly.

Those hacked emails

Back to the subject of this blog's overwhelming obsession. So the fragrant SP's yahoo email account, gov.sarah@yahoo,com, was hacked- or rather, somebody simply guessed her password. She's a naughty girl for transacting government business on a personal yahoo account, of course. But how disappointing there was nothing more juicy there. Here's excerpts from JMP's top three emails we wished had been there.

3. From: Membership@Peta.Org
To: gov.sarah@yahoo.com
Re: Can I join you guys, you look so cool

Thank you for your interest in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I am delighted to attach our membership application form...

2. From: Amazon.com
To: gov.sarah@yahoo.com

Your order "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins has been dispatched...

1. From: Enquiries@AnchorageAbortionClinic.com
To: gov.sarah@yahoo.com
Your inquiry

Dear Sarah, as I said on the phone, I'm afraid it's too late to fit you in...

Meet The Teddy Bears

Great song, great video.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Northern Soul

Enough of Sarah Palin, who heard my favourite pitbull without lipstick on the Today programme this morning?  I note that JM did and has already shared his views in his typically mild mannered and considered style with the blogosphere.

I have had a soft spot for JP since his "I'm scared of Tony and so are the Tories" line at the end of the 1994 election.  I'm taken in by his plain speaking northerner persona, so a pleasure to have him back on the airwaves I say.  Much better to hear him over brekker than standard Labourspeak; 'let me be clear' 'robust' 'choice' etc.  So what if there was a bit of confusion over the name of the bank which was near collapse, who can keep up with bank collapses these days?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


You gotta love this Sarah Palin (mother of Track, Bristol etc.) child-name generator. Your humble blogger is Copper Catfish.

Left wing women and Sarah Palin

My God but it's easy to get obsessed about Sarah Palin. Part of her fascination is the reactions she causes in others. What strikes me is how she particularly angers some women on the left who focus on her in peculiarly gender and sexual-specific ways. 

My favourite example Professor Wendy Doniger, Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago, who denied, in a piece in the Washington Post, that Palin is a woman:

Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman. The Republican party's cynical calculation that because she has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!) she speaks for the women of America, and will capture their hearts and their votes, has driven thousands of real women to take to their computers in outrage. She does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.

On Salon, Cintra Wilson goes to the other extreme and sexualises her, making her a slut -remember, this a leftwing woman making these comments about another woman because she doesn't like her politics:

Palin may have been a boost of political Viagra for the limp, bloodless GOP....she is their hardcore pornographic centerfold spread.... this Republican blowup doll  does this ideological lap dance. It is a kind of eerie coincidence that Sarah Palin is being sprung on the public at the same time as the bimbo/frat-boy titty comedy "House Bunny," which features a poster of a beautiful young lady with Playmate-style bunny ears, big, stupid eyes and her mouth hanging open like someone just punched her. Sarah Palin is the White House bunny....Sarah Palin may put out to be popular....

And of course she can't be forgiven for not aborting her last child:

What her Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right.

The de-feminising of Thatcher, especially by Spitting Image, was to her clear electoral advantage. This furious feminist assault on another populist rightwing woman is likely, it seems to me, to have a similar effect. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Ooh, that's handy

Anyway, back to more important things.

We all know Noel "Crinkly Bottom" Edmonds - he of the deceased parental melon-shaped orbs - is a big fan of cosmic ordering, where you ask the cosmos for what you want and then, apparently, get it. But what I didn't know was that you can do it all over the internet at The Cosmic Ordering website, complete with a useful form ready topped and tailed -

To the Cosmos,

Please accept my request for the following orders by the dates specified ...

With love and Appreciation,

And it's free! Though I dread to think what spam you are deluged with afterwards. I've just asked the cosmos to slap Noel Edmonds round the face with a fish live on his new show. Well, he does say it will "mend broken Britain". 

Fingers crossed.

NEC ducks its clear duty

The NEC of the Labour Party has refused to issue nomination forms despite requests to do so. It said in its press release -

"The NEC fully endorses the view of the Labour Party's General Secretary and the party's independent legal advisors. A Leadership election when in Government can only be held if requested by a majority of party conference on a card vote, only Labour MPs can trigger the process and the NEC is confident that most MPs know their responsibilities under the rules.

"The Labour Party has followed this procedure for 11 years, as long as we have been in government under these present rules, and it has not required the issue of nomination forms at any time.

Here are the relevant rules (Labour Party Rule Book 2004):

4.B(ii). Where there is no vacancy [for leader or deputy leader], nominations shall be sought each year prior to the annual session of party conference. In this case any nomination must be supported by 20 per cent of the Commons members of the PLP. Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

4.D(ii). When the PLP is in government and the leader and/ or deputy leader are prime minister and/ or in Cabinet, an election shall proceed only if requested by a majority of party conference on a card vote.

I can't see any ambiguity. There is a clear duty to seek nominations each year where there is no vacancy.

If I was a Labour Party member, I'd be pretty pissed off over this.

Incidentally, the BBC item on the Rules doesn't mention the duty to seek nominations at all.

Monday, 15 September 2008

So farewell then...

