February 27, 2004
They are what lamp posts are for.
Samizdata.net brings us the sorry story of St Pauls Studios - if you are lucky enough not to have suffered from the shrunkdicks of your local planning office then read and learn what you are missing. If you do feel outraged here are the email addresses...
Colin Aherne, Labour, Tel: 020 8753 2192
Will Bethell, Conservative, Tel: 07980 017 569
Michael Cartwright, Labour, Tel 020 8741 5238
Caroline Donald, Conservative, Tel 020 8749 3859
Greg Hands, Conservative, Tel 020 7381 2593
Wesley Harcourt, Labour, Tel 020 8749 3298
Jafar Khaled, Labour, Tel 020 8753 2020
Dame Sally Powell, Labour, Tel 020 8753 2021
Frances Stainton, Conservative, Tel 020 7385 3672
Charlie Treloggan, Labour, Tel 020 8753 2013
As the newly appointed chairman of Arizona-based Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., parent of the famous firearms maker, James Minder Jr. knows a thing or two about guns - specifically the double-barreled, sawed-off kind.
Decades ago, in a life far removed from his decades of community service and current perch in the corporate suite, Minder used to have the nasty habit of robbing shopkeepers with a 16-gauge shotgun after his classes at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
In a story stranger than fiction, Minder - the infamous "Student by Day, Bandit at Night"
is now was the top ranking board member at one of America's largest gun manufacturers.
Some cases of mouth cancer could be caused by a virus contracted during oral sex, scientists have warned. ...
Experts say heavy smoking or drinking causes most mouth cancers, but the HPV link could help explain why some young adults develop the rare disease.
But they stressed people did not need to alter their behaviour.
Well alter as in "increase" might be OK - as Bill Hicks said if men could give themselves oral sex, all the women in the audience would be sat on their own watching an empty stage.
But if this persistant tickle in the back of my throat proves to be something other than a sore throat I would just like to blame the smoke and drink, OK?
Mr Free Market suggests I should be sending Pork Aid to America and ship them some sausages.
The BBC worries that Sausage survey shows salt threat
The great British banger may threaten our health - by containing far too much salt, say watchdogs.
A survey of dozens of makes and brands by the Food Standards Agency found that most have levels which make it hard for consumers to stick to daily limits.
High intakes of salt have been linked with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Of course we know better than to worry about Salt don't we thanks to Numberwatch though of course the evidence won't stop the health Nazis ..."Across the UK, about 34,000 people will die through high salt consumption, said the charity."
Now back to my Marmite Crisps (0.2g Sodium per pack), yum!.
February 26, 2004
Get home to wiltshire and it is white here as wellImage taken on 26/2/2004 18:10
February 25, 2004
The Times Online - Newspaper Edition reports
A DOG owner has made a formal complaint after being threatened with arrest and fined Ł50 because she failed to spot her Jack Russell leaving a small souvenir on a north Devon beach.
Four police cars were dispatched after a dog warden caught Camilla Sharpe's terrier Molly in flagrante.
Mrs Sharpe, who was using a public lavatory at the time, failed to spot the incident.
She claims that she offered to clear up the mess but the warden had refused to even tell her where it was and insisted that she had to sign a piece of paper accepting the fine. When she refused, the warden called the police, who arrived moments later, sirens blaring.
Spot a burglar and one van might turn up the next day, so next time don't say you house is being broken into say a little dog is doing a poo-poo on a huge deserted beach! Priorities huh.
I mentioned the case of Katherine Gun and the suggestion that the case might be embarrassing to Mr Blair - guess what despite her leaking secrets to the papers no evidence has been offered in the case and she has been let off, as has Tony!
Third world justice yet again.
February 24, 2004
.Image taken on 24/2/2004 21:41
February 23, 2004
Stopped in Kremmlin to buy Mr Free Market a gun, no luck.Image taken on 23/2/2004 22:2
skiing in injun territoryImage taken on 23/2/2004 16:26
February 21, 2004
I Iove the cheap dollar
New hat or New boots?
