Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Street sign

The world's most boring website

I have seen this described as.

Personally, I think it's rather stylish and performs a very useful service. 

Monday, 30 March 2009

JArthurgate: further (hopefully final) thoughts

1. Jacqui Smith has two children, a ten year old and a fifteen year old. Dickie Timney has the majority of childcare duties because of the demands of his wife's job, and we know from Smith's comments that she was not at home (sorry, not at second home) when the 'adult' films were watched. So presumably Dickie was looking after the children at the time. How lovely: bouffant Dickie downstairs, bashing the old bishop, while Smith minors were upstairs. Classy.

2. If you're claiming benefits, and you mistakenly claim more than you're allowed, saying that it is a mistake is no defence. Offering to pay back the sum improperly claimed might be enough to satisfy the authorities, or you might be prosecuted in any event. Meanwhile, with MP's expenses, the fact that a claim was made 'inadvertently or 'by mistake', with the extra being repaid, is the end of the matter. In other words, apart from the risk of your fiddle being publicised, there is no incentive not to attempt to defraud the system. Why not?

And the risk of your fiddle being publicised is decreasing: the Government's response to reporting of fraudulent expenses claim is to let it be known that a search is on for a mole in the Fees Office. We shouldn't be surprised. When the whistle is blown on improper behaviour, this Government's response is always to hunt and bully the whistle-blower.

3. Love the fact that Jacqui's website says that 'she still lives in Redditch'. I thought she lived in her sister's boxroom?

4. Had to love this from comedian Liam Mullone's blog:

Despite his poor choice of wife, you have to feel sorry for Richard Timney. But it’s embarrasing for us, too. The entire nation feels like it has walked into Richard’s bedroom to find him in session with his honorable friend. And collectively we’ve put his cup of tea down on the bedside table and said “We’ll talk about this in the morning”. BBC political correspondent Gary O’Donoghue said that “Jacqui plans to give her husband a real ear-bashing when she gets home”. So at least they’ll match his cock.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Cocktail hour: Onangate edition

Hans has been most entertained by 'Onangate' (see below). Looking at the picture of Mr Smith (or 'Richard Timney' as he calls himself) above - for the benefit of our American readers, he's the one on the left - Hans has convinced himself that 'Dickie', with that sensitive little greying goatee, may well be a friend of Dorothy, and has taken to declaiming that 'he always knew' that 'there was a whiff of lavender' about the marriage. He has suggested a couple of possible titles for the videos at the centre of Onangate, none of which is suitable for repetition in a family blog such as this, though let's just say that we never got up to that kind of thing in the army when I was in the CCF at school.  

This is by way of explanation for the fact that Hans would like to dedicate this CH to Richard T. He's gone very simple, with the classic Kir Royale: a measure of kir (creme de cassis) topped up with champagne.  It's clear that while Jackboot Jacqui's away, the boy will play, so let us leave Hans clinking a virtual glass of Kir Royale with Dickie 'good with colours' Timney.

Titles of the Jacqui Smith porn films

Every report I read tells me that Smith's husband watched Ocean's 13, Surf's Up (what's that?), and 'two adult films'. But what were those films? Knowing it was 'Cum in my ass, not on my face!' or 'Chicks with Dicks Vol. IV' that Jacqui's right hand man was watching, while she was out ripping up the last of our ancient civil liberties, would be the final detail necessary to complete a superb Sunday story. Answers please!

Terence Trent D'Arby

It suddenly struck me yesterday, as I found myself humming 'Sign Your Name' - what a ludicrous name. And nobody at the time, so far as I remember, commented on the daftness of the monicker. Perhaps it made sense in the '80's. It probably also helped that he's black and American, rather than, say, a nice middle class lad from Surrey. 

The eternal depositary of all truth, Wikipedia, tells me that he's now calling himself Sananda Maitreya, 'after a series of dreams'. 

Friday, 27 March 2009

Wayne Ross

is Sarah Palin's new Attorney General in Alaska. He sounds as nutty as a fruitcake.

Here are a couple of excerpts from pieces about him in the Anchorage Daily News:

One of Ross' clients a defendant in an assault case once offered to pay his legal fees with the Smith & Wesson 9mm automatic that was seized during his arrest. When the client pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, the court impounded the handgun for costs.

Ross protested and promptly filed a "Writ of Habeas Pistola" in which he argued that it was "too fine a weapon to give to the state, where it would not be appreciated."

The gun was released.


Ross swings open the thick door to his gun vault and motions his guest inside. The large, concrete-block room is cool and dry and crowded with guns.

They fill square glass cases on tables, they sit on shelves in scabbards. Over the years, Ross has collected more than 300 of them pistols, rifles, semiautomatics both common and exotic, all oiled and polished, each one impeccably cared for, most of them ready to fire.