Rick Wright of Pink Floyd. By all accounts, a nice, modest, quiet bloke. (Like his bandmate, David Gilmour, come to think of it.) 

Mellow yellow

So the Lib Dems have approved tax cut plans for people on "low and middling salaries". It wasn't that long ago that they wanted a penny on income tax, was it? 

I follow politics reasonably closely, and I used to have a certain instinctive sympathy for the Lib Dems. Now I can honestly say that I don't have any sense of their intellectual underpinnings anymore, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.  

Still, Lembit makes me chuckle. (h/t Mrs Dale)

Claim of the year. Indisputably.

Credit crunch? Feh. Implosion of the Labour Party? So what. No, this is a real bombshell -

"My dead parents are melon-sized orbs" - Noel Edmonds.

No, I'm not going to explain it. You're going to have pay the penance of visiting the Mail's website here.

Shayler thinks he's the son of God. Noel Edmonds claims that his dead mum and dad are - well, melon-sized orbs. What next? John Humphreys announces that Nicolas Sarkozy is the reincarnation of his childhood cat? 

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Oh, bless

Lovely interview by Eddie Mair with Siobhan McDonagh on PM on Radio 4 on Friday.

Asked whether she had been sacked as a junior whip, SB rather charmingly answered something like "I don't know, but that's what a lady from ITV has just told me."

Eddie Mair [kindly, jokey tone]: "And they tend to be right, don't they."

SM: "Yes, I suppose they do."

Incidentally, amazingly pronounced Australian intonation - going up at the end of sentences? As though always asking questions? - from SB. Austr. int. was put in Room 101 by Stephen Fry - reason 412 why he is the National Treasure of National Treasures.

Didn't see that coming

Blimey. David Shayler, who breached the OSA and sold out MI5 to the Mail not out of ideological or political conviction but because he wanted to publicise some bureaucratic weaknesses within the Service, has "done an Icke" - to use the technical psychiatric term - and thinks he's the son of God.

I enjoyed this on his website:

"This is all rather embarrassing for someone who was an atheist technocrat three years ago. And I am painfully aware how mad all this sounds.

There is however ancient evidence to show that the Messiah is phonetically called ‘David Shayler’. When added to recent signs which have appeared independently of me – including a Messianic Cross of Saturn, Mercury, Venus and the Sun in the skies on 7/7/7, the day I was proclaimed Messiah -- it has become inescapable that a higher power is indicating that I am the anointed or chosen one who has come to save humanity."

Embarrassing's one word for it. Still, I was rather charmed by the headline on his website: "I'm Brian and so is my wife". (Interesting how the correct line from Life of Brian - "I'm Brian, and so's my wife"- flows so much better.)

Lead me to the mosh pit!

Friends to stay for the weekend, including a heavy metal fan. Some thoughts:

1. (a) HM doesn't have any respect in the wider world. It's a bit of a joke: literally, of course, in the case of the sublime This Is Spinal Tap*. (b) Lyrically it is obsessed with violence, death and decay. (c) In my experience HM fans are some of the gentlest, nicest people you could ever meet. I'd rather share a late night empty tube carriage with a scary looking bloke with long hair and an Anthrax tee-shirt than any other category of unknown lone male. 

(a), (b) and (c) must all be related. Someone do some research on it!

2. It's amazingly diverse. Black metal, death metal, the spooky doom metal, the extreme grindcore, thrash (which I quite like, if I'm honest) - the list goes on, and they're all different, and the musical virtuosity can be stunning. 

3. But, and this is one of several sticking points for me, they all feature vocal styles, whether shouting or shrieking, that sound a bit, well, silly.

4. I can never tell if there's any irony in what they do.

5. I was glad to hear that 'true' HM fans consider Slipknot, the unpleasant mask-wearing Americans who apparently got banned from Swansea after crapping on the stage during their performance, are 'not very good, really'.

6. At the moment I plan to buy 'Master of Puppets' by Metallica next week. This will probably not survive the embarrassment I feel whenever I drift towards the HM section of a music shop.

*Lest we forget...

Nigel Tufnel: It's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I'm working on in D minor which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don't know why.
Marty DiBergi: It's very nice.
Nigel Tufnel: You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know, very much like - I'm really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it's sort of in between those, really. It's like a Mach piece, really. It's sort of...
Marty DiBergi: What do you call this?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, this piece is called "Lick My Love Pump".

Thursday, 11 September 2008


Stephen Pollard raises the question of how estate agents survive in the internet age. And unashamedly enjoys watches branches round him go to the wall. 

I'm with him on this one. Estate agents add sod all value to house buying, which is stressful enough without having to be civil to some little wideboy twat or clueless henrietta. Let's do it all on the net and watch the buggers starve. 

Splash, rip, splash, rip...

"Having someone throw buckets of cold saltwater at your face while you rip up fifty pound notes."

