January 31, 2004
A Professor writes
From The Spectator
An amusing trick for bored readers: rotate your right foot in a clockwise direction, and then, while rotating, draw the number six in the air with your right hand. You'll find that your foot magically changes direction!
January 30, 2004
The Malaria Clock
The Greens and Eco-Imperialists are not just a bit annoying with their constant winging but are killing people on an unprecedented scale - one example is highlighted on Junkscience.com - the Main Page It is "The Malaria Clock" which shows an estimate of how many avoidable deaths the ban on DDT has and is causing.
Off to lunch
Unfortunatly it will be a plastic wrapped sandwich from the Petrol station not a Black Bacon™ Butty.
The combination of crisp rashers, tangy cheddar cheese, egg, avocado and mango chutney makes this 'butty' a cut above the rest!
2 thick slices of white bread
2 rashers of O'Doherty's Black Bacon™
60g/2oz Cheddar cheese, crumbled or grated
½ an avocado, thinly sliced
1 jar mango chutney
a little milk
If you have the deluxe kind of Cheddar that crumbles, crumble it by hand. Otherwise resort to a coarse grater. Fry or grill the rashers of Black Bacon™ until just crisp, keep warm. Toast the bread slices, one side only, pile the cheese on an untoasted side, sprinkle a few drops of milk on top of the cheese and grill until the cheese bubbles.
Meanwhile fry or poach the egg (eggs poach fine, yolk pricked, in a ramekin in a domestic microwave).
Spread a generous layer of mango chutney on the cheese, then the rashers of Black Bacon™, then the avocado, a twist of black pepper and top with the other slice of bread, toasted side up.
(where does the egg go?)
The Full English
The full English Breakfast is one of our national treasures - sadly it is only in Hotels that most of us ever eat nowadays.
Munching my way through the sausage this morning under the eye of the feckwit Manager of the hotel I was reminded of my Vegetarian friend saying that he enjoyed a Full English with Quorn Sausages, Veggie Bacon etc. I queried whether it could taste as good as proper bacon and eggs.
"Probably not, but then I always have a line of Coke first so I don't really care."
I think I will stick to my rashers....
Hutton - a wise old bird?
Here's a suggestion I heard last night.
Hutton is not a government toady as it appears. If he had given Tony a light slapping for being a bit sparing of Actualité then Tony could have said "sorry" and "we can all move on". If he had been harsh with the Government than he would have overstepped his constitutional position by effectively making a Prime Minister resign But because he painted Tony as whiter than white no one believes the report (that I can see) and so without saying a word he has got his message across.
As in the classic "Friends, Romans,. countrymen, lend me your ears;. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him... there are more ways than one to skin a cat.
Ramada Jarvis - Just say NO.
So the company Do last night was at Hungerford - The Bear Ramada Jarvis. All was going well until I arrived at the front desk. A young oik asked me to sign in, and then demanded my home address - I put c/o The Company - he said we have to have your home address "It's The Law". There was no please or thank you anywhere. I considered going elsewhere but then remembered I was there on business and had to stay. Eventually he said they wouldn't use it for marketing purposes. So I guessed the Hotel's address and put that down. He was happy then. Interestingly several others objected and put down false addresses on their own bat, not because of what I had done.
After dinner I went to my room, and found the "Ramada International Hotels & resorts European Union Data Protection Directive Disclosure" this wasn't anywhere I could see at the front desk, and I had not been offered it - it is not online any where that I can find.
"..Personal information provided by you will be used to provide hotel accommodations and related services request and top facilitate billing and collection.
We may also transfer your personal information to our hotel locations worldwide for direct marketing purposes. Countries outside the EU may not have data protection laws as comprehensive as the EU. If you do not wish to receive future mailings from us, please send an e-mail to ...euoptout@marriott-com or fax.. or letter...
You may also contact us to enquire about your personal information maintained by Marriott by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or using the Fax number or address above. A charge of $20 is required for all information access requests."
So I took this down to the feckwit on the front desk and asked him about them sending home addresses abroad for marketing purposes, which he had earlier denied them doing. "We have to ask for your address for "Health and Safety" reasons - in case something happens to you." I pointed out that they were operating an unacceptable opt-out policy with an exorbitant information charge and not correctly informing people of what uses the information would be put to or sent. And that hiding behind the twin gods of "The Law" and "Health and Safety" was a cop out unless he could show me the relevant statutes.
In then got a bit ugly - the night porter was called and tried to "arrest" me and chuck me out. But I went to bed instead and said I would raise this bullshit and blatant Data Protection bollocks in the morning - so I have.
(If anyone knows the actual laws involved I would be grateful for the information.)
From the Information Commissioner's website:
There are eight principles put in place by the Data Protection Act 1998 to make sure that your information is handled properly.
They say that data must be:
fairly and lawfully processed;
processed for limited purposes;
adequate, relevant and not excessive;
not kept for longer than is necessary;
processed in line with your rights;
not transferred to countries without adequate protection.
By law data controllers have to keep to these principles.
http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/eventual.aspx?id=1038&expmovie=1 for an expanded list - as far as I can see Ramada fails several of them....
As well as by asking for $20...
"individuals have the right to request information on all data held in relation to them. Fo rthis the company holding the datais entitled to charge a maximum fee of £10. The company holding data has to reply within 40 days ofthe payment of the fee, sending a copy of the information, description of the purposes for which the information is processed, any person who has received or handled the data and the logic behind any automated decisions"
January 29, 2004
Cold Weather Driving advice
Always carry a length of rope and a shovel - so if you come across any of the council feckwits, who spend our money on diversity taskforces, gender workshops etc. instead of on looking after the highways and letting people get to work, you can hit them over the head with the shovel and hang them from the nearest lamp post.
Thar she blows!
A dead, 50-tonne sperm whale has exploded in a busy street in Taiwan, showering passers-by in blubber, blood and innards.
January 28, 2004
I should have mentioned that the chaos entry and this one are being written on my phone in my car. So far 200 yds in 40 mins - oly another 29 miles 1560yd to go, and weather warnings for around the Castle :(
Image taken on 28/0/2004 19:09Half an inch of snow and the whole bloody country stops. North Americans must laugh at us.l
Outside the window it has just dumped half an inch of snow with thunder and lightning - I have never seen the combination before.
So I looked it up to see how rare it was:
Answer to "thunder and snow" question
Thunderstorms usually require warm, humid air near the ground (where we hang out) to form. Warm air rises, cools, the moisture in the air condenses, and this can lead to the development of thunderstorms.
Obviously in a winter storm / blizzard that is not the case.
However, the air near the ground can be "relatively" warm compared to the air at high altitudes. In this case, thunderstorms (usually relatively weak and short-lived) can develop. And, under some circumstances, many such storms can develop.
"For a more detailed answer, see The New York Times Learning Network's Thunder Snow. For a more technical explanation, see the NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory's paper titled, Thunderstorms observed at surface temperatures below freezing across North America."
Let it snow..
My PR expert told me a day or so ago his analysis of this week's events.
"It is a classic PR ploy by the Government, put it about that Tony is having a hard time and that everyone is out to get him. Build the tension up, "will he survive? Is this end for him?" Of course it is as real as a David Blaine stunt, they know the answers all along. A quick drumroll and then with one bound he is free from the top-up fee vote. And another twirl of the cape and the Hutton Inquiry will basically clear him, and suddenly he is like a returning hero from "I'm a Celebrity get me out of here", with a career revived. If it hadn't been a "struggle" no one would have cared and his downward spiral would have continued. But now he is the hero of the hour, and his enemies are having to defend their accusations.. "
The final PR expert tip - if it snows this week- everyone will have a feel good factor with kiddies playing in the park and Tony will be right back on top.
January 27, 2004
Animal Rights terrorists win.
The BBC reports that:
Plans to build a controversial centre for experiments on monkeys have been shelved by Cambridge University.
It has decided the costs, including measures needed to protect the facility from animal rights militants, would make the laboratory uneconomic.
I don't blame the University, as it was increasingly obvious that the extremists were all out to prevent it. And it is not often I have a good word to say about Tony Blair, but he did stick up for this against the screeching hordes. But make no mistake, this is the terrorists winning.
No one lightly goes into experimenting on Primates or any other animal. Terrible things have been done to animals in the name of science, and experiments on living creatures are never pretty.
But remember that you and I are probably only alive because of such research - and don't anyone dare say "we have done enough research" in my hearing. My dear old mother went as daft as a brush in her final years - brain disease robbed her and the family of some happy years. And carelessly two of my children have suffered serious brain injuries - sat beside an intensive care bed hoping your child will live, I'm sorry to say I would sacrifice whole troops of monkeys to help make them better.
(One made a full recovery, the other has a few problems but we believe she will be fine as she grows up.)
January 26, 2004
Life on Mars
With his talk of "Life on Mars" Mr Free Market has set me singing all day..
Oh yes and she is wrapped in Bacon.....
January IEA bulletin
January 25, 2004
Let me bring you this from the Sunday Times
John Harris, a member of the Human Genetics Commission, told a parliamentary meeting last week that he did not see any moral difference in aborting a fully grown unborn baby at 40 weeks and committing infanticide.
..yesterday he was reported to have said that he did not think infanticide was always unjustifiable. He did not believe there was any “moral change” that occurred during the journey down the birth canal.
Harris, who also advises Britain’s doctors as a member of the British Medical Association’s ethics committee, is said to have argued that there was no moral difference between terminating a foetus found by tests to have defects and one where the parents only discovered the abnormalities at birth.
Michael Wilkes, chairman of the BMA ethics committee, said Harris was simply trying to encourage logical and consistent argument. “There are many who might concur that there is no difference between a full-term foetus and a newborn baby, although the majority would see there is a substantial difference. Abortion is legal but termination after birth is killing.”
Interesting he is reported as presenting the argument that infanticide is OK because abortion is. I read his words the other way round - if it is wrong to kill children because they are "disabled" than I don't see the difference between that and a late term abortion for the same reasons, as he says, " He did not believe there was any “moral change” that occurred during the journey down the birth canal."
Dish of the Day
Saturday was a little blurry so with friends coming to lunch on Sunday I fell back on this favourite recipe.
A frozen Shoulder of Lamb.
Couple of carrots, an onion , garlic, rosemary salt and pepper.
Put all into a large roasting pan with half a pint of water, cover in foil and put into the simmering oven of the Aga at about eight o'clock Saturday night.