UK complicity in torture

There's been a lot of talk, falling out of the case of Binyam Mohamed, about 'complicity in torture'. But what does that mean? I suggest it's all a bit murky.

Let's pretend Country X has captured a man, AB. AB is a suspected terrorist, and thought to be well placed within a significant terrorist organisation.* Country X comes to the UK and says, 'We have captured AB. We are going to question him. We are willing to share the intelligence from that interrogation with you. Would you like us to put any particular questions to him?'

Now, we know that Country X has a poor human rights record. It is likely that AB will be mistreated during his interrogation. It is possible that mistreatment will qualify as torture.

We also know that AB may have information that if we had it would lead, directly or indirectly, to innocent British lives being saved. In any event, it's pretty much a dead cert that he can provide exceptionally valuable intelligence, and this is a very rare opportunity to get it.

We also know that Country X is going to interrogate him whether we ask for questions to put to him or not.

So we say to Country X, 'Ok, thanks, but the UK does not torture and does not condone torture. Do you promise not to mistreat AB during his questioning?'

And Country X replies 'We don't torture! And of course we won't mistreat AB'.

We doubt whether Country X's assurance is worth much. But it might be.

Is the UK complicit in torture and at moral fault if we take up Country X's offer to put some questions to AB, and it turns out he was tortured during the interrogation?

*I'm not suggesting that this applies to Binyam Mohamed.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

It's not too late!

Order here; you'll still be able to enjoy her April through December. I'm so diggin' the casual sling of the gun over her shoulder. Shame you can't see the slaughtered moose she's standing on. Or is the barrel actually pointing at Levi Johnston, kneeling on the floor and begging for his life?

Lucky or unlucky?

In case you missed it, here's the story of a bloke who was in Hiroshima on a business trip on 6 August 1945, got nuked, then managed to make his way back to his home town of Nagasaki...

I think you can guess what happened next ('Hi honey, I'm home! Christ what a trip!...Hang on, the sun's a bit bright, isn't it?...Oh balls, not again!').

He's still, alive, Lord love him, so let's hope this story puts the lid on all this 'fall-out from nuclear weapons is bad for you' namby-pamby PC nonsense once and for all.

I'm lovin' it...*

...the Guido/Dolly Draper smackdown, that is. Draper's little 'dossier of evidence' against Guido, culled from a couple of newspaper diary pieces, is a masterpiece of bathos and own-foot shooting.

It's all entertaining in itself, and it diverts attention away, in welcome fashion, from the gulp-inducing meltdown of our economy. There's a terrifying take on that subject by Edmund Conway in the Torygraph -

...Frightening as the failure of the gilt auction yesterday was, the real horror lies some months or even years ahead. It will come after the Government has already borrowed two, three, four hundred billion more, when the Bank is no longer buying gilts to finance "quantitative easing" but is getting rid of them, on top of those being sold as part of the Government's usual borrowing. But at that point, investors should be piling back into the stock market, and will no longer be willing to splash out on safer government debt. Thus, the Nightmare on Threadneedle Street really begins.

How will it unfold? Even in the best-case scenario, the vastly increased size of the public debt, alongside investors' unwillingness to fund it at anything like the present interest rates, will push up financing costs for the Government. That sounds pretty harmless, until you realise that when the Government has to pay higher interest rates, the rest of us do, too. At worst, investors from home and overseas will simply give up on funding the UK. Sick and tired of pouring cash into a currency whose controllers are intent on over-borrowing and, one presumes, inflating that debt away in the future, they will simply abandon ship. When that money dries up, the UK will be left rather like Iceland – except that our accumulated debts are so big that not even the International Monetary Fund could afford to mop them up.

*McDonalds - I really think you should sponsor this blog. I love and admire your scrapulous product; I'll give you a mention every week, and it'll come in under £50k pa for you. Mail me and let's talk turkey, fellas!

Other people's lives

Overheard this morning: roadcrew member, leaning on shovel, telling his fellow workers what he's got for lunch.

Man: I've got cheese and onion sandwiches...in a tupperware box thing...baked beans...

Other Man: What, cold?

Man: Cold.

All (except first man): Eeurrgh!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

I liked this so much...

...I had to steal it from Captain Haddock's site. It is, as you can see, a big cock drawn on the roof of a house somewhere in the Home Counties that is proudly visible on Google Earth.

Drawing cocks - often in unlikely places, or of unlikely dimensions - is an important part of the British character, and something at which we still excel. This genius begins early: what would a British school desk be without a cock and balls scratched onto it by a compass needle?

Well done to the anonymous artist in this case, and three cheers for our gallant, patriotic phallus graffiti-ers!