WowImage taken on 20/2/2004 17:34Image taken on 20/2/2004 17:34Image taken on 20/2/2004 17:34Image taken on 20/2/2004 17:34
February 20, 2004
Wow afer a nine hour flight, ninety minutes queing to get to immigration I then had a four hour drive in the snow over mountain passes to get here. But it is 6.45 am now and we are starting work.
This is out the window, the Yampa valley.Image taken on 20/2/2004 14:39
February 18, 2004
Talk amongst yourselves as I am off tomorrow on a business trip to Steamboat: Springs.
I will try an blog a little but the meetings are going to be hard work and there will be no time for play...
So wish me luck as I fly over the pond with my lucky pork chop around my neck, and behave yourselves!.
Next time I'm over I hope to meet up with some of the Colonial Bloggers for a beer - if any are reading this and are near Steamboat give me a shout.
(Oh and Mrs Englishman is staying at home with the vicious dogs to keep her company as she oils the firearms - so don't go trying to break into The Castle).
Is taken from STIFF LITTLE FINGERS lyrics - Suspect Device
They take away our freedom
In the name of liberty
Why don't they all just clear off
Why won't they let us be
They make us feel indebted
For saving us from hell
And then they put us through it
It's time the bastards fell
Though I won't be humming the last verse as I go through Heathrow tomorrow...
We're a suspect device if we do what we're told
But a suspect device can score an own goal
I'm a suspect device the Army can't defuse
You're a suspect device they know they can't refuse
We're gonna blow up in their face
(And no I'm not a Microsoft hater, I just think it works better.)
The way to run a country!
Go and read "The Next Logical Step " at Samizdata.net
Best idea iI have heard for ages!.
February 17, 2004
No more new bloggers
The Truth Laid Bear has laid the newblogger showcase to rest - I don't blame him it looked like it was getting too much work. But it was interesting and useful. Thanks!
80,000 civil servants
Headlines this morning from the UK papers:
80,000 civil servants start two-day strike
The Times (subscription),
MORE THAN 80,000 civil servants began a two-day strike yesterday amid worsening relations between government employers and the main civil service union...
LABOUR PLAN TO AXE 80,000 CIVIL SERVANTS
Glasgow Daily Record
GORDON Brown is weighing up a plan that would slash 80,000 civil servants and free Ł15billion a year for front-line schools and hospitals. ...
Sometimes it is all too easy....
Way to go.
The Telegraph reports:
The widow of an expert on vintage shotguns had her husband's ashes loaded into cartridges and used by friends for the last shoot of the season.
A total of 275 12-bore cartridges were produced from the mix and were blessed by a minister before they were used to bag pheasants, partridges, ducks and a fox on Brucklay Estate.
What a great idea! and wonderful she found a traditional Vicar who was happy to go along with it - around our parts we are waiting for Mr Free Market to be ordained before we can experience such sense from the clergy.
A Smoking Gun?
I came across the case of Katherine Gun last night.
From Time Magazine:
Sunday, Jan. 25, 2004
Standing in the dock of a London court last week, Katharine Gun was yet another reason why Tony Blair can't put the Iraq war behind him. She was a translator at Britain's secret eavesdropping agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). But last year, as the U.S. and Britain prepared to invade Iraq, she came across an e-mail from Frank Koza, deputy chief of the Regional Targets section of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), asking GCHQ to mount a "surge" of spying against members of the U.N. Security Council whose votes would be crucial to passing a second resolution authorizing war. This request would probably not have shocked most of the target diplomats — the NSA is widely known to intercept communications even from allies — but Gun was outraged at what she considered an attempt to subvert the U.N.