Today get some leeks, Hoi-sin sauce and tortillas.
Get the lamb out about midday, put into a roasting dish and crisp up in the hot oven. Shred the leeks and cook in the fat when the lamb is roasted, (about twenty minutes)
Shred the lamb - juicy beyond belief - and eat like Chinese duck rolled in tortillas with leeks and sauce.
The best way to enjoy lamb, ever - unless you are Welsh.
"Free the Castle One"
Oh Dear. "Confined to Barracks" for the next two Friday nights. Branded irresponsible and outrageous by the teenagers we woke up when we popped into a friends house for a "quick one for the road" on the way home from the pub - at least I left before 3 am, unlike some others!. So Mrs Englishman is going out for the next two Fridays leaving me babysitting. Red Cross parcels will be welcomed!
January 24, 2004
Feet up! points me to Ben who points me to " meal consisting of hot toast, topped with chunks of softly melting spicy pig fat, which has been previously aged for six months in marble vats. Lardo di Colonnata. Food of the Man Gods, in my tummy right now."
I want some - now!
Posted by The Englishman at 5:14 PM
January 23, 2004
Your thoughts tonight please.
Light blogging today because I've been down the barn doing a bit of woodwork. George - pictured above - was there to help as usual. He got a bit bored as there are no rats this year but I couldn't understand why he was really upset and looking for a cuddle at the end of the afternoon - until I went to roll up the electrical extension lead. The sockets were covered in dog pee, I bet that tingled a bit!
Bringing home the bacon
Looks easy - just got find a pigs belly now!
Practise makes perfect.
Mr Free Democrat almost feels sorry for Jenny Tonge because of all the nasty things that the blogosphere will say about this Lib Dem halfwit who thinks she might want to be a suicide bomber if she lived in Palestine.
We have 60,000 acres of Salisbury Plain training ground down here - I suggests she practices on her own out in the middle of it!
January 22, 2004
Results from the Googlefight
Hey looks like a pretty good fight back against the lefty Googlebomb! - You may remember my original call and others launched their campaigns against Jimmy Carter before that.
What I haven't worked out is how Mike Moore got there - was there another campaign?
King Billy's answers
I put the famous King Billy Quiz up here as anentry before Xmas:
I now have the answers...
1 1 – Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst
1 2 – 20 mph
1 3 – Apolinario Mabini (Philippino politician)
1 4 – E D Morel’s (The West African Mail)
1 5 – Lord Macaulay’s
1 6 – W and G Foyle’s
1 7 – Major General Sir Hector Macdonald
1 8 – Paul Gauguin
1 9 – Tour de France
1 10 – Pope Pius X
2 1 – Patrick Steptoe (test tube babies)
2 2 – Gregory Pincus (the birth pill)
2 3 – Christiaan Barnard
2 4 – Humphry Davy
2 5 – Louis Braille
2 6 – Luc Montagnier (HIV)
2 7 – Antonio Egaz Moniz (pre-frontal leucotomy)
2 8 – René Laënnec
2 9 – Selman Waksman (Streptomycin)
2 10 – Gregor Mendel
3 1 – Vincent van Gogh
3 2 – Maurice Utrillo
3 3 – John Constable (Salisbury)
3 4 – Camille Pissarro (Dieppe)
3 5 – Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (Mantes-la-Jolie)
3 6 – Claude Monet (Rouen)
3 7 – Canaletto (Westminster Abbey)
3 8 – Pieter Jansz. Saenredam
3 9 – Carl Larsson
3 10 – Marcel Duchamp
4 1 – King Oliver
4 2 – Scott Joplin
4 3 – Duke Ellington
4 4 – Hoagy Carmichael
4 5 – P Babarin
4 6 – Spencer Williams
4 7 – Count Basie
4 8 – Kid Ory
4 9 – Jelly Roll Morton
4 10 – W C Handy
5 1 – sweetbreads
5 2 – Bombay duck
5 3 – lemon cheese
5 4 – Scotch woodcock
5 5 – Welsh rabbit
5 6 – mince pies
5 7 – toad in the hole
5 8 – Cullen skink
5 9 – hotdog
5 10 – devils on horseback
6 1 – pi
6 2 – kappa
6 3 – mu
6 4 – Omega (watch)
6 5 – gamma globulin
6 6 – alpha rhythm
6 7 – lambda
6 8 – beta (drug development)
6 9 – Delta (south-west Holland)
6 10 – iota
7 1 – Arnhem
7 2 – Rotterdam (Erasmusbrug 1996)
7 3 – The Hague (suburb Scheveningen)
7 4 – Amsterdam (Van der Valk)
7 5 – Delft (Assassination of William the Silent)
7 6 – Eindhoven (Philips)
7 7 – Utrecht (1713)
7 8 – ‘sHertogenbosch (Hieronymus Bosch)
7 9 – Leeuwarden (long-distance skating race)
7 10 – Flushing / Vlissingen (Arthur Ransome – We Didn’t Mean to Go to
8 1 – Crazy Horse (Ogala Sioux chief)
8 2 – 8 horsepower
8 3 – Dala / Dalarna horse (Swedish souvenir)
8 4 – Horseshoe Farm, Finchley
8 5 – Horse’s Neck
8 6 – The Wooden Horse
8 7 – Whitehorse (Yukon Territory, Canada)
8 8 – the horseleach (Proverbs 30.15)
8 9 – Horsehead
8 10 – a Stalking Horse (challenged Margaret Thatcher’s leadership of the
Conservative Party in 1989)
9 1 – Barcelona
9 2 – Bordeaux
9 3 – Seville
9 4 – Venice
9 5 – Como
9 6 – Lisbon
9 7 – Marseille
9 8 – Gent
9 9 – Angers
9 10 – Porto
10 1 – Yew (Nevern, Pembrokeshire – weeps a thick blood-like sap)
10 2 – Douglas Fir (Dunkeld – highest tree in Britain)
10 3 – Birch
10 4 – Willows
10 5 – Gastonbury Thorn / Hawthorn (Arimathea legend)
10 6 – The Walnut Tree (Inn at Aldington)
10 7 – Oak (Charles II)
10 8 – Monkey Puzzle / Chile Pine
10 9 – Lime tree (Kent CCC, Canterbury)
10 10 – Chestnut tree (Longfellow – The Village Blacksmith)
11 1 – Black Sea
11 2 – Black Prince
11 3 – Penny black
11 4 – black spot (Stevenson – Treasure Island)
11 5 – Mr Blackboy (Dickens – David Copperfield)
11 6 – Black Paquito (Shaw – Captain Brassbound’s Conversion)
11 7 – Black Hastings (war horse of Sir Geoffrey Peveril – Scott – Peveril
of the Peak)
11 8 – blackhead
11 9 – Black Annis
11 10 – Black Mamba
12 1 – The Lord of the Rings (J R R Tolkien)
12 2 – The Old Bachelor (William Congreve)
12 3 – The Master of Ballantrae (R L Stevenson)
12 4 – The Deemster (Hall Caine)
12 5 – The Man with the Golden Gun (Ian Fleming)
12 6 – The Faithful Ally (Eric Linklater)
12 7 – The Black Dwarf (Sir Walter Scott)
12 8 – The Spy (James Fennimore Cooper)
12 9 – The Spy who came in from the Cold (John le Carre)
12 10 – The Red Pony (John Steinbeck)
13 1 – Matthew
13 2 – Andrew
13 3 – James (The Great) (Coquille St Jacques)
13 4 – Bartholomew
13 5 – Peter
13 6 – Judas Iscariot
13 7 – John
13 8 – Jude
13 9 – Thomas
13 10 – Matthias
14 1 – Rook (frugilegus)
14 2 – Dunnock / Hedge Sparrow (prunella)
14 3 – Cattle Egret (bubulcus)
14 4 – Puffin (fratercula)
14 5 – Moorhen (gallinula chloropus)
14 6 – Wigeon (penelope)
14 7 – Little Grebe (tachybaptus)
14 8 – Eider (somateria mollissima)
14 9 – Nightjar (Caprimulgus)
14 10 – Great Grey Shrike(excubitor)
15 1 – Jane (Rapturous Maidens – Patience – W S Gilbert)
15 2 – women (relating to Kent – Pickwick Papers –Charles Dickens)
15 3 – Cagliari (provinces of Sardinia)
15 4 – Götterdämmerung (The Ring Cycle –Wagner)
15 5 – Oona O’Neill (Charlie Chaplin’s wives)
15 6 – Peter Schidlof (The Amadeus Quartet)
15 7 – The Dry Salvages (The Four Quartets – T S Eliot)
15 8 – Fitzurse (murderers of Thomas a’Becket)
15 9 – Mount Olive ( The Alexander Quartet – Lawrence Durrell)
15 10 – roast beef (little pigs)
16 1 – Powerscourt (Co Wicklow)
16 2 – Caldron Snout (River Tees)
16 3 – Mynach Falls (Devil’s Bridge – Dyfyd)
16 4 – Plodda Falls (Glen Affric)
16 5 – Pistyll Rhaeadr (Powys)
16 6 – Glenmaye (Manx fairytale)
16 7 – Lodore Falls (Cumbria – Southey – Rhymes for the Nursery)
16 8 – Falls of Clyde (New Lanark – painting in Scottish National Gallery)
16 9 – Aira Force (Cumbria – Wordsworth – The Somnambulist)
16 10 – Grey Mare’s Tail (Dumfries and Galloway)
17 1 – founder of IKEA
17 2 – Svante Arrhenius
17 3 – Jakob Johan Anckarström (King Gustav III’s assassin)
17 4 – Dag Hammarskjöld
17 5 – Alfred Nobel
17 6 – Ingemar Johansson (World Heavyweight Boxing Champion)
17 7 – King Karl X Gustav
17 8 – Queen Kristina
17 9 – Selma Lagerlöf
17 10 – Carl von Linné / Linnaeus
18 1 – Sir Ranulph Fiennes
18 2 – David Beckham (boot kicked by Ferguson)
18 3 – flight across English Channel without power
18 4 – Andrew Hall (four Test innings for South Africa)
18 5 – Silvio Berlusconi
18 6 – Robert Coleman Atkins
18 7 – Aaron Barschak (gatecrashing Prince William’s 21st birthday party)
18 8 – Bob Hope (own one-liner)
18 9 – Peterborough (changed to London Spy – Daily Telegraph)
18 10 – Referendum on European Monetary Union
Posted by The Englishman at 9:20 PM
I'm always a little worried when I see the BBC use stock footage of handguns as many years ago I was filmed by them blasting away on a French range as part of a documentary on the then recent ban on handguns in the UK. So I'm glad to see the BBC's picture has feminine hands cradling the gun. My worry? - you lot would spot my useless technique!