Update: I've just remembered that the phenomenon is documented by England's greatest 20th century poet, Larkin: who can forget the girl on the poster advertising the joys of
'Sunny Prestatyn', who, courtesy of graffiti, is set 'fairly astride/A tuberous cock and balls'?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sarah Palin and Scientology

Quick now - what would make Sarah Palin an even more unappealling 2012 candidate than she is already?

Tough isn't it. But how about if she was in bed with Scientology? Works for me.

Well, the head of her secret Political Action Committee is, according to the Washington Post, John Coale, a very big cheese Scientologist. Hey, he did the Route To Infinity Course (ffs) back in 1990. And, claims Gawker, he is now an OT-VII, the second highest level of Scientologist.

Moreover, and just as tellingly, Palin has developed very close ties to Coale's wife, who is also a member of the ludicrous cult*. Gawker reports:

Coale is also the husband of Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren, whom he recruited into the church. Van Susteren's penetration of the Palin clan is total—she's been in Alaska practically every other week burnishing Palin's image in friendly profiles. The church's recruitment strategy has always been to snag high-profile converts like Tom Cruise and Will Smith, and it is well known for dispatching operatives on elaborate covert schemes to draw unsuspecting targets into the cocoon.

Much more at Huff Po here.

Oh, this could run and run.

* Scientologists hold that 75 million years ago Xenu the alien - crazy name, crazy guy - transported millions of people to earth on spaceships. Don't forget, when you see Cruise and Travolta on screen, that's what those muppets actually believe.

Creationism in south California

One of the excellent pieces of merchandise at the creationist museum at Cabazon in California, visited recently by Ringo of Ringo's Pictures. You can tell they're looney-tunes by that appallingly misplaced apostrophe - "it's inhabitants" indeed!

And here's a Crusader fighting off some velociraptors - one of the perils of 11th century life that had, I must admit, passed me by until now.

More photos of this nonsense here.

I thought this kind of stuff was limited to the mid-West bible-belters. I mean, California? Surely that's all surfers and internet start-ups?

Monday, 23 March 2009

Latest from Andy Burnham's Twitter feed

Really upset about Jade, was saint of heat generation. :( Will be telling Gordon that Stansted shd be renamed East Angular airport, and her body placed in crystal casket & suspended over Commons chamber. with lasers shining on it during debates.

10.02 am from Twitterberry

The four colour theorum hits the internets

Ah, a perfect microcosm of internet life.

Stage 1: 'Science News' publishes on its site an interesting-enough article on the 'four colour' theorum. Opening paragraphs, to remind you of the f.c.t. -

In 1852, botanist Francis Guthrie noticed something peculiar as he was coloring a map of counties in England. Despite the counties’ meandering shapes and varied configurations, four colors were all he needed to shade the map so that any two bordering counties were different colors. Perhaps, he speculated, four colors were enough for any map.

Little did Guthrie know the load of trouble he unleashed with his innocent conjecture. It took mathematicians nearly a century and a quarter to prove him right, and even that wasn’t enough to close the Pandora’s box Guthrie had opened. Mathematicians pulled out their markers and tried to color everything in sight.

Stage 2: An arrogant and intellectually challenged man leaps in to comment -

Imagine a map where every county was a hexagon. Every county would touch 6 other counties, and this map would, at a minimum, require 7 colors so that any two bordering counties were different colors. "It took mathematicians nearly a century and a quarter to prove him right". It took me two seconds to prove the statement in this article wrong.

Bob Smith
Mar. 19, 2009 at 1:13pm

Stage 3: Bob is politely corrected -

Sorry Bob, but you are the one in error. To need seven colors requires not only that each country touches six others, but that each of those countries touch the same of those other six, which does not occur. You have cliques of three, and you require three colors.

Colin Day
Mar. 19, 2009 at 8:42pm

And stage 4: Bob is mocked -

@BobTook me 3 seconds to read your comment, and took me a LONG time to finish laughing. This country needs to catch up in Math&Sciences. No wonder the Asians and the European are laughing at us...

Ka C
Mar. 20, 2009 at 3:40pm


Sunday, 22 March 2009

Cocktail hour

We've reached J in Hans' A to Z cocktail challenge: getting near to halfway through. Hans is having one of his sulks, actually, at the moment, after we missed last weekend's CH. Plus the atmosphere in JMP Towers is more than a little fractious, Barbara The Cat having responded badly to the introduction of The Cat Flap over the weeekend, and now hissing evilly at her sister Margot whenever the two of them cross in the hall, whereas until today they'd kiss and curl up together. Not-at-all obsessive research on internet cat forums - oh yes, they do exist - suggests this is far from a rare phenomenon. 'A vet' comments on one 'Don't try to understand cats. They are very, very, very strange creatures.' Wise words, and a reason why they are so much more interesting and rewarding than dogs, but that's a whole other post. 