My thoughts - another bleeding heart who believes her conscience is more important than obeying the law, thank God it wasn't any thing really important she was trusted with, send her down. But a little part of me always admires people who refuse to "just obeying orders" and a bigger part admires anyone who is going to embarrass Tony Blair.
And finally should I be saying any of this? - it isn't being covered in the UK and I can find nothing on the BBC site...
BBC NEWS UKFS - Search Results For Katharine Gun
February 16, 2004
Least surprising headline this year - so far.
A winning slogan?
"The choice at the next election will not be about whether government spending should rise, but about how fast government spending should rise and about how that money is spent," he said.
Sorry doesn't do it for me - how about "I will ride through the bureaucracy of the civil service like Boudicca in her chariot. We will cut, cut and cut again and give people their money back to spend how they think fit." - that is more like what I want to hear.
Shaken, not stirred.
We all know the line: "A medium-dry martini, shaken, not stirred." But the literary James Bond drank relatively few of the cocktails, seeming to prefer scotch or bourbon. The big screen version of 007 is just as likely to open a bottle of champagne.
This raises the question, what exactly does James Bond drink? That's the leitmotif behind this site. We'll examine each 007 book and movie, methodically compile the results and empirically prove our conclusions.
Visit Idaho May 7th, 8th, and 9th for a real blast!
As Mr Bluetouchpaper would say:
I don't know why everyone does not share my delight with explosives. If they don't, it has to be some abhorrent character defect.
From: Ragnar's Guide to Home and Recreational Use of High Explosives
Now all I need to do is find a Business Trip...
February 15, 2004
A bit of frost in the air this weekend at The Castle. I remembered to buy some flowers from the Petrol Station for Valentine's Day. OK, they were the last sorry bunch and the cellophane smelt of Diesel. But hey, it is the thought that counts.
Mrs Englishman took one look at the drooping carnations and said "I hope you aren't expecting me to lie on my back with legs in the air for those!"
"No, I think a vase would be better" was my unwise reply...
February 14, 2004
The White Company - purveyors of quality linens - (I really do recommend them) believes in offering a full range of salutation options.
Whereas Boden - purveyors of kids clothes and jackets to Middle England and Fulham have a subtly different target market.
So as Mr Free Market didn't make it and the Colonel had to leave early, it is left to me to report that athletic young women were dancing on tables and removing their bras in time to the music.
I won't be rolling over in bed tonight......
February 13, 2004
JOKES FROM GERMANY
The police. I'm afraid there's been an accident. Your husband is in
A man walks into a pub.
He is an alcoholic whose drink problem is destroying his family.
Did you hear about the blonde who jumped out off a bridge?
She was clinically depressed and took her own life because of her terribly
What do you call a cat with no tail?
A Manx cat.
Why do undertakers wear ties?
Because their profession is very serious, and it is important that their
appearance has a degree of gravitas.
How many electricians does it take to change a light bulb?
Why do women fake orgasms?
Because they want to give men the impression that they have climaxed.
Two men are sitting in a pub.
One man turns to the other and says: 'Last night I saw lots of strange men
coming in and out of your wife's house.'
The other man replies: 'Yes, she has become a prostitute to subsidise her
Two cows are in a field. Suddenly, from behind a bush, a rabbit leaps out
and runs away.
One cow looks round a bit, eats some grass and then wanders off.
Why are there no aspirin in the jungle?
Because it would not be financially viable to attempt to sell
pharmaceuticals in the largely unpopulated rainforest.
A man walking into a hospital notices a prominent surgeon and his surgical resident down on their hands and knees digging in one of the flower beds. He goes over to them and asks, â€śCan I help? Did you lose something?â€ť
â€śNo,â€ť says one of the surgeons, â€śWeâ€™re about to do a heart transplant on a individual health insurance executive and weâ€™re looking for a suitable stone.â€ť
One to read
In The Need for Nations, published by the independent think-tank Civitas, Roger Scruton argues that the nation state is the best guarantee we have of peace, prosperity and respect for human rights. Recent attempts to transcend the nation state by creating some kind of transnational political order have ended up either as totalitarian dictatorships like the former Soviet Union, or as unaccountable bureaucracies, like the European Union. In spite of this, the idea of the nation is under attack ”either despised as an atavistic form of social unity, or even condemned as a cause of war and conflict, to be broken down and replaced by more enlightened and more universal forms of jurisdiction".