(I always wished the BBC had broadcast the delightful French schoolgirl asking me "'ow bigge is your weapon?" There was no answer to that.)
Wiltshire Farming News
We took note of the Canadian's attempt to grow legal Cannabis ($7.5m to set up a dope farm, no hassle from the cops and they still can't grow a decent smoke - that's the government for you ) and now I notice that the UK government has awarded a local firm a licence to grow it at "Secret Locations" - and ship a derivative to Canada.
I'm sure us Wiltshire boys will deliver the goods, but as to keeping the locations secret, I'll ask round the back room of the Pub to see what news!
I was led to this story by Tory Leader M. Howard being widely reported as saying the Tories will reimpose the very naughty category instead of the slightly naughty category for the drug - in fact he said " It seems to me that there is absolutely no case for what is a massive muddle in the middle." and then went on to say it should either be legalised or the relaxation of the law should be reversed - but the second part of the quote has now disappeared from the BBC site so I can't give it to you word for word. It encapsulates the perennial Tory problem of trying to appeal to the Law & Order brigade as well as the Libertarians.
I look forward to going into the Greengrocer's and asking for for Arlingham Schoolboys or maybe some Hen's Turds apples or Shit Smock plums but unfortunately the Bloody Bastard pear probably no longer exists.
I am a great fan of using the word Bastard in its true sense of "half" as often as I can. I well remember an old slater calling down for a "Bastard Duchess" shocking the passerbys (see extended entry for Slate sizes and names). And when we were building an extension, the architect had designed a "Mezzanine" level, but the builder insisted on calling it the Bastard level. Still amuses me every time I see the sign at the council offices - "the Chief Executive's office is on the Mezzanine level".
24 x 14
61.0 x 35.6 10.54
24 x 12
61.0 x 30.5 12.31
22 x 12
55.9 x 30.5 13.61
22 x 11
55.9 x 27.9 14.91
20 x 12
50.8 x 30.5 15.21
20 x 10
50.8 x 25.4 18.24
18 x 12
45.7 x 30.5 17.22
18 x 10
45.7 x 25.4 20.67
18 x 9
45.7 x 22.9 23.13
16 x 12
40.6 x 30.5 19.87
16 x 10
40.6 x 25.4 23.85
16 x 9
40.6 x 22.9 26.72
16 x 8
40.6 x 20.3 29.81
14 x 12
35.6 x 30.5 23.48
14 x 10
35.6 x 25.4 28.18
14 x 8
35.6 x 20.3 35.23
14 x 7
35.6 x 17.8 40.79
January 21, 2004
Thanks to Dr Eamonn Butler, Director
Adam Smith Institute for this link from his newsletter:
The Heritage / Wall Street Journal 2004 Index of Economic Freedom makes
interesting reading. It's a country-by-country measure of economic freedom
and shows that the most free countries are also the most prosperous. The top scorers -- in terms of free trade, low burden of government, a liberalized financial sector, property rights, and low regulation -- also enjoy higher living standards.
|The Most Free||The Least Free|
|Hong Kong (1st)||Tajikistan (146th)|
|Singapore (2nd)||Venezuela (147th)|
|New Zealand (3rd)||Iran (148th)|
|Luxembourg (4th)||Uzbekistan (149th)|
|Ireland (5th)||Turkmenistan (150th)|
|Estonia (6th)||Burma (151st)|
|United Kingdom (7th)||Laos (151st)|
|Denmark (8th)||Zimbabwe (153rd)|
|Switzerland (9th)||Libya (154th)|
|United States (10th)||North Korea (155th)|
Help they need somebody
It is a touching story of lovers torn apart by circumstance. They are keeping a stiff upper lip and everything but there will be a happy ending.
You can help Lionel get to Shell by buying his stuff on eBay.
I'm bidding away on the stuff, but there is plenty more coming for everyone.
Help I need somebody
I have been tasked to produce the pub quiz for the company "kick off" meeting next week, and my imagination is running low. Please if you can think of any quiz questions send me an email or better still leave them as comments below.
Here's some links to last year's questions - please make use of these questions as you please.
Parrot porky pies?
My story about Churchill's parrot may not be true after all.
The BBC is casting doubt on it:
Experts have dismissed the claim that a 104-year-old foul-mouthed parrot once belonged to the wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Staff at the National Trust's Chartwell property, Churchill's former country home in Kent, said they had conducted a thorough search of records and photographs but could find no evidence of him ever owning a parrot.
Judith Seaward, marketing manager at Chartwell, said: "We really looked and looked and know he had a budgerigar and all sorts of other animals.
"He loved animals, he had dogs, cats, pigs - but there's no record of a parrot.
Staff at the nurseries were standing by the bird on Tuesday and defending his claim to fame.
Be careful out there!
Farmers warn of wild boar dangers
"They are impressively large creatures, very fast and aggressive. In my opinion they are dangerous things."
I wonder if they can be trained to chase ramblers in their ridiculous coloured cagoules, and look for food under caravans. What a boon to the countryside they will become!
A failure of common sense.
Settle down class!
Meadow, what is the odds of rolling a six on a die?
Right, what are the odds of rolling double six?
1/6 times 1/6 so 1/36 sir.
Now I have rolled a six with this die, what are the odds of rolling a six again.
Meadow - you are a miserable worm - Tompkins, what is the answer?
1/6 again, sir, they are two unconnected events. Actually sir it might be a bit less as the die might have a propensity to roll sixes!
To accuse a mother of murdering or deliberately harming her children is about the most heinous accusation you can make. Over the last few days we have discovered that not just one or two women but hundreds of women have been accused, found guilty, and jailed or had their children taken away from them for such crimes and the miserable worm Prof Meadow has been using very strange arguments as a professional witness in such cases.
Meadow, what is the odds of Sudden Infant Death occurring?
Now one child has died of SID what are the chances of a second child in the family dying of SID.
1/8500 times 1/8500 so 1/73 million sir
Meadow - you are a miserable worm. Can a real expert give us the answer?
1/8500 again, sir, they are two unconnected events. Actually sir it might be quite bit less as SID is thought to be influenced by environmental and genetic factors and so after one death the same factors apply to other children and makes them at high risk. In fact the figures from the Care of Next Infant charity (CONI) show after one cot death the risk of a second actually increases to one in 200.
But Meadow still is fixated on mothers commonly hurting and killing their children. His inability to understand basic statistics is enough for me to distrust him completely. My gut instinct tells me he is wrong in many other particulars. And his ignorance has had devastating effects.
Read this and get very upset!
And a final quote from another case: "We had not been interviewed by him. We did not even know who he was"
Mother whose daughter was taken into care after evidence by Sir Roy Meadow
I have been thinking for a while I ought to put in an essay about University fees - obviously they make sense, it is bizarre that Blair is having to twist arms , and all the left wing cant reminds of why I hated students so much during my sojourn in the Ivory Towers of Oxford. But as any good student knows why bother writing it yourself when a little research shows you someone has already done it, so off you go to this fascinating blogger - new to me at v2 : psychobabble.
(I might as well make the point here that as Alice
said when kindly blogrolling me waving the English Flag and shouting out "I'm an Englishman" can give the impression of being a racist bigot (actually the racists tend to use the Union Flag). So let me make clear that I feel we are blessed that Suruj and the like have moved to England. And I think any antipathy against immigrants that "natives" feel is directed at the lifestyle that that some adopt, or are percieved to adopt. The feeling is that we have enough feckless scroungers already. But I always think if someone has got off their arse to travel across continents to live in a foreign land they are more likely to be someone who wants to get on with life, work hard, provide
for their family etc. In fact exactly the sort of people who always have come to England to make England great.)
January 20, 2004
What a game old bird!
SHE WAS at Winston Churchill's side during Britain's darkest hour. And now Charlie the parrot is 104 years old...and still cursing the Nazis.
Her favourite sayings were "F*** Hitler" and "F*** the Nazis". And even today, 39 years after the great man's death, she can still be coaxed into repeating them with that unmistakable Churchillian inflection.
Churchill bought Charlie - giving him a boy's name despite the fact she was female - in 1937.
She took pride of place in a bizarre menagerie of pets including lambs, pigs, cattle, swans and, at one point, a leopard.
He immediately began to teach her to swear - particularly in company - and she is keeping up the tradition today.
James Humes, an expert on the late PM, said: "Churchill may no longer be with us but that spirit and those words of defiance and resolve continue."
He's back - all guns firing
Thank goodness old JohnJo is safe and back in the fold - the day after I posted my concerns he reappears. He is particularly good on the Express calling for all guns to be banned - I suggest Mr Free Market takes his tablets and sits down before reading it!
Earliest UK concrete houses?
Reading the local Parish magazine there is an excellent article by the local historian Rick Ozzard about houses made of concrete.
There doesn't sound much to interest one in the subject until one starts to consider where are the earliest ones. The little village of All Cannings in Wiltshire is in a very rural farming community with Black and White thatched cottages etc. It is probably the last place you would expect to have been the site of an amazing Victorian experiment in the use of Concrete.
In 1868 the Lord Ashburton and his tenant farmer Simon Hiscock decided to each build a pair of semidetached workers cottages. They had two plots adjacent of the same size. The tenant built his pair of brick, his Lordship of concrete - the only major difference is that in the absence of internal shuttering the concrete chimneys are straight rather than bent to combine into a single chimney stack. Both pairs of cottages still stand largely unaltered.
We can only surmise this was a trial into the efficacy of using shuttered reinforced concrete as a building method. It obviously was successful as two more pairs were then built, followed by a more elaborate villa style pair of cottages and finally a large Farmhouse.
This amazing experiment is unknown and unacknowledged outside the area. While these houses may not be the very first concrete houses built, they were built within a couple of years of the first one - the time-line is not clear and are certainly the biggest example of a group of dwellings built then. They are worthy of note!
January 19, 2004
Contempt for the people.
SCOTTISH MPs could come to Tony Blair’s rescue after a survey revealed most are planning to vote on English university tuition fees.