Difficult times, then, so in an attempt to lighten the mood, I've persuaded Hans to choose the Jelly Baby for this week's cocktail. Now, there are many cocktails that claim to mimic the particular taste of Jelly Baby, but Hans can report, after several hours with his focus group behind the bikesheds of the local boys grammar, that the best is as follows:

One measure Archers (peach schnapps) 
One measure Malibu
One measure Smirnoff red vodka
One measure Blue Curaco (come on, you've got some at the back of that cupboard in the kitchen)  
2 little bottles pineapple juice
Lemonade to taste 
Beaucoup de ice

Slosh together. Stir. Drink in the spring sunshine. It does taste like jelly babies. And gets you as pissed as a sixth form disco.

PS Hans adds - aren't we all just loving the Matt Crawford fraud arrest plot on the Archers?

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Sarah Palin haikus

You knew there was a gap in your literary life, but you couldn't put your finger on it, right? Right. JMP always knows. Well, that gap will be filled, my friend, by a visit to the wonderful 'Why Sarah Palin Is So Freaking Awesome' blog (AELRT not ironic! not ironic!), which, amongst its many treats, features, yes, Sarah Palin haikus.

Here's a taster:

Moose hunting Mom and
Governor of Alaska
Sarah does it all!

I was so inspired, I had to have a go myself at a cheery SP haiku (and commenter JG did after all, in a comment on an earlier post, ask for this blog's take on Bristolgate):

Grandmother of bastard
Her family mired in sin -
They will burn in hell.

It's kinda fun! You betcha!
Update: more Sarah Palin haikus than any half-way normal person could possibly desire or need here.


If you're the Google user who landed on this humble little blog yesterday by searching for 'mac and piss', I do hope you found what you were looking for. We aim to please.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Only surprise is it took so long

Barack Obama's teleprompter has a blog.

Sample quote:

Now I need to come clean. Those meetings back in 2002 where Holbrooke was speaking to his fellow AIG board members and telling them that it was a good idea to open that London office to handle mortgage swap derivatives? My dad was his Teleprompter.

I feel so dirty. Where's the Windex?


...yes to Democracy, is a group (a coalition of trade unionists, political parties and campaigning groups, to be precise) that has the aim of defending democracy in the EU from a leftwing perspective.

Good stuff, about time, etc. It would be nice for opposition to the lack of democratic accountability within the EU to be seen no longer as the exclusive interest of elderly white Conservatives, and the semi-racist weirdos at UKIP. Democracy is a fundamentally left-wing project, ffs!

"We say...
Reject the Lisbon Treaty
No to EU directives that privatise our public services
Defend and develop manufacturing, agriculture and fishing industries in Britain
Repeal anti-trade union ECJ rulings and EU rules promoting social dumping
No to racism and fascism, Yes to international solidarity of working people
No to EU militarisation
Repatriate democratic powers to EU member states
Replace unequal EU trade deals with fair trade that benefits developing nations
Scrap EU rules designed to stop member states from implementing independent economic policies
Keep Britain out of the eurozone"

Hmmm. Much of that rings JMP's bell. Interesting to see how it develops. More here.

It's Friday...

...and so thoughts naturally turn to the great issues of the day, chief among which is: what are the greatest TV opening credits of all time?

My vote, after long and considered thought, goes to the Sopranos. Everything is fantastic, and taken together, it all fits the series absolutely perfectly. Great camerawork; superb editing and lighting; and great, great music ('Woke up this morning' by Alabama 3). A little mini narrative is created that tells you a huge amount about the main character in a small amount of time (and with no dialogue).

Even, to get sad(der) for a minute, the font is just right.

Surely none better?

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Beaming in from Planet Stupid...

...also known as America, is the news that just over 4 out of every ten American adults believe that dinosaurs and early humans lived on the earth at the same time. (Wonder if the rising tide of creationism in the US played a part in some of those responses?)

I have to admit that I love these surveys, apparently specifically designed to encourage other nations to laugh at Americans. "Bloody hell, 72% of Americans think that France is in Africa! Ha ha!" Brilliant.

Still, I have to confess that one of the other 'blimey they're pig ignorant' factoids in this story - Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. - made me pause for a minute. Year or day? Day or year?

Oh God. Am I Dumb As A Yank?

That joke isn't funny any more

In a piece of tepid and tired contraversialism, one Thomas H Green (you can tell he's a bit of a plonker just by that 'H'; the crappest one in Steps was called 'H', wasn't he?) writing in the Torygraph says, at the end of an attack piece on the new boxset of Radiohead's OK Computer:

For me Radiohead lurk around the top of only one poll, and that's as the second most overrated band of all time. Number one, of course, is The Smiths, but don't let's even start on that.