Like all Scruton's books, The Need for Nations is beautifully written and, in places, amusing. He coins the term 'oikophobe' to describe intellectuals who hate nations or regard them as outdated. These 'oiks', whose 'hatred of home' leads them to demand international or Europe-wide rule, have failed to see the dangers in eliminating nations based on constitutional liberalism.
I was wondering what's a tapir? I imagined they were a tropical relative of my beloved pigs but they aren't.
"Tapirs are often mistaken for pigs and anteaters, they're in the odd-toed hooved animal family (perissodactyls), as are the horse and rinocerous. All four species of tapir are endangered."
See you can learn something everyday.
A different Penguin game
I didn't bother to link to the last game that did the rounds but as a favour here is a new one for a friday morning.
Coole Games - Hit the pinguin (HOT!)
OK you've seen it now - get on with your work!
February 12, 2004
JFK - womaniser?
Sometimes I wish I was an American then I could start commenting on the US presidential race - it is much more interesting than our own dear tame politics at the moment. See for instance this breaking story...DRUDGE REPORT 2004®
CAMPAIGN DRAMA ROCKS DEMOCRATS: KERRY FIGHTS OFF MEDIA PROBE OF RECENT ALLEGED INFIDELITY, RIVALS PREDICT RUIN
It is Tommy this...
I have mentioned it before but Being English in New York reminds me it worth mentioning again about the news that Colonel Tim Collins, OBE, the commander of 1 Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment at the initiation of hostilities in Iraq last year has resigned from the British Army.
Speaking for her husband, Caroline Collins fired a parting shot at both the Government and the Army's bureaucracy telling them that:
"Tim is no longer convinced that the Army reflects the country with the fourth largest economy in the world. He fears it is becoming a cottage industry.
"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."
Our Leaders should be ashamed, but it is nothing new - see Mr Free Market on about it, or as Rudyard had it...
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!
OK - the series is over, and it was only shown in the UK, but I bet they repeat it. So watch out for "Crafty Tricks of War" with Colonel Dick Strawbridge.
"Dick has now marched me outside once more for a look at his replica of the mighty Panjandrum, a sort of mobile Catherine wheel dreamt up by the boffins of the navy's Department of Miscellaneous Weapons during the Second World War. Rocket-powered and charged with high explosive, it was designed to destroy the huge defensive walls incorrectly assumed to exist at the time of the Normandy landings.
For the first episode of Crafty Tricks of War, the Panjandrum was rolled into a mountain of oil barrels , making a very satisfactory bang. The explosion - like all the explosions in the series - was the result of special effects rather than dynamite, and Dick is clearly rather sad about this. "We show archive footage of the Panjandrum being tested," he says, "and there are all these blokes standing very close to it in tweed suits, smoking pipes."
I need a moment to digest the implications of this, but Dick doesn't pause. "Of course, you've got to yearn for the adrenaline of the old days," he says."
From the Telegraph.
Pig Fat to the rescue.
ISRAELI police have come up with plans to place bags of pig lard on buses in a bid to deter Palestinian militants from carrying out suicide attacks, the Maariv daily reported.
Rabbinical authorities have given the idea its approval on the grounds that it could be a life-saving measure even though pigs are also considered impure by Jews.
Authorities believe that the move could discourage Palestinians from carrying out attacks as pieces of their exploded body could come into contact with the pig fat, prejudicing their chances of entering into paradise.
The paper said that the rabbinical dispensation could mean that security forces also hang bags of lard in shopping malls and schools.