Of the 57 Scottish MPs who responded to a survey for BBC Scotland’s Sunday Live show, 44 MPs indicated they would definitely vote on the issue - despite the fact the proposed top-up fees will only directly affect students in England and Wales.
This is simple contempt for democracy - the whole botched devolution process led to the as ever unanswered West Lothian Question of which this is the latest example.
(Tam Dalyell was the author of the celebrated West Lothian Question, he effectively raised the issue of why Scottish MPs at Westminster can vote on English domestic issues, such as education, whereas English MPs cannot vote on education in Scotland. )
It shows the utter contempt our leaders have for England (and Wales).
Why I didn't vote!
The Truth Laid Bear: The New Weblog Showcase is an excellent scheme which I have always supported both for itself and to support The Alliance.
But this week all the entries seemed too weak to support.
Blog 1: "While I opposed the war, such a stance seems beyond counterproductive – more masochistic than anything else."
Sounds like someone has swallowed a dictionary and trying to justify a wishy wash outlook.
Blog 2: Couldn't find the featured post.
Blog 3: "As much as the internet is a product of modernity and globalization itself, it presents us with an alternative solution to the ever-narrowing "thinking" space that MNCs leave us."
Blog 4: "Aside from the obvious Freudian readings, the commercials feature toxic attidues not only towards women (retro 50s values, etc) but to all aspects of our mental and environmental health. "
Blog 5: "When it flies, it's bigger, but when it's on the ground, it's manageable. I think, anyway. Mark: I dunno, man. It was a raven in the air and a crow on the ground? Ravens are different from crows. Ivy: Yeh, but both are black birds. "
I'll have some of what they are smoking!
Mr Bear, I want an abstain choice!
The choices are below.
From The Truth Laid Bear's New Webblog Showcase:
American Amnesia: Insurgency in Iraq - an assessment.
c h a n d r a s u t r a: You're Soaking in it
The Temporal Globe: Cowcatchers Anonymous; Interview with a Terrorist.
Ivy is here: Crows and ravens was yesterday's theme.
New World Blogger: Blogging: media responsibility
As I stood alongside Mr Free Market chewing the fat on Sunday morning with the lead flying through the air and him trying to get his new toy to work, I fell to pondering on diffferent blog styles. Mr FM is the master of the reasoned essay, and despite Mr Plastic Gangster's kind words I never claim to write anything "thoughtful, measured and well reasoned". I write short, sharpish comments which are always linked to the original material and also provide odd alleyways for the interested to meander off into.
My style is based on several factors; lazyness, temper, available time etc. but also on my liking of what I thought I might call "Three-Dimensional Reading". I like my reading to have hyperlinks, so I can see sources, the full context, other takes on the material, related stuff etc.
I have mentioned before I'm reading Quicksilver, which is written by Neal_Stephenson who understands the net better than most. And I admit that the flat pages of the novel annoy me as I want to dig further. And in the same vein when I checked my newly minted phrase I found someone had both beaten me to it and written better about than I ever could:
Please compare and contrast the latest report on declining bird numbers from the RSPB BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Farming 'killing Europe's birds' calling for more money and interference from the EU with this site which seems to be more connected with the real world: SongBird Survival.
"SongBird Survival believes that there must be sensitive control of selective predator populations to aid the recovery of songbirds while habitat improvements are taking place.
The RSPB has been singularly successful in attracting over one million members. However, it cannot claim that its actions have in any way proved effective in preventing the decline in the songbird populations. It has been successful in re-introducing some raptor species, but certainly does not find it convenient to tell its members that these predatory birds will add to the killing of literally millions of songbirds every year."
(But then as a subsidy junkie farmer I can't complain with my "arable reversion" payment, and my "retention of overwintered stubbles followed by a spring and summer fallow" payment and my "creation and management of a conservation headland without any fertiliser application" payment and my "establishment and maintenance of wildlife seed mixtures providing a food source and cover for a range of wild birds, mammals and invertebrates" payment.)
"Fascinating article by Richard North in the International Herald Tribune. North claims that a combination of single currency instability, constitutional wrangling and eastwards expansion will shortly spell the end of the European Union."
The question is how it disintegrates, gently or does it go with a bang?
Not so Silly Jacques
EUobserver reports: "In an interview with the Times, the former President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, has said that the EU is now in "a state of latent crisis" due to weak leadership. He also says he understands why the UK has not joined the euro."
- First time I have ever heard him speak sense.
16th January 1809
The Battle of La Coruna in The Peninsular war is a classic battle that, like Dunkirk, Britain lost but it enabled a successful troop embarkation. And somehow it is remembered as a victory and as a battle honour.
The General leading the British Troops died from his wounds and was buried at the scene. His burial is remembered in one of the best war poems ever written:
The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna
Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning;
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light
And the lanthorn dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed
And smoothed down his lonely pillow,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we far away on the billow!
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him,--
But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done
When the clock struck the hour for retiring:
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory;
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone,
But left him alone with his glory.
-- Charles Wolfe
January 18, 2004
Welcome to the party.
The Pragmatic Libertarian says about his new blog: "I'm going to have my grand opening on Sunday 18. See you there."
Well where's my glass of warm white wine and a cold sausage roll? Best of luck anyway and all who sail in her.
The Plastic Gangster makes a very reasoned argument about Hoon and mentions my view that he has "blood on his hands" - to quote: "To suggest at this stage that Geoff Hoon personally has Sgt. Roberts "blood on his hands" is a dangerous game and one that should not be embarked upon, even if danger is your thing, until the facts of the Roberts case have become clear. Which, at the time of typing, they haven't."
- as a note I'm responding here because there is no comment section on his website.
I accept that I have my Mr. Angry hat on when blogging and I don't spend the time to construct reasoned argument like Mr.Plastic. But in this case I think it stands up. Mr Hoon enjoys the privileges, status and money of being a Minister fro Defence. No one disputes the bare facts that our service men were not as well equipped as they should have been for various cock-up reasons. This probably contributed to at least one mans death. If you are at the top you should take responsibility for what happens, the excuse that you didn't know, or couldn't do anything about it doesn't wash. (I would also say I believe this is true in commerce as well and that company directors should take the same view). This responsibility is purely moral, it is not the same as taking legal responsibility. I also believe Hoon would have been respected for taking that responsibility and resigning. It would also have been a comfort to the bereaved. Hoon would then be considered to be an honourable man with a future back on the front benches in a year or so. But the more he hangs on the more damaging and humiliating it will be for him.
But I also accept his sins are minor in many ways and resigning is more a symbolic act than an act of real substance. And so the case isn't as clear cut as it might be. But I believe it would be best and right for everyone if he went.
Many years ago I wandered up to the pig shed on a misty winter morning, the sunlight streaming in low and illuminating the straw bedding. The sows stayed snuggled down in the warm straw but the old boar awoke with my arrival and wandered around the ten sows who were in for a service, snortling and sniffing each one until he found the one that was right for that morning. The old snout soon got the sow up and ready for a lazy morning mount. As you know the Pig has a corkscrew penis and the old boy was like a mad sommelier until all was positioned perfectly. And then deep bliss - and according to some his orgasm would have lasted thirty minutes - I would guess a mere five, and then over to the freshly filled trough for a hearty breakfast. I thought I could put up with some of that.
If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
If you fart consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
A pig's orgasm lasts for 30 minutes. (Bastards)
Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. (Still not over that pig thing!)
Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (And yet, there's that pig thing...)
On average people fear spiders more than they do death.
You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a poisonous spider.
The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. (Hmmmmm.....)
You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.
Americans on the average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.
Every time you lick a stamp, you're consuming one-tenth of a calorie.
Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do.
In ancient Egypt, Priests plucked every hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
The ant can lift 50 times its own weight, can pull 30 times its own weight and always falls over on its right side when intoxicated. (huh?)
Polar bears are left handed.
The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds, that makes the catfish rank #1 for animal having the most taste buds.
The flea can jump 350 times its body length, It's like a human jumping the length of a football field.
A cockroach will live nine days without it's head, before it starves to death.
The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off. (Honey, I'm home.. what the...)
Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (bastards)
Butterflies taste with their feet.
Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.
A cat's urine glows under a blacklight.
An ostrich's eye is bigger than it's brain.
Starfish haven't got brains.
After reading all these, all I can say is "Damn Pigs"
January 17, 2004
A Wiltshire Girl
Cruel I know but Sarah Jane has her whole life on the net.
Now I don't want you think we are all like this down in Wiltshire - remember she is from the Cheese part of the county and I am from the Chalk part of the county. (Cheese being the dairying area and chalk being the wide open arable and downland area). So I guess the locals are as different as chalk and cheese.
She is particularly keen for you to know she is still a virgin, see the clickable letter to the left) and she includes pictures of Sarah Jane's Ex-boyfriends .
John, an accountant from Surrey.
Relax - the Colonel is all right. A scraped finger is all he has to show from writing off his bike today. Which is better than when he wrote it off last March.
Still "Bigger, Faster, Louder" is his motto when he goes out to buy another tomorrow. Of such stuff the empire was built.
But gosh it was cold tonight, I had to get up on the bonnet of the Pikeymobile to piss on the windscreen to clear the ice. Not an easy task after seven pints of IPA. And I was too pissed to walk home so I had to drive,
home across the field which is on private land - not on the public highway.
January 16, 2004
A question from a reader:
I recognize the flag on the top right corner of your blog as one displayed by many British rugby fans. Is there more significance than that for you that would explain your display of it? If so, what is that signifigance? Feel free to post the reply on your blog.
Aah, my little primate, I am delighted to explain.
You are probably more use to seeing the Union Flag also known as the Union Jack. This represents the nations that make up the United Kingdom - of which only one is England.
"On April 12, 1606 the first 'Union Jack' was created. It was a superposition of the red cross of St. George of England and the saltire of St. Andrew of Scotland. Note however that the ground of the Union Flag is a deep "navy" blue. The blue ground of the Scottish national flag, the saltire, from which the blue ground of the Union Flag is derived, is a lighter "sky" blue. The Welsh flag never became part of the Union Flag, as Wales had been annexed by Edward I of England much earlier on and so was considered part of the kingdom of England.