Now have a pop at Radiohead if you want for being whingy, prog-rock, blah de blah. It's hardly the first time it's been done, and if you can't get over that to appreciate the music and the innovation, well, hard luck because you're missing out. But his snide little digs at Thom Yorke and co aren't what what really got me about H's article. No, what got me was the lazy throw-away one line attack on the Smiths, quoted above.

The Smiths are just about the only band that I have listened to more, and appreciate more, as I've got older. I couldn't stand them when I first heard them in the '80's; now I think that they are quite clearly the best and most important band of that decade, with The Queen Is Dead that decade's finest album. Morrissey's lyrics and Marr's guitar just sound better and better with the passing of the years.

In short, slagging off the Smiths is simply unforgiveable, and if Thomas H Green had any decency he'd go home, and cry, and want to die.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Doesn't time fly

Sorry for communication breakdown.

Very busy and all that. Too busy trying to take impressionistic photographs of Venice at night. You know what it's like. Nightmare. Hopefully normal service will now be resumed and so on. 

Thursday, 12 March 2009

JMP's long weekend

Back Monday.

The Left kicks Tibetans in the teeth, Part 94

Andy Newman over at Socialist Unity is at it now, attacking the Dalai Lama and claiming that independence would not be in the best interests of Tibetans. Because Andy would know, you see. "There is no automatic linkage between the desire to express national and cultural identity and the desire for a separate state", he tells us. Ah. Stupid old Tibetans, they should be aware of that lack of an automatic linkage.

What, human rights? Democracy? Self-determination? No, what's more important for large parts of the Left at the moment is that we keep our "hands off China". Heaven forfend that we pick on them for, well, oppressing an entire people, trying to destroy a culture, torturing dissidents...

Lesbians, home and away

I've commented before that I was born at the wrong time.

Now the bombshell news that there is going to be a lesbian storyline on Home and Away confirms it. Such a plotline during the 1980's would have cheered up my teenage years no end.

Luton, Muslim radicals and freedom of speech

The protest by a small group of radical Muslims in Luton at the home-coming parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment, described by the BBC as an "anti-war" protest*, has raised all the usual, interesting points about freedom of speech.
t is clear to me that

a) such demonstrators have the right to exercise their freedom of speech within the limits of the law;

b) the demonstration was not within the limits of the law; the demonstrators were committing offences under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 (I've bolded what I think is relevant in this case) -

5. Harassment, alarm or distress.—

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby. ;

c) in any event, the police could and should have seen that the demonstration was highly likely to cause a breach of the peace, and moved on the demonstrators for that reason;

d) it is highly likely that this didn't happen and no arrests were made - save of members of the public offended by the demonstration - because of police sensitivities about racism, Islamophobia etc. Consideration of obvious counterfactuals involving eg the BNP and demonstrations outside mosques is instructive here; and

e) it is wrong - both in terms of principle and for more pragmatic reasons - for the police to be guided by such considerations when enforcing the law.

So far, so relatively uncontentious.

But if there are such protests again, and the police take a similar line, we are, it seems to me, facing a very dangerous situation. A group of bearded Muslim men screaming abuse and insults at British troops lays bare significant cultural fault lines in this country, and extremists on both sides would welcome this. If the Luton protest is repeated round the country, and the police act as they did in Luton, then, combined with the deepening recession, the UK faces the very real prospect of a summer of civil unrest, and the final fragmentation of urban multi-culturalism.

*From the Times editorial today: The Islamist demonstrators in Luton who this week barracked soldiers returning from Iraq have been widely described as anti-war protesters. That is a big assumption. Their banners carried slogans including “Muslims Rise Against British Oppressors” and “Anglian Soldiers Go To Hell”. A local MP has claimed that they were linked to al-Muhajiroun - a now defunct organisation that applauded the 9/11 attacks and sought the establishment of a theocratic Muslim state. The protest appears to have been organised by a splinter from that group called Ahle Sunnah al Jamah, which promises more such events.

Whatever their formal affiliation, it is a reasonable inference that the protesters are not anti-war but pro-war. The war they favour is the one being prosecuted, in various parts of the world, by theocratic terrorism against open societies - and also closed ones that adhere to a different form of religious observance

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Quote of the day

There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment.

- US State Department official involved in planning Gordon Brown's visit to Washington

Oh come on guys. Talk about kicking us when we're down. We didn't need to know that in Obama's mind we rank roughly equal with Burkina Faso, not right now.


Child hyperthermia

Important, beautifully written and very, very moving article in the Washington Post today about parents who have left their babies in the back of their car on a hot day, resulting in the child's death: a far commoner occurence than you'd think. If you're a parent of a baby or small child and you drive, you simply must read it.

A small excerpt:

"Death by hyperthermia" is the official designation. When it happens to young children, the facts are often the same: An otherwise loving and attentive parent one day gets busy, or distracted, or upset, or confused by a change in his or her daily routine, and just... forgets a child is in the car. It happens that way somewhere in the United States 15 to 25 times a year, parceled out through the spring, summer and early fall. The season is almost upon us.