That's sailing, according to one definition. In a hat tip to the excellent John Frankland, who took us on this course I'm just back from, allow me to introduce you to his son's blog. This lad is building a fully functioning submarine in his dad's garage. How good is that? The blog records his progress. Frankland senior built a boat in his early twenties and sailed it from England to Guernsey, so I'd say there's a fair chance of F junior disappearing safely beneath the waves before too long. Three cheers for people who still do slightly mad stuff like this. 

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Nadine loses it

The gutsy Nadine Dorries, the Christian Tory who recently tried to change the abortion laws, treads onto dodgy ground with this post on Sarah Palin's speech to the Republican Convention:

She was so good, the anger of the Left will hit her full-on from now on in. She will face smears, rumours and lies. But there's no doubt she's used to that by now: when you take any position on reducing abortions it feels as though the hounds of hell are chasing you and that is, of course, until you realise that they are!

Hmm. Not terribly helpful.

Another Government IT security lapse

Typical. I decide to go a learn to sail course the day high winds, floods (and probably plague and disease) sweep in.

Tssk. Still, it's given me a chance to draw your attention to another IT cock-up on the part of the Government. With exquisite irony, the domain name of the website of the National High-Tech Crime Unit has been allowed to lapse, and of course it's been taken over. PCPro have the details (thanks to Portswigger who drew it to my attention). Still feeling happy about the National Identity Register

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Off for a few days

But hopefully a guest poster will be around...

Because you've forgotten how good The Jam were

Love it

From coverage of the Palin campaign, it has emerged that Jewish people in Alaska are "the Frozen Chosen". 

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Compare and contrast

In the US, what an election and what fascinating politics! There's race there, gender, class (McCain doesn't know how many houses he owns; Palin is a simple 'hockey mom' from a small town), sex (Palin again with her daughter), religion and abortion: it's all in the mix, all fiercely boiling over, and it's captivating.

In the UK, meanwhile, we have doughy faced Brown, Cameron and Clegg lining up to scrap over tedious technocratic bollocks. We're forced to get our kicks from watching our PM collapse politically and, increasingly it would seem mentally, before us.  

As bad as each other?

In the UK, the main political magazines are, on the left, the New Statesman, and on the right, the Spectator. On the websites of both in recent days, there have been illuminating posts that illustrate the different types of racism on left and right.

On the New Statesman's site, a request for suggestions as to what the NS should make the subject of a major investigation led, right from the get-go, that the power of 'the Jewish lobby' and 'Zionists' be investigated. And this wasn't just crazies, either. When the political editor commented that some suggestions weren't worthy of being taken seriously, several apparently sane and well-adjusted commenters made comments such as "Why shouldn't we discuss the power of the Jewish lobby in the media? They do seem to have disproportionate power in economic and social affairs as in the US." (@gcarth). 

Meanwhile, in the last day or so, on Stephen Pollard's Spectator blog, an entry about the ethics of selling golliwogs in the UK in 2008 has displayed flashes of raw racism under the knowing and oh-so sophisticated  'oh, what PC nonsense' comments, such as the delightful 'Hmmm - how about a golliwog equipped for housebreaking, carjacking or a mugging...." from one Bill Corr. 

It's easy for bloggers to bang on about the far Left and its slimy anti-Semitism, which is now deep in the DNA of the SWP, for example; it's important to remember the equally nasty casual racism on the right.

Counsel of despair

"Counsel" is the impeccably liberal house magazine of barristers (or to use the correct term, "utter barristers"). In the most recent issue, the question is raised (but not answered) - "Is it an incitement to religious hatred [and therefore a criminal offence - JM] to denounce as abhorrent the Islamic principle in some traditions that apostasy be punished by death?" There is also discussion of the publication of the Danish cartoons which nowhere considers, or even mentions, the idea that no-one has a right not to be offended, nor the principle of freedom of expression.

That whirring sound you hear is John Stuart Mill turning in the grave.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Quirky lyric break (2)

Band? (Or more like a solo effort, to be fair)

"If you negotiate the minefield in the drive,
And beat the dogs, and cheat the cold, electronic eyes..."

Monday, 1 September 2008


Well, contrary to the snarky impression given by my post below , Sarah Palin has certainly given everyone loads to talk about. Internet rumours that her youngest child is really her daughter's appear to be wide of the mark, but 17-year old Bristol (strange what you call your kids in Alaska - her Downs syndrome son is called Trig) is, it turns out pregnant and - shock horror! - unmarried! Though she is marrying the father. Phew. Can't believe this will damage the McCain campaign at all. If anything, it can only make Palin seem more human. Even weirdie fundies can't be too upset given she is keeping the child and that the father is 'standing by her'.


"The luff cringle is lashed down or, more likely, hooked to a 'ramshorn' at the forward end of the boom (the 'gooseneck'). The clew cringle is hauled down to the boom by means of a rope 'pennant' rove through a series of carefully sited blocks or sheaves either inside or outside the after part of the boom."

This is how to 'reef the main' (don't ask, I've forgotten already) from an introductory - introductory!! - guide to sailing (the admittedly very good "The Complete Day Skipper" by Tom Cunliffe, who sounds a nice old cove, if you're interested). I have never come across a subject more opaque and more laden with odd, impenetrable terms. And I'm a lawyer.