The current Union Flag dates from January 1, 1801 with the Act of Union with Ireland. The new design added the red saltire cross attributed to St. Patrick for Ireland. The saltire is counterchanged to combine it with the saltire of St. Andrew. The red cross actually comes from the heraldic device of the Fitzgerald family who were sent by Henry II of England to subjugate Ireland and has never been used as an emblem of Ireland by the Irish. "
England has a different flag which is the flag of its patron saint, St George and that is the flag I fly on this blog. This doesn't mean I value the Union any less, but I am proud to be English and I chose the blog name as a weak pun as it is my Home page and "An Englishman's Home is his Castle".
The rugby fans you will have seen are English fans, Scotland and Wales have their own teams and supporters who wave other things. (Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom but it is a United Ireland team that plays).
More on Bogusmongers
It looks like I am the only person using the term, Google Search: Bogusmongers though I didn't mean to invent a new word it does seem to fit quite well so I will keep an eye on its memetic spread or death.
Bogusmongers basher extraordinary.
So this year is the hundred year anniversary of the Entente Cordiale. And unlike the 1801 Act of Union it has been deemed worthy of celebration by the Government. (The Act of Union was the foundation of the modern United Kingdom - for Americans it would be like ignoring the 1776 anniversary). So I popped over to the official website to see what they have come up with as making it worth celebrating:
Bilateral Summits have been held annually since 1976 - important summit declarations include:
St Malo in 1998 on European defence which led to joint operations, continuing secondment of staff and greater pooling of resources;
- Yes I noticed them marching side by side with us to liberate Iraq.
Cahors in 2001 on the Cross-Channel commission, setting in place the cross-departmental co-ordination necessary for implementing (sic) eg the closure of Sangatte;
Implementing what they don't say but the closure of Sangatte should have involved one quick phone call.
Le Touquet in Feb 2003 in which agreements were signed on education and also on defence procurement.
Oh that sounds really important - more cross channel school trips probably - except the school teachers union advises members not to lead school trips - and a joint strategy on buying paperclips and having a few jolly decent lunches.
Now those aren't three items I have picked out to sneer at, they are the ONLY three items the official site can come up with. It is pathetic.
What's the French for bollocks?
Checking le site de L'Ambassade de Grande-Bretagne en France
I came across this with a picture of Jack Straw:
"Les relations franco-britanniques après un siècle d'Entente cordiale"
Allocution du secrétaire au Foreign Office, Jack Straw, au Cercle de la Revue des deux mondes à Paris.
"Ensemble, nos deux pays ont agi sur le destin du monde en général, et sur celui de notre continent en particulier. Malgré quelques divergences de temps à autre, nous partageons les mêmes valeurs - démocratie, droits de l'homme, état de droit - et le même engagement à l'égard d'une Europe des nations forte, faisant progresser l'emploi et la sécurité."
(For a translation you could try Google Translation - or just read it as "I love you, you love me, we are the best of friends blurgghhh!")
and below it the link "En savoir plus ..."
Which leads to the appropriate picture of...
and an article on "technologie du rongicide".
Presumably they couldn't find a picture of a weasel...
The Honourable man whose blood is on Hoon's hands
Sergeant Steven Roberts of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment was shot dead in Iraq after being asked to hand back body armour.
Here are extracts from the text of audio tapes he recorded for his wife Samantha, including a number of complaints about equipment shortages, something the Army has repeatedly been criticised for.
Thursday 13 March
Got sent to the concentration area which was very sandy with no vehicles. They were still on the boat. Two days later the vehicles were still on the boat and we were waiting for them to port.
General Jackson last week turned round and said "yes, we are ready to go" and our vehicles were still in the boats ready to come into port, so what a blatant lie that was.
We are now back into one of the camps to up-armour, which again is a bit of a joke in itself because they are running out of the frontal armour... so it will be interesting to see what armour I actually get. I will keep you posted.
Saturday 15 March
As I have written in your letter we have now got absolutely nothing. It is disgraceful what we have got out here. It's now time to up-armour again on my vehicle. Some of the parts have come in so as you can hear in the background we are going into the armour bay.
I can't wait to see you again. I love you so much and I am so proud of you. As long as I know you are safe I can handle anything out here.
Friday 21 March, two days after the start of the war
We have been bloody busy with all the prep for the war etcetera and it's going well. I have not got my combats yet. Things we have been told we are going to get, we're not and it's disheartening because we know we are going to go to war without the correct equipment.
We have been under missile attacks all yesterday, we put our gas masks on 14 times yesterday therefore we spent round about six-seven hours in a gas mask yesterday and the temperature is about 35 degrees. I was not happy.
Saturday 22 March
Today's the day. We are going across the border today and the ground war starts and I am very nervous but also it's a bit of a rush to be honest as well. Knowing that in a couple of hours time we will be in Iraq. We have just motored up and we are now into the demilitarised zone which is basically just two lines of barbed wire and mines.
We are going straight to the border and we are now in Iraq. It is a different world, it is very very poor here in the south, mostly farms and they obviously lead a very meagre existence.
There have been a few battalions that have surrendered but there is lots of resistance and we are going to give them a scrap.
Sunday 23 March
I can't really sleep because I am too nervous that I may never wake up and that we are in enemy territory now and anything could happen. Very very conscious.
I know now why I am over here doing what I am doing because children are walking around with bare feet, completely ill-fitting and tatty old clothes and we are over here to free them and free them from the regime they are under so they can grow up to be and do what they want to do.
I love you so much and I will speak to you when I can probably tomorrow. I love you lots. Sleep tight. Bye.
Sergeant Roberts was killed the next day.
January 15, 2004
One for White Rose
ID cards - why am I uneasy? - read this on the use of early computers and the Final Solution.
"Adolf Eichmann told his hangman merely hours before his execution in Jerusalem in 1961 that all the Jews had to do to defeat the final solution was to avoid registration (at the 1939 census). Just not be there when the census taker called. Once the holes were punched( in the recording cards), he said, their fates were sealed.
..computers create a cloud of unreasoning, a wall of emotional distance, and a swirling cape of techno-heroism that prevent us from acknowledging the chaos that follows the click of the trigger.
And here is another quote, from the enigmatic philosopher Martin Heidegger, himself drafted into the Nazi Party in the 30s, but a lifelong questioner of the ease given us by machines:
"Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we affirm it or passionately deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst way when we regard it as something neutral. It is not that 'Technology can be dangerous.' Rather, the essence of technology is danger."
The Daily Ablution: This Week's Look Inside the BBC raises the interesting point about the BBC's diversity unit - following links I find that:
"Dyke has set ambitious targets: he wants ethnic minorities to make up 10 per cent of the BBC's workforce and 4 per cent of its management by next year... He argued that ethnic minorities, who, according to the Office for National Statistics, made up 7.1 per cent of the population of Britain in 2000..Dyke has continued to face criticism from people who claim that the BBC is still not doing enough to engage ethnic minorities..currently 8.5 per cent of the BBC's 23,000 staff are from ethnic minorities, while the figure for management stands at 3.2 per cent .
Eh? - run that past me again - the country is 7.1% "ethnic", the BBC is 8.5% and they are complaining that old Whitey is still getting preferential treatment, seems to me not to be so!
Luckily I decided some time ago that I am going to put "Black" down as my race when ever asked. I honestly have no idea of my racial genotype so why not be black? - or do they employ some old South African to tell how "Black" I am?
One of our chaps is missing
I say, looks like the old JohnJo might have bought the farm. I last saw him flying the old bus over the white cliffs at Christmas, did anyone see him catch it from a Hun in the Sun? Or did he he take a dip in the briney and is now recuperating somewhere? The old black Labrador is missing him.
I know I lead a sheltered life but I had never come across the word Chav (click for definitions) before some one sent me this link to A guide to Chavs- very snobbish I know but the best laugh I have had for ages.
Hoon - a dishonourable man.
The widow of a British soldier, killed in Iraq after having to give his body armour to other soldiers, says Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon should resign.
Sgt Steve Roberts, shot dead in March during an attack by Iraqi dissidents, recorded an audio diary in which he called supplies to soldiers "a joke."
His widow Samantha told BBC Radio Five Live her husband and other soldiers were "deeply shocked" at the lack of equipment.
But a government spokesman has dismissed calls for Mr Hoon to resign.
Of course he should resign, but Tony wants to keep him on to be the scapegoat in the Kelly affair. If he had an ounce of honour he would walk, and consider himself lucky that is all the punishment he gets, and take some penpushers with him. Bastards the lot of them.
"Pale Ale in a chilled pilsner "
A nice thought from Individual Thoughts but the horror!
A proper pint of Wadworth's IPA at cellar temperature, not chilled not warmed, and a faint froth on top, not flat not fizzy, is what you want, and what I will raise to your health tomorrow night.
January 14, 2004
vivisected dogs and political chaos and primal science.
I am working my way through Quicksilver and am a fan of The Loom. Carl Zimmer write the latter and has just published a book, Soul Made Flesh, that covers similar ground to Quicksilver, not yet published in the UK, which I am looking forward to reading ASAP.
Here is a useful review of the two.
Pharyngula: A comparison of two books concerning the romance of science in 17th century England.
Play up! and play the game!
But not for this teacher:
Well versed in imperialism
By Mike Rosen
ONE OF the insults levelled at the left is that we "politicise" everything. Good honest businessmen are getting the railways to work when horrible lefties bang on about "profits before safety". In the field of culture they say we've wrecked the arts with political correctness. Kenneth Clarke was once a minister of education and announced that his education policy would be free of dogma.
The Daily Mail abuses children's books that tackle social issues with headlines about the innocence of childhood being wrecked. Oh, bring back the good old days, they all say, when art was art and politics was politics.
You can only get away with this if you have short memories and short sight. New Labour's struggle to impose a capitalist plan for London Underground has stripped away any pretence that economics and politics are different. Ideology and dogma don't get much clearer, and as I was doing a bit of teaching this week I came across a book that made me think the same.
The name Sir Henry Newbolt may not mean much to you, but if you were at school between 1895 and 1950 you would know him well. Through these years, millions of British kids chanted his poetry and memorised it for life. So, unlike the horrid ideological stuff of today, Newbolt's stuff, we might presume, must be well nigh non-political?
Well, er...not exactly. Unless there's no politics in saying that "faith in all the Island Race" gets us "storming the Afghan mountain-track" as part of "the sweep and splendour of England's war". Island race? Doesn't that ring a bell? Tory MPs making up fairy stories about a "homogenous Anglo-Saxon culture", perhaps? OK to kill Afghans over there, but godammit, we can't have them living here.