February 11, 2004
I'll come quietly
LOS BANOS, California (AP) -- A sea lion that apparently swam upriver from the ocean into the inland canals of central California was captured after motorists spotted it flopping along the roadway, 65 miles from the sea.
The 300-pound animal, first reported Monday morning, basked in the sun on the back of a highway patrol cruiser while officers waited for a marine rescue team to fetch him.
So that is what to do when they book you - just chill out. I will remember that next week on I-70.
February 10, 2004
Bad News - the best I've read for a long time.
Couldn't run a whelk stall
Does anyone else remember the grand announcement (see continue reading bit) that the .eu Internet domain was all go.
OK it was in 2000, which you might think was about five years late anyway.
The Register reports that:
"The domain is now said to be up and running Q1 next year"
In other words it might be really ready in 2005, because of the bureaucracy involved in setting it up.
How long it it take private enterprise and the Americans to set up any number of other domains? About five minutes. Thank God we didn't rely on the EU to set up anything important to do with the Internet.
The European Commission revealed Wednesday that it will rapidly move to
register its ".eu" address as a top level domain name.
"Within days, we will go to ICANN," referring to the Internet Corporation
for Assigned Names and Numbers, the recently created new Internet governance
body, a Commission spokesman told IDG News Service.
For the Commission, the creation of a .eu domain is important to strengthen
the image and the infrastructure of the Internet in Europe by allowing
European industry and citizens to identify each other on the World Wide Web.
The domain name's creation is however also motivated by evidence that
existing generic top level domain name for commercial bodies, .com, is
already congested, according to the Commission.
Moreover, the new top level domain would let companies avoid the necessity
of registering in different EU countries, according to the Commission.
Currently, each EU country has its own domain -- ".fr" for France, for
example. The .eu domain would eliminate the existing country domains,
Wed Jul 5 2000
Rule of Law
The Double Jeopardy protection abolished.
Trial by jury right curtailed and now
Mr Blair announced "My impression sometimes is that the system is struggling against a presumption that you treat these crimes like every other type of crime and that you build up cases beyond reasonable doubt.
"I think we have got to look at this. To require everything beyond reasonable doubt in these cases is very difficult. I think people would accept that within certain categories of case, provided it's big enough, you don't take the normal burden."
After speaking with officer Helene Gould, who described how she had won permission from a court to use telephone intercept information against a cocaine dealer, the premier said: “Surely we should be able to use this stuff if we want to.” At the moment such material is usually banned in British courtrooms.
- Is it me or are we sinking into Third World standards of justice. Of course it is hard to convict people, especially clever people of crimes. That is the whole bloody point otherwise we end up like Constable Savage....
"Come in, shut the door."
"Now then, Savage, I want to talk td you about some charges that you've been bringing lately. I think that perhaps you're being a little
"Which charges did you mean then, sir?"
"Well, for instance this one: 'Loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing.' Savage, maybe you're not aware of this, but it is not illegal to use a pedestrian crossing, neither is 'smelling of foreign food' an offence."
"Are you sure, sir?"
"Also, there's no law against 'Urinating in a public convenience or 'Coughing without due care and attention."'
"If you say so, sir..."
"Yes, I do say so, Savage! Didn't they teach you anything at training school?"
"Erm, I'm sorry, sir..."
"Some of these cases are just plain stupid: 'Looking at me in a funny way' - Is this some kind of joke, Savage?"
"And we have some more here: 'Walking on the cracks in the pavement,' 'Walking in a loud shirt in a built-up area during the hours of darkness,' and 'Walking around with an offensive wife.' In short, Savage, in the space of one month you have brought one hundred and seventeen ridiculous, trumped-up and ludicrous charges."
"Against the same man, Savage."
"A Mr Winston Kodogo, of 55, Mercer Road."
"Sit down, Savage."
"Savage, why do you keep arresting this man?"
"He's a villain, sir."