Two decades ago, this was relatively rare. But in the early 1990s, car-safety experts declared that passenger-side front airbags could kill children, and they recommended that child seats be moved to the back of the car; then, for even more safety for the very young, that the baby seats be pivoted to face the rear. If few foresaw the tragic consequence of the lessened visibility of the child . . . well, who can blame them? What kind of person forgets a baby?

The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.

Last year it happened three times in one day, the worst day so far in the worst year so far in a phenomenon that gives no sign of abating.

Read the whole thing.

H/t Alex Massie at Coffee House.

Northern Ireland Timeline

4 March 2009: it is announced that Edward Kennedy is to receive an honourary knighthood

7 March 2009: two soldiers at a barracks in Antrim are shot dead by dissident Republicans

9 March 2009: an officer of the PSNI is shot dead by dissident Republicans

Someone, somewhere, has a very dark sense of humour.

Monday, 9 March 2009


Just checked Andy Burnham's Twitter feed.

"in toilets at work shaving off pubes. am collecting them in plastic bag to make sweater for my rabbit!! lol!!
5.46pm from Twitterberry"

I mean, this man's in the Cabinet. Is there nothing we can do?

"An earth-shattering calamity is about to happen"

No, Andy Burnham isn't about to appear on Question Time. Relax. It's just that David Wilkerson, author of The Cross and the Switchblade (edited read: gang leader finds Jesus) and, until now, reasonably respected pastor, has been "compelled by the Holy Spirit to send out an urgent message". He's done so on his blog: whether the HS specified this as the best means of communication is unclear.

David writes:



For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City.

Oh, I know David. You bang on for years and years and do they listen? Do they hell. Nightmare.

It will engulf the whole megaplex,

Surely that's a cinema?

including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut.

Love the bathetic quality of that "areas of". It's an earth-shattering calamity, but parts of Connecticut will be fine? What's so earth-shattering about that? Come on, David!

Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.

That's more like it.

There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City.

Be a bit odd if Times Square was a looting-free zone in all the circs, really, I'd have thought.

What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath.

Now that's a line David Cameron could think about using. Catchy. Would spice up PMQs.

Luckily, Wilkerson has some practical advice:

If possible lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials.

Good thinking. See you in the tinned soups aisle at the Co-Op.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Cocktail hour

Hans, JMP's resident mixologist, has for once had a quiet weekend, spending it glued to a box set of The Jewel In The Crown, and making liberal use of the freeze-frame facility during Charles Dance's scenes. He s now entertaining fantasies of becoming a missionary in the subcontinent, despite leaving his family's Catholicism behind a long time ago (except during his unforgettable Like A Virgin phase); he claims with a twinkle that a change of career would be good, as it's 'always good to try a new position'. He's convinced it would be like an extended holiday in Goa, but with fabulously camp outfits to wear to work.

So it is perhaps inevitable that his cocktail of choice this week, as we reach I in his great A to Z Challenge is the Indian Summer. The IS is a cocktail that demands the use of a cocktail shaker, which adds a certain element of drama to its preparation that appeals hugely to Hans. Put 1 measure of vodka, one of kahlua, and two of pineapple juice into the shaker, with some ice. Shake in the traditional manner, and strain it into a tumbler. A perfect accompaniment to Peggy Ashcroft, Art Malik, and of course Mr Dance.

Viz and the Cabinet

It's one of the key issues of our time, yet one which the so-called serious press has been nervously side-stepping - which Viz characters do members of the Cabinet most resemble? And after some in depth research and analysis, JMP is able to provide some answers.

Harriet Harman is easy. The humourless harridan is 85% Millie Tant; and after recent performances of pathological, transparent mendacity ('Goodwin got his knighthood for services to the Princes Trust'; 'women are suffering more than men in the recession') she must also be counted 15% Aldridge "he's a hopeless liar" Prior.

David Miliband is also relatively easy. The banana-holding schoolboy Foreign Secretary is a 60% Mr Logic and 40% Student Grant.

Ed Balls is, clearly, Finbarr Saunders.

Andy Burnham, quite possibly the biggest knob in the Cabinet against stiff (fnarr fnarr) competition is Terry Fuckwit.

Jacqui Smith is Tracey Tunstall, Fat Slag, of course.

Jack Straw reminds me irrestistably of Playtime Fonteyn.

And Alistair Darling must be one of the Vibrating Bum-Faced Goats.

Any other suggestions welcomed.

Update: dNo nails Tony Blair in the comments as a cross between the Modern Parents and Aldridge Prior.


Friday, 6 March 2009

Fact of the day

New clothes lose up to a thousandth of their weight over the course of a year to their wearer's belly button in the form of belly button fluff.