Again and again his poems glory in battle and slaughter: "With never a foot lagging or head bent, to the clash and clamour and dust of death they went." Many of the kids who read that marched off to die in the mud in France in 1916. Elsewhere we read that we English have got "a kingdom none can take" while we bash up Spaniards, French and Dutchmen.
And our Sir Henry isn't shy about explaining why all this slaughter is necessary. Our ships are "laden with the spoil of the South", and we raise a tankard "for promised lands of gold". Because, remember, O Lord Almighty, we are "the race that strove to rule Thine earth". In fact, we know you so well, eh god? We know that "Thou wilt not turn Thy face away from those who work Thy will." (God is the British Empire's number one fan.)
And what happens when the natives rise up? Well, one Mehtab Singh who threatens British rule with mutiny is, of course, "proud and sly", so he gets lectured to by a Captain Nicholson: "Have ye served us for a hundred years, and yet ye know not why? We brook no doubt of our mastery, we rule until we die."
And with a distinctly non-dogmatic flourish to Mehtab, our captain signs off with, "When the strong command, obedience is best." After a career of writing this stuff there was one job left for Henry. Just before his death (not on the battlefield, I hasten to add) he was appointed chairman of the Newbolt report on "the teaching of English in England". A very non-political appointment, I'd say.
IT CAN carry 220 tonnes of freight but yesterday the RAF Hercules transport aircraft’s most precious cargo weighed just six pounds.
As gale force winds and ice grounded civilian aircraft, the Hercules flew a four-day-old boy from Swansea to Glasgow for life-saving treatment.
The mission began when doctors at Singleton Hospital in Swansea said that the tiny baby, who was suffering from a severe lack of oxygen because his lungs were not working properly, would die without specialist treatment.
Space was found at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, in Glasgow, 350 miles away. But on a stormy night, with the air ambulance and RAF rescue helicopters grounded, there seemed to be no way to get him there.
So the RAF agreed to scramble a Tristar to fly two doctors and a paediatric nurse and their equipment from Glasgow to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Meanwhile, the giant Hercules military transporter was flown from RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire to Brize Norton and was waiting on the tarmac to pick them up.
It then took off for Cardiff airport, from where the medical team travelled the 40 miles by road to Swansea. They spent several hours stabilising the baby before returning to Glasgow in the Hercules.
The aircraft touched down at about 10am, with paramedics standing by to transfer the baby to an incubator before taking him to Yorkhill in a special neonatal ambulance.
- A story that gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, and pride in that people can work so hard to save a tiny person. Let's hope the treatment is successful.
The sound of freedom
I often forget how little military hardware most people ever see. Living in Wiltshire our windows rattle from artillery fire most days, tanks cross local roads, and planes and helicopters cross the sky.
This morning as I was walking the dogs on the Marlborough Downs from the other side of the ridge there was the unmistakable and magnificent noise of two Chinooks coming in low. Straight over my head. It is the sound of freedom.
Iraq war troops had two bullets each
From The Times Online:
A NUMBER of British troops were forced to give up body armour in Iraq in the same way as a sergeant who died from bullet wounds, Tory MPs told the Commons yesterday.
Equipment was so scarce that servicemen behind the front line were issued with only two bullets each and had to have a whip-round for more if they went forward, the Commons was told.
Ministers were accused by the Conservatives of failing to order sufficient desert supplies because they were scared of upsetting anti-war rebels.
- I would need more than two bullets to put right this disgrace. - And according to Kim du Toit the americans might be running a bit short of ammo as well, but at least they are doing something about it because they need "4 million rounds a day " to ensure they have enough to restock and train properly!
January 13, 2004
EU sues EU
On bunch of crooks are suing the other bunch of crooks or something like that - I wouldn't trust any of them with a brass farthing let alone our currency.
Oh and what is the BBC's take on it?
Well I suppose he is right, but I would have thought the big story wasn't about how the nasty Eurosceptics are being horrible to the EU, but about why this extraordinary situation has arisen.
RSS feeding frenzy
I'm honoured that Mark at Individual Thoughts has got his RSS feed sidebar up and I'm featured. Much appreciated.
Not missing you already
BBC home affairs correspondent Andy Tighe said this would be very embarrassing for the Prison Service.
I wouldn't be embarrassed at all, in fact I would encourage the prison service to furnish more of the cells with a strong hook in the ceiling and a length of hempen rope.
"the patient told the authorities he had been ordered by "voices from God" to enter the lion's den."
My advice - if you start hearing "Voices from God" go and have a nice cup of tea and a bit of a lie down - they should go away then, but if they persist ask for it in writing just to make sure what it is He really wants you to do. But at least this poor guy only hurt himself unlike some others who have heard the voices in the past.
It makes me proud.
According to The Times Online
BRITISH consumers are nothing if not robust. Tell them that a certain food is so laden with carcinogens that they should eat it no more than three times a year, and they rush out to buy it by the trolleyful.
In the wake of last week's US report accusing Scottish farmed salmon of being stuffed to the gills with pollutant chemicals, supermarket chains were pleasantly surprised to find it leaping off the shelves at the weekend, and some Scottish producers found that orders and inquiries had gone through the roof.
Asda yesterday reported a 20 per cent increase in all its salmon ranges. "We saw this massive leap on Friday when the report was published."
Sainsbury's also reported an increase of some 10 per cent on salmon products, while Safeway said that salmon sales had gone up "significantly".
Now that is the way to treat stupid health scares, maybe one day the bogusmongers will shut up if we keep treating them with the contempt they deserve!
January 12, 2004
A Trip through cyberspace.
Tim Blair notes "some fun LSD drawing experiments. “Upon completing the drawing the patient starts laughing, then becomes startled by something on the floor.” " which I noticed a couple of weeks earlier in the memepool.
In the same vein and also from the 1950s there is the 14MB classic of LSD being tested on British troops , which if you can afford the wait is worth downloading.
A national disgrace
Gulf war hero Colonel Tim Collins has resigned from the Army.
The Mail on Sunday quoted Collins' wife Caroline as saying he was disillusioned with changes in the armed forces.
"He's worried it is being crippled by political correctness, petty bureaucracy and the refusal of politicians who send British soldiers to war to give them enough money to do their job."
Mrs Collins told the newspaper a major factor in her husband's decision to resign was the Army's failure to support him when he was wrongly accused of mistreating Iraqi prisoners.
I don't blame him at all - but what an appalling indictment on our political masters this is.
As the excellent Mr Free Market said
It is Tommy updated for the 21st Century - and simply because I want to spread it as widely as I can I am reproducing his article in the extended section - I'll buy you a beer for it!
In The Daily Telegraph, Peter Pindar penned the following updated poem;
We aren’t made for cool Britannia; we leave boot marks on the floor.
We don’t walk like Peter Mandelson or talk like Jack Straw.
Call us “forces of conservatism” if it suits your turn
But we’re off like some world fire brigade when the flash-points start to burn.
Yes it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that that, an’spend less on defence,
But who walks the streets of Basra when the air is getting tense?
When the air is getting tense, boys, from Kabul to Kosovo
Who’ll say goodbye to wife and kids, and shoulder pack and go?
The Queen, she’s sat in Windsor now for 50 years or more.
She’ll see this government depart like the other one before.
And Blair & Bush & Chirac make their plans to no avail
But who remains to serve the Crown when politicians fail?
O it’s Tommy change your values - now diversity’s the game;
But when Christmas leave is cancelled, then whose tyrants are to blame?
There’s tyrants in the mountains, boys, and tyrants in the sands,
So farewell to wives & risk your lives for them in foreign lands.
You will be delighted to know that I have little to add to that, save to say it has in my humble opinion, it has the right “line & length” on it. For those of you that are interested, the full version of the original poem is in the extended entry.
I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extra rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
I noticed the Muslim Council condemning Kilroy with these words:
Kilroy also displays a lamentable grasp of geography and history:
“The Arab world has not exactly earned our respect, has it? Iran is a vile, terrorist-supporting regime - part of the axis of evil.”
Iran is a largely Farsi-speaking country (not Arab) and heir to an enormously rich civilisation.
As a rule I don't have much time for racial stereotyping, but it made me wonder if Iranians aren't Arabs what are they?
A problem about identifying races is that there seems to be many layers to what race someone belongs to. Caucasian covers a lot of different types of people, so is Celtic also a race? and then are Irish Celts different from Breton Celts? I don't know and frankly don't care. One of the huge advantages of identifying yourself as an Englishman is that you are identifying yourself as a racial mongrel but with an identifiable culture.
Anyway, back to Iran. The Muslim Council seems to be basing their racial profiling on language - which must be wrong. So Iran has Arabs to the left of them, Asians to the right and Caucasians to the north. So what do they think they are themselves:
The Aryan National Press
I am Dariush, the Great King, the King of Kings
The King of many countries and many peoples
The King of this expansive land, the son of Wishtasp Achamenia
Persian, the son of a Persian, 'Aryan', from the Aryan Race
Dariush's scripture in Naqshe-e-Rostam
So I least I have learnt something from this whole tale.
One health scare that wont worry the French.
January 10, 2004
Spring is in the air!
Here is the objective BBC environment correspondent Alex Kirby writing about the recent Doom warnings
A triple onslaught (of doom reports - Million animals going extinct, modernlifestyles are bad for us and the planet, and climate change worse danger than terrorism) like that defies anyone to head into the new year feeling even slightly positive about the human condition.
Sorry sunshine - I have a positive spring in my step as I see the Green worrywartss and econazis getting bashed all over the field by real scientists.
We believe the scientists:
Yes I do - but not the same ones you do!
Many species' prospects are dim
Some of us just refuse to react, blaming the messengers for their message and accusing the scientists of scaremongering.
But (at the risk of tempting fate) my inbox has been blessedly much freer recently of flat-earthers and foam-flecked contrarians.
Well that about sums up your objective stance to the very real debate about Climate Change - how the frick can the BBC employ such a bigot?
- Oh sorry silly question!
Breaking News - 'Chemical weapons' found in Iraq
Danish troops have found dozens of mortar rounds in southern Iraq which could contain chemical weapons according to initial tests.
The 36 120mm shells appeared to have been buried for at least 10 years, the army said.
All showed traces of blister gases, the army said, a group of chemical compounds which include mustard gas.
The comments are published on the Danish army website, according to Reuters news agency.
- They must be a lot that was overlooked when the rest were moved to Syria.