"And a jail-bird, sir."
"I know he's a jail-bird, Savage, he's down in the cells now! We're holding him on a charge of 'Possession of curly black hair and thick lips."'
"Well - well, there you are, sir."
"You arrested him, Savage!"
"Thank you, sir."
"Savage, would I be correct in assuming that Mr Kodogo is a coloured gentleman?"
"Well, I can't say I've ever noticed, sir."
"Stand up, Savage! - Savage, you're a bigot. It's officers like you that give the police a bad name. The press love to jump on an instance like this, and the reputation of the force can be permanently tarnished. Your whole time on duty is dominated by racial hatred and petty personal vendettas. Do you get some kind of perverted gratification from going around stirring up trouble?"
"There's no room for men like you in my force, Savage. I'm ss transferring you to the S.PG. -"
"Thank you very much, sir."
"- Now get out!"
from: Not! The Nine O'Clock News, Hedgehog Sandwich, BBC Records REB 421,1981
(Researched from a Danish course on understanding British Humour)
Getting ready for Valentines Day.
Such a choice of Rhymes for the card.....
Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss But I only slept with you,
because I was pissed.
I thought that I could love no other
Until, that is, I met your brother.
Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl's empty
and so is your head.
Of loving beauty you float with grace
If only you could hide your face.
Kind, intelligent, loving and hot;
This describes everything you are not.
I want to feel your sweet embrace
But don't take that paper bag off of your face.
I love your smile, your face, and your eyes - Damn, I'm good at telling
My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:
Marrying you screwed up my life.
I see your face when I am dreaming.
That's why I always wake up screaming.
My love, you take my breath away.
What have you stepped in to smell this way?
What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime
According to Terry Jones' Medieval Lives the poor downtrodden peasants had to work 60 days a year to satisfy their Lords and Masters, and was treated to a couple of slap up dinners in return.
Of course nowdays we will work until the 7th June to get to Tax Freedom Day. By 2005, it will be a whole week later, at 9th June. And no Dinner paid for by the taxman!
Where's Wat Tyler when you need him?
February 9, 2004
Cash-strapped teenagers are using crisp packets as condoms because they cannot afford the real thing, say experts.
My ignorance is showing again.
The Marmite crisp packet I have to hand has a diameter of 3 1/3rd inches - and a length of 7 inches. It is gritty and salty with sharp edges.
What are they doing?
Of course the answer is more free condoms, more money into the health service, more Teenage Pregnancy Coordinators. Not a word about personal responsibility or the fact that these poor teenagers who can't afford to buy a condom are decked out in the most expensive Chav gear possible. But then who cares, getting preganant enables the stupid to get a council house and never have to worry about getting a job.
I say Sulphur, you say Sulfur
The England Project is gathering moss - many moons ago I used to flog pesticides, passed the exams, had the secure store, the poisons licence so I could dish out the paraquat (I only had the level two licence so I had to get someone else to sell cyanide and Aluminium phosphide)
Ah, happy days!
Moss - a sulphur compound, iron sulphate for instance, upsets the little bugger - though iron sulphate will stain concrete, your hands and your clothes with rust. But it is cheap. Otherwise look for some lawn sand with it in.
A multi-million pound appeal is under way to protect a unique herd of wild cattle.
The Chillingham herd is believed to be related to prehistoric auroch oxen, which once grazed across northern Europe.
The white longhorns have remained isolated and untouched next to Chillingham Castle in Northumberland since they were first penned into their park in 1260.
I wish it were true - it is on my list of things to see, this mysterious herd of wild beasts roaming free in the forest since time immemorial. The guide book written by Dowager Countess of Tankerville makes many claims for them and adds to the romance. But I think she overeggs it.
This research is probably nearer the mark. But whatever, they are magnificent beasts, and connect us back to England's feudal history. We must ensure their survival.