As discovered by JMP's favourite scientist, Austrain chemist Georg Steinhauser.

Mandy and the perils of daytime drinking

Peter Mandelson allegedly expressed determination this morning to go on a "Leo Sayer" today, telling senior staff that he was "gonna get twatted" on "[Bacardi] Breezers and Stella".
But after four hours heavy and solitary drinking, it had, by lunchtime, sadly and allegedly got too much for the Secretary of State, who threw up his midmorning bar snack of guacamole in Victoria Street in front of startled tourists.

Rumour has it that tragic Peter will feature in 'Booze Britain', a sensationalist look at binge drinking, on Sky later this year.

(Well done Plane Stupid, whose image this is.)


I have a big mortgage. This recession means that the value of my house is falling, but also that my mortgage payments are falling too, meaning that I can overpay each month and hence pay it off more quickly. Assuming I keep my job, does this mean the recession is good for me or not?

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Derb on Tibet

The original grumpy, pessimistic old man, National Review's John Derbyshire, is wrong about many, many things (especially gay rights), but he is right about Tibet, as this excerpt from his 'February Diary' shows; and, moreover, he is always entertaining and thought-provoking. (Says he who is still ploughing through Clare Short's snore-fest.) UK readers, note and enjoy the old-school US conservative term 'ChiCom'! -

I get a surprising amount of mockery from friends and colleagues — yes, including conservatives — when I raise the issue of Tibet. In part this is because the Tibet issue has been taken up by lefty New Age types. If you want to see FREE TIBET bumper stickers in profusion, go to Berkeley, Boulder, or Burlington, Vt. In part it’s because people, even conservative people, have to some degree absorbed the ChiCom claim that “Tibet has always been a part of China,” which is considerably less true than, for example, “Finland has always been a part of Russia,” and far less true than “Ireland has always been a part of Britain.”

It remains the case that these people, who had been minding their own business up there on the Himalayan plateau since a brief burst of national vigor in the 7th century, had their nation invaded, raped, and looted by a neighboring power, for nakedly imperialistic reasons. I should not protest about this? I shall continue to do so every chance I get. George Orwell said, referring to an obnoxiously Stalinist member of Parliament: “Some things are true even though Comrade Zilliacus says they are true.” Well, some things are true even though the Birkenstock, muesli, and mountain-bike crowd say they are true. One of those things is that China’s occupation of Tibet is a monstrous crime that should be stuck in the ChiComs’ faces to shame them at every possible opportunity.

Those in the West who defend China's position on Tibet, including those from the Left (or 'the Left'), such as the grim 'Hands Off China' campaign, really are the lowest of the low.

Free Tibet info here.

*Goodwin pension: further shock*

This site has learnt that the controversy over Sir Fred Goodwin's pension is not over yet. For in a shock development, it has emerged that under a clause in the pension agreement that has gone unnotived until now, the Chancellor must dress up as a medieval jester and dance for Mr Goodwin, waving a pig's bladder on a stick, every Tuesday evening between 6 and 8pm. Sources close to Mr Darling report that he is 'fizzing with anger', both at Mr Goodwin and Banking Minister Lord Myners, who is said to have been told about the requirement and to have seen 'nothing remotely objectionable' about it. Senior civil servants have approached Mr Goodwin to ask if the clause can be dropped, but the only response so far has been the receipt at the Treasury of a human turd in a jiffy bag addressed to 'DancerBoy Darling', with Sir Fred's business card sticking out of it.

Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman is said to be pushing for Mr Goodwin to be publicly castrated by the cast of the soap opera Emmerdale in Westminster Hall during an adjournment debate next Tuesday. Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg, meanwhile, on hearing the news said 'This seems appropriate, as Mr Darling is clearly a Fool (fool)!'. He was promptly ignored.


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

JMP's got mail!

Some snippets from a delightful note sent to the JMP email address:

Just stumbled upon your comments about the diplomat who was arrested for making rascist comments about the jews. I feel certain he actually did say the words he is accused of. I certainly hope he did say these words and I can assure you that many more of us throughout this planet are saying the same and more.

You should also be condemning the jew and a lot of non jews also and for the same reasons – murder, robbery, torture, genocide, and more.

For over 60 years now the jew, with much non –jew support, has done some of the most dastardly deeds.


Many of the Christian churches, crackpots that they are, fully support the jew and well known television evangelists such as Pat Robertson are pleading for donations to finance the immigration of more jews into Palestine. Even after the jew has completely stolen all of Palestine, they will not stop there.


Ron, an American whose ancestors came to this country on the Mayflower and I am part Cherokee Indian.

Thanks, Ron, for reminding me that anti-semitic loonies come in all shapes and sizes!