Oh Dear PETA won't like this
Quotes of the day
"Aim towards the Enemy." -Instruction printed on US Rocket Launcher
"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend." -U.S. Army
"Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are
guaranteed to always hit the ground." U.S.A.F.Ammo Troop
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." -Infantry Journal
"A slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least
expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what's left of your
unit." -Army's magazine of preventive maintenance.
"It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just
bombed." -U.S. Air Force Manual
"Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo." -Infantry Journal
"Tracers work both ways." -U.S. Army Ordnance
"Five-second fuses only last three seconds." -Infantry Journal
"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid." --Col. David
"If your attack is going too well, you're probably walking into an
ambush." -Infantry Journal
"No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection." -Joe Gay
"Any ship can be a minesweeper ... once."-Anon
"Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do." Unknown Army
"Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you." -Unknown
(And lastly) "If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with
him." --U.S.A. Ammo Troop
Help, I need someone.
So I said to Mr Free Market as I left the pub not half an hour ago - I'll post those couple of amusing tales. But what were they?
January 9, 2004
He should blog instead.
Mr Kilroy-Silk's piece started: "We are told by some of the more hysterical critics of the war on terror that 'it is destroying the Arab world'. So? Should we be worried about that?"
Some have complained that anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment has led to attacks
Mr Kilroy-Silk went on to say that the toppling of despotic regimes in the Middle East should be a war aim, and questioned the contribution of the Arab nations to world welfare and civilisation.
"Apart from oil - which was discovered, is produced and is paid for by the West - what do they contribute? Can you think of anything? Anything really useful?... No, nor can I...
"We're told the the Arabs loathe us. Really?... What do they think we feel about them? That we adore them for the way they murdered more than 3,000 civilians on 11 September and then danced in the hot, dusty streets to celebrate the murders?"
He said Arab nations should be grateful for the aid and technology the West had provided.
"They should go down on their knees and thank God for the munificence of the United States."
Silly boy for saying such things, the BBC has now banned him. And we must be alert for nasty boys because as:
CRE chair Trevor Phillips said: "This article is indisputably stupid and its main effect will be to give comfort to the weak-minded.
"However, given the extreme and violent terms in which Mr Kilroy-Silk has expressed himself, there is a danger that this might incite some individuals to act against someone who they think is an Arab."
And Mr Phillips has had "no choice" but to report it to the police to look into.
I didn't know anyone would actually act on Kilroy-Silk's thoughts but we can't be too careful can we. Free Speech can't be valuable can it because it is free, and of course everyone can see the factual errors he makes in the quotes above.
The third annual Numby Awards
The Balls Pond Road was in seasonal festive mood with lights flashing red, green and amber. They were, however, outshone by the powerful lights erected by the TV crews. Next year they have promised to bring cameras. Distinguished participants milled about in the foyer leading to the stairs up to the glamorous assembly rooms above the Takeaway Kebab, removing waterproofs and bicycle clips. The air was filled with the sounds of air kisses, "Mwaagh" and "Daahling".
The master of ceremonies for the occasion was Old Ned, emeritus environmental correspondent for Number Watch. He had become bored with his retirement, brought about by unexpected wealth from wind farming, and he is now taking a degree in Chat Show Hosting at the Metropolitan University of Nether Wallop. The presentations were made by Baroness Eckerslyke, Junior Minister for Truth and Stuff.
Science - my arse
Science Magazine seems to be specialising in bollocks today:
Farmed Salmon : "toxins high enough to suggest that people eat no more than two salmon meals a month"
And "Climate change is a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism", the government's chief
TWAT scientific adviser, Sir David King, has said.
This is same
TWAT scientific adviser that set up a committee that ordered the unnecessary slaughter of millions of animals in the Foot and Mouth fiasco. I can only guess he knows something otherwise I can't imagine why he still has a job, but that doesn't mean anyone has to to pay any attention to him.
January 8, 2004
Joan Smith - The Great Iraq Expert.
In The Times Online - Newspaper Edition Joan Smith spouts on the situation in Iraq:
Headline-grabbing visits from politicians cannot disguise the fact that morale is seriously low among American soldiers in Iraq
IT IS NOT what was meant to happen. The Iraq war, as imagined by George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair, was supposed to be a quick in-and-out, a short military campaign after which a grateful populace would get on with the job of rebuilding their country.
Well I know you Journalists were expecting an MTV war, and I'm not sure if Tone had any idea about anything but the Military, Bush and Rummy had more sense and knew they were in for the long haul.
Instead, it is increasingly clear that the American military finds itself stuck in Iraq without sufficient troops, and the Army has had to resort to coercing soldiers to stay with their units.
... The situation is so serious that the US Army has introduced measures to prevent soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan from leaving the service when the period for which they enlisted expires. The “stop loss” orders mean that troops will have to remain in service while their units are deployed, and for another 90 days when they return to their home bases.
So this is unusual? Isn't it just normal practice?
Well before the war started, voices were raised about the morality of sending soldiers from the poorest sections of American society — the Army contains disproportionate numbers of black kids, white youngsters from deprived rural communities and Latinos — to a country where they might well become the targets of ruthless guerrilla fighters.
I must be getting deaf - I didn't here those voices. I suppose in her racist patronising way she would prefer them to be on Welfare rather than working their way out of poverty through one of the traditional routes - I would refer the Lady to my earlier posts, for instance about a poor Crofter's son who rose through the ranks.
It continues in this vein so I wondered who this Joan Smith was, and why she was such an expert on Iraq. Google found Tightrope walks where I am sure the same Joan Smith says: "Well, I would say that a lot of us here tonight are probably on the side of the French! " and asks this question: "Can you expand on this interesting suggestion that bin Laden is in some ways a phallic figure, a successful masculinising figure, in the Middle East? "
So can I be bothered to fisk the rest of her article - when Dearly Beloved Reader I am sure you have already done so in your mind? No.
From the excellent Crumb Trail
Theory is useful but experiments are more satisfying. Many important, age-old mysteries have been solved this way. A recent effort discloses effective methods for stone skimming (or skipping) on water bodies.
Want to skim the perfect stone? A team of French researchers have worked out how, using their very own stone-skipping machine...
To achieve the maximum number of rebounds, the angle between a spinning stone and the water should be about 20 degrees, advises Clanet: "This is the magic angle."
Spin, speed and shape are also important. A stone is more likely to rebound if it is rotating, they found. This is because spin stabilises the object and prevents it from falling into the water.
And there was silly old me thinking that Barnes Wallis had already done these experiments some time ago, as this sketch of his from 1942 shows:
January 7, 2004
More on Gary the Bombed
A chorus of condemnation was led by Mr Titley, leader of the Labour group in the European parliament. He said: "The party that makes excuses for would-be murderers in the middle of a terrorist campaign against the European parliament deserves to be shunned by all democrats."
This is either Gary making a cheap political point or rank hypocrisy. Or does he feels the same way about Ken Livingstone now he is back in the Labour Party ;
"Oct 1981 After IRA bomb attack on Irish Guards in Chelsea says IRA are not criminals"
"Nov 1982 Invites Sinn Fein delegation to GLC "
"Nov 1987 Speaks up for IRA in wake of Enniskillen"
or doesn't "excusing" an organisation that attacks the British Parliament count as badly as a half-arsed letter bomb campaign against a few eurocrats.
And of course I could then go onto make a few cheap point about Red Ken and Palestinians, to say nothing of "Our Beloved Leader's Wife" with her sympathy for suicide bombers.
You calling me hormonal?
If you have a tendency to get angry quick or overreact to simple stuff you could have IMS. There are many easy presciption treatments available but the easiest treatment is a proper diet and weightloss, if you are overweight.
I don't think its my hormones that make me angry, it's politicians, bureacrats, socialists, econazis,... - THE LOT OF THEM... Nurse, the tablets please.
But Rosemary please, if you cured IMS there wouldn't be any blogs worth reading.
Nissan has warned that its Sunderland plant could lose production of one of its most important cars if the UK continues to stay outside the euro.
The Wearside facility currently makes the company's mid-sized Almera model, but Nissan says it may now produce the forthcoming replacement in France.
Carlos Ghosn, the company's president and chief executive, made the threat at the Detroit motor show.
He said it would be "relatively easy" to switch to the continent.
Nissan's threat to move production of the Almera replacement to France may mean the government steps in with a financial package.
This happened two years ago when it came up with some £40m to keep the Micra supermini model at the Sunderland plant.
Mr Ghosen (a Brazilian of Lebanese heritage who was trained in France) obviously has the hang of this government. - £40m last time - I wonder how much he wants this time...
Beer Drinking warning
January 6, 2004
Freedom to work.
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | EU wants end to hours opt-out
British workers are being routinely and unfairly forced to opt out of the EU's 48-hour week and made to work the longest hours in Europe, the European commission claimed yesterday...
Brendan Barber, the TUC's general secretary, called on the commission to scrap the opt-out. "It's about time UK workers got the same protection against bullying bosses and long working days as workers do in the rest of Europe," he said in a statement. "Removing the individual opt-out would help signal the end of Britain's unhealthy long hours culture."
I want freedom from bullying bureaocrats and Union bosses and the ability to work when and how the frick I want to. I want to live in a country that can benefit from people's hard work and amongst people who reap the rewards for their own hard work. I don't want to be among the dumbed down idle euroweenies.
Anti EU bombs
Letter bombs sent to EU politicians are the "price of forcing a political ideal on people" according to the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
MEP Nigel Farage said his party had predicted 10 years ago the path the EU was taking could end in civil unrest.
But a British MEP targeted in one of the terror attacks said Mr Farage's comments were "despicable".
"This is about the worst thing I have heard in my entire time in politics," Gary Titley told BBC News Online.
The UKIP is trying to suggest a reason for the bombs, not excuse them. Just as trying to understand the Islamofascists is important in defeating them so is trying to understand why people are sending you bombs might be a good idea.
And the UKIP is right - people react with anger against excessive rule.
And Gary dear - I know it was nasty and shocking to get a parcel that went bang - but if the UKIP statement was really "about the worst thing I have heard in my entire time in politics" you really have been living a very sheltered life.
Outsourcing - from an Indian Perspective
The Indian Press has an interesting article on Out sourcing IT jobs to India from an Indian persective: IT needs demand, India demands IT - Newindpress.com
It talks about the why companies are choosing India...Should the unionists succeed, all that will happen is that firms in Europe and the US that are outsourcing to India, firms that are setting up R&D centres here, will conclude that locations in India cannot be relied upon for uninterrupted work.....
(See below for more)
.... Lower-end service jobs - like answering the phone in call centres - might as well go abroad. Those is poorer countries need them more than we do. It helps those overseas climb up the economic ladder, and helps us too. The anti-capitalists say that globalization is a race to the bottom. Actually, it is a race to the top. In Britain and America, thanks to investment in technology, our jobs are getting more and more productive. It is quite clear that as we get richer, we will keep on losing jobs to overseas countries. The good news is that we will keep on creating new, better ones as well.
NEW DELHI: We have done exceedingly well in software. Incentives given by the government have helped. The 39 Software Technology Parks that it created, and in which information technology firms could get world-class facilities under one roof, have been decisive: 80 per cent of IT exports originate from units operating out of these 39 parks. The task is to now replicate this kind of success in the hardware sector.
For that we have to go many miles farther than we would have had to a decade ago _ when some of the companies came to set up their production facilities here, and we turned our noses up. For by now they have already established their factories in China, Malaysia etc. Why should they not expand those operations, why should they not set up their next factory in those countries rather than pick up their bags and come to India? They will do so only if what we have to offer them is decidedly better than what they actually have in their present locations.
That is a lesson we still have not learnt. The other day the lead story running across the front page of Business Line was ``Trade unions setting their sights on IT sector''. The familiar litany: ``anarchy''; ``the conditions are worse than the exploitation seen in villages''; labour laws are being violated; ``feelings of insecurity, humiliation'' ...
Should the unionists succeed, all that will happen is that firms in Europe and the US that are outsourcing to India, firms that are setting up R&D centres here, will conclude that locations in India cannot be relied upon for uninterrupted work.
Take the simplest example. Women are not to work at night, many activists insist. But a call centre for the US must function when that country is awake _ that is, during the Indian night. A union demanding that such operations be outlawed will only be, to use the phrase much-favoured by Lenin, ``objectively'' serving the interests of those in the US, UK etc. who are out to block outsourcing to India.
Nor is it just a question of enforcing one demand. Even more important is the general atmosphere of the sector, the penumbra around an investment destination. And a reputation once acquired lasts long after the reality has changed. West Bengal today is a fairly peaceful place in which to operate a factory. But the 'reputation' that it acquired because of militant trade unionism in the 1960s and 1970s keeps investors away till this day.
Ironically, the way out has been shown by none other than the government of West Bengal. While CPI(M) representatives in Delhi have been shouting about the right to strike being a fundamental right, of it being the bulwark of democracy itself, the CPI(M) government in West Bengal has notified information technology to be a ``public utility'' _ thus putting it beyond the mischief of strikes and bandhs.
January 5, 2004
A Fruit Case
A chef who cut his finger is suing a hotel for £25,000 compensation by claiming no-one warned him about the danger posed by an avocado...
Thank God it wasn't soemthing really dangerous like a Free Market Brazil Nut.
Sozialversicherung macht frei!
This German example of the Nanny State brought a lump to my throat yeterday.
For the first time in almost seven years 12-year-old Corinna Kutzner and her younger sister Nicola spent Christmas at home. The two girls were torn away from their family not because their parents abused them or did not love them but because they were simply deemed too "stupid" to care for them.
The International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ordered the German authorities to return the children more than a year ago but it was only last month that the social services in Bersenbrück, Lower Saxony, complied. "We're not a perfect family," says 35-year-old Annette, the children's mother. "But we are a good one, and after so many years we're just trying to put all the pieces back together."
... it ends...
“For Christmas the girls said they wanted bicycles,” he says, “so that even if they are taken away again they’ll be able to cycle back.”
When the children returned they did not cheer or run to wildly hug their parents — that happened later. First, they quietly sat down in a circle and held each other’s hands. During their long years away they had only been allowed to see each other for one hour each month, under strict rules: no touching, no kissing and no emotional topics.
“When they took them away we didn’t know what to tell the girls, so we told them they were going on holiday and hoped we would have them back in a week,” says Annette. It was nine months later, just before Christmas 1997, that they were allowed to visit them for the first time.
The Kutzners are undoubtedly eccentric. Their tiny farmhouse is shared by two grandparents, three parrots, a dog and more than 40 stuffed animals mounted on the walls. “It’s a bit weird but it’s Grandad’s hobby,” says Corinna, giggling and pointing to a stuffed Persian cat. “That was our pet Strolch, and those are some of our parrots that died, and those are dead owls he found on the road.”
The girls’ uncle also lives with the family. A gardener who lovingly tenders an “English garden” in front of the house, Detlef has retarded speech and was born with a crippled right hand.
“When the social worker came she found us a strange bunch and took an instant dislike to us,” says Ingo Kutzner, the girls’ father, who works on a chicken farm in the village. “She was only in her late twenties, was single and had never had kids of her own.”
The social worker had arrived at Annette Kutzner’s request. Finding it difficult to cope with two children and a sick father-in-law who had to be washed and shaved each morning, a friend had suggested the social services might be able to help.
The family thought the young social worker had been sent to help them with household chores. In fact she was making notes on their performance as parents.
Her report said it was “difficult to imagine that the parents could contribute to the children’s healthy development given their own development deficit”. A court concluded they were too “intellectually substandard” to be parents.
After being away for a week five-year-old Corinna made it clear that the “holiday” was over and it was time to go home, according to official reports. Nicola was depressed and cried herself to sleep each night. But not content to separate the children from their parents, social workers also decided to separate the sisters.
After a year in the children’s home they were put into different foster families. “A degeneration in their IQ is already pre-programmed into them and their only chance is to acquire new parents. It is best this is done separately because otherwise the older sister would dominate and stifle her younger sister’s development,” read a report justifying the decision.
Determined to prove herself a good mother, Annette enrolled on an intensive course to become a childminder. In Germany the register of “tagesmutter” is rigorously regulated by the government and requires first-aid skills as well as knowledge of psychology and sociology. After passing her course with flying colours in the same year the children were taken away, she presented her qualification to the social services and demanded her children back. But they were unimpressed.
“We didn’t know what to do,” says Ingo. “We had to do an IQ test even though I can read and had a job, but they told us we were just too stupid and what can you do against that?” In private the family compare their treatment with how the Nazis had dealt with society’s “untermenschen”. “But of course you can’t say that sort of thing publicly in Germany,” says grandfather Kutzner.
Almost bankrupting themselves, the Kutzners hired a solicitor and petitioned the courts as well as parliament and Gerhard Schröder, the chancellor. But their efforts went unrewarded until Volker Laubert, head of the action group Germany’s Rights for Children, took their case to the International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
At school Corinna is doing well enough to study two languages and was able to describe in English her visit to Buckingham Palace this summer. But both girls feel divided loyalty towards their foster parents, with whom they have spent half their lives.
Despite being reunited, Ingo says the family is still living with the irrational fear that a social worker may suddenly reappear on their doorstep to take the girls away: “For Christmas the girls said they wanted bicycles,” he says, “so that even if they are taken away again they’ll be able to cycle back.”
January 4, 2004
"To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT... In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable."
[National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Research in the Life Sciences of the Committee on Science and Public Policy. 1970.)
- And the Econazis are banning it everywhere and people are dying!
January 3, 2004
Reasons for Blogging, Part three
I thought it worth bring this comment to one of my posts to your attention:
An Englishman's Castle: French Fighting Men
"many thanks for the link to info on operation exporter, My uncle was in 2 Kings Own and was killed on the 11th July 1941 by the Vichy French. I found his grave on the net (www.cwgc.org/cwgcinternet/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=2937131) and wanted to know more about the action he was involved in. Maybe he knew your old man, who knows. Needless to say we didn't use much French produce in our house"
I am honoured to have been of help, we must never forget.
And it reinforces my point that the modern view of the Vichy French as meek victims of the Nazis is not the whole truth!
I have noticed a lamentable slipping of standards over this festive break. I'm not one to lay down the law but sometimes a line must be drawn.
Wristwatches: Dear Oscar was the first man to wear a wristwatch in England and was fingered for the type he was - running off leaving his wife and children for a peach-like. Wristwatches are acceptable for a Levantine Merchant but a real Gentleman has either a pocket watch or a man who tells him the time.
Hankins: or handkerchiefs. "One for show - one for blow" Keep one in your breast pocket for wiping smuts out of Ladies' eyes and the business one up your sleeve - never in your pocket!
Shoes "no brown in town"- I need say no more - All shoes should be bulled every morning and the give away is the instep - (the bit between the heel and flat on the underneath) it should be as shiny as the top.
Man made fibres are also known as plastic - if you want to wear them why not use a Tesco carrier bag?
I look forward to an improvement next week.
The Colonel retold this story tonight:
One of the old school army officers on a private income decided to learn Paragliding. So he turns up and is strapped in for his maiden flight wearing an open necked Tattershall shirt and Tweeds. The Lycra clad and helmeted instructor hesitantly mentions that Sir might be improperly dressed;
"Absolutely, stupid of me not to realise."
Off back to the Hanger he goes, and returns five minutes later wearing his well earned Parachute Regiment tie, and still in the tweeds.
And on with the lesson.
January 2, 2004
Michael Howard's Pledge
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I don't think I disagree with any of that...
New Year's Resolution
I think this year my resolution comes from "The Shootist"
"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."
And here it is as spoken by the Man:
Flying Pig Wishes
I know what I want for 2004: A chance to use "Flying Pig Airlines" next time I cross the Pond.
Just imagine: a compulsory Sandridge Farm Wiltshire Cure Bacon Sandwich on check in.
On board a light meal of Nigella's Coca Cola Ham with Parsley Sauce and Mashed King Edwards, followed by a main meal of Roast Pork with Crackling.
Sit back on the pigskin seats with a glass of Pig's Nose whisky and a bowl of Pork Scratchings watching Babe for the tenth time.
I know I would love to fly on such an airline - I wonder who wouldn't?
"The people have spoken, the bastards!" Stephen Pound MP reflects on the result of our listeners' law competition. "
Oh dear, the people have upset the trendy Today program and the muppet MP who offered to propose the law they wanted - and what did they want?
"The proposal to authorise homeowners to use any means to defend their home from intruders "
Note the dropping of the word "reasonable" and also it is homeowners which wouldn't include tenants.