Ben Brogan on Harriet 'Court of Public Opinion' Harman

All rise! The court is now in session. Those supporting old-fashioned notions such as the rule of law can get out now...

Mr Brogan reports in his blog:

Emerging from my weekend wilderness, I've been trying to work out why Harriet Harman's "the law is what we say it is" policy sounds so familiar. Where have we heard this sort of nonsense before? And then I spotted the photo of Robert Mugabe stuffing birthday cake into his face. Of course! A quick spot of Google, and here it is:

"It might be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the Government steps in." Harriet Harman.

"We are no longer going to ask for the land, but we are going to take it without negotiating" Robert Mugabe.

"It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones." Robert Mugabe.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Rowan Laxton suspended

At last. Senior FCO official, Rowan 'fucking Jews!' Laxton, has finally been suspended. Perhaps those briefing sessions with David Miliband, Foreign Secretary and, er, Jew, had got just a bit too grim.

No mention, apparently, of this development in the UK mainstream media.

Mmm...pork brains...in milk gravy...


Analogy of the day

The Chancellor is not an evil man, but is so far out of his depth that sonar systems can no longer track him. Like Mr O'Reilly, the Irish builder in Fawlty Towers, with each attempt at fixing the previous botched job, he creates a new, more threatening, set of problems. In the end, the roof falls in. Where's Mr Stubbs when we need him?
- Jeff Randall, Daily Telegraph

Jack Straw and the Iraq Cabinet minutes

Am I the only person in the blogosphere to think that the use of the Ministerial veto power to override the information Tribunal's decision and prevent the publication of the minutes of Cabinet discussions relating to the invasion of Iraq was entirely right?

Charlie Falconer (one of the few Labour ministers of recent years who you can imagine it would be fun to have a pint with) said on Radio 4 the other day that Cabinet members had to be able to be free and frank in discussion in 'a private space'. 'The critical point is, do you want cabinet government and collective responsibility to continue?' I completely agree with him. This would inevitably be the thin end of the wedge; publication in this case would be used to argue for publication in others. Sooner or later, publication of the minutes would be the default position, and rather than honest discusission, positions would be taken in Cabinet only with a view as to how they would play in the press.

Critics say that Blair practically destroyed Cabinet government anyway. Perhaps he did; but that's not a reason to knee it in the balls further. And as Clare Short's recent comments have illustrated, if you take that line it's likely that you will believe that there will be little of interest in the minutes in any event.

Talking of Short, I'm currently reading her book An Honourable Deception?, which might as well be subtitled, Why I was Right About Iraq And Why Tony Is A Bastard. I have to report that she is a terrible, terrible writer: leaden, plodding prose, sanctimonious and utterly devoid of humour, giving no insight at all into what it's actually like to be a Minister. Think of the polar opposite of Alan Clark and you'll be about right.

Harriet Harman and the court of public opinion

Harman discussing Goodwin's pension on the Andrew Marr show:

The Prime Minister has said it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted. It might be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it’s not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that’s where the Government steps in.

Politics 101 tells us that a pre-requisite of a functioning democracy that protects basic rights is respect for the rule of law. Presumably what Harman is suggesting here is legislation that will nullify one man's contractual entitlement to his pension. This is, I would suggest, wholly contrary to the rule of law. It is government-enforced mob rule.

If you still think 'so what, Goodwin's a greedy little man who deserves everything he's got coming to him', consider what else might not be 'enforceable in the court of public opinion', as convened under Judge Harman.

Update: the more you consider and ponder upon Harman's comments, the more you realise that they are utter gibberish. Just what does 'it is not enforceable in the court of public opinion' mean? Is the enforceability of certain contracts to be put to an X-Factor style phone vote? It's just drivelling shite, an insult to the electorate. But perhaps, as James Forsyth suggests at Coffee House, Downing Street is grateful for Harman's imbecility; and while an idiot, she is a useful idiot.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Cocktail hour

Well, Hans is excited that we have reached H in his A to Z cocktail challenge, as he has known from the start what cocktail he would choose - the Harvey Wallbanger, after a particularly lively and kindly-remembered gentleman acquaintance of his by the name of Harvey, who apparently loved the outdoors life. In Soho.  

Pour one part vodka to four parts orange juice onto ice. Then carefully add one part Galliano, an Italian herbal liqueur. The Galliano will sit on top of the orange juice and vodka. Sip and enjoy, while wondering what you're going to do with the rest of that bottle of Galliano.

The HW was invented in 1952 by Duke Antone, a three times world champion mixologist and a personal hero of Hans' (a black and white photo of Duke is on Hans' bedroom wall, next to the Westlife poster). Legend has it that Signor Antone also invented the Rusty Nail (drambuie and whiskey), a particular favourite of mine, and a quite magnificent cold cure. What a guy.