Darwin Day is February 12th, the date of birth of Charles Darwin in the year 1809, at Shrewsbury, England. On this date, and throughout the month, people from all over the world are honoring the life, work and influence of Charles Darwin with events and activities which celebrate science and our shared humanity.
Join in the events and celebrate the adventure of science, and the 'passion to know' that drives us to inquire, explore, and discover what this world is all about.
Contemplate a tangled bank,
clothed with many plants of many kinds,
with birds singing on the bushes,
with various insects flitting about,
with worms crawling through the damp earth:
these elaborately constructed forms
have all been produced by laws
acting around us.
Thus, the war of nature,
from famine and death,
the production of higher animals
There is grandeur in this view of life:
whilst the planet has gone
cycling on according to
the fixed law of gravity,
from so simple a beginning
endless forms most beautiful and
most wonderful have been
and are being
- Charles Darwin
Philip Appleman is the poet who reset Darwin's lyrical prose into lines of free verse. - I have them on a plaque in my untidy garden.
More on early Concrete Houses
The first concrete house?
The brick template house next door.
Another concrete house nestled amongst the more traditional black and white thatched houses.
A close up of the second concrete house.
Jung frperg zrffntrf - jr ner nyy bcra naq nobir obneq urer.
Hc gur eribyhgvba!
February 6, 2004
Something for the weekend Sir?
If you are looking for something to do on a spring weekend - why not go to a Point to Point.
This Point-to-Point is nothing to do with Point to Point Protocol though there is a protocol to follow.
They have a wonderful history:
"The sport of steeplechasing was originated by hunting men who raced their hunters over natural country from "point to point" or from one steeple to the next. During the 19th century, steeplechasing became more sophisticated with enclosed courses and professionally trained horses, many of which were thoroughbreds, and the traditional sporting amateur was not able to compete at this level. Therefore attempts were made to stage races for proper hunters, from which racehorses and professional jockeys were excluded.
Local Hunts also undertook to organise amateur races with slightly more success. The Worcestershire Hunt have records of sporadic Hunt meetings from 1836, and the Atherstone claimed to be the first Hunt to stage an annual Hunt point-to-point meeting dating from the 1870s."
They are still run by local Hunts and make a fun day out. A full list of fixtures can be found at:
Oh dear, I have reluctantly agreed to a business trip to Colorado in 10 days time. Return trip inc. taxes Ł322!
I have got meetings near Boulder, but it is my choice where (within a couple of hundred miles) and then there is the weekend when I will be a sad little Englishman with nothing to do.
Last three times I have gone to Glenwood Springs for the skiing and Hot Springs - where should I go this time?
Suggestions please before I book a hotel!
February 5, 2004
GAZETTE & HERALD EXCLUSIVE: OVERZEALOUS parking warden Mike Angell has remained defiant after giving a ticket to a blood donor van even though his bosses have apologised.
Kennet District Council said it was sorry after Mr Angell booked a Transit van belonging to the Blood Donor Service while it was parked outside the Corn Exchange in Devizes Market Place.
But Mr Angell said:
"We are used to getting flak from the public over the vehicles we book, so it is water off a duck's back to us."
Listen sunshine - if any business got so many complaints it didn't even bother listening to them then it would be in serious trouble. Ever thought the problem might be you, not the public?
Was it you or your colleague who booked a box of cauliflowers left outside while a Greengrocer set up his stall ? And what about Santa's car that got a ticket while it waited for the Old Boy to get on board! Full of the spirit of Xmas that day weren't you!
From The Sun
Vandals blow up a Gatso
A SPEED camera has been BLOWN UP on a road where four have now been destroyed.
Vandals strapped explosives to the Gatso in what is thought to be the first attack of its kind.
Army bomb experts were called after the detonation on the A37 at Emborough, Somerset.
Sir Elgar Jenkins, Bath and North East Somerset Council's transport boss, said he understood motorists' frustrations.
He said: "This attack is a reflection of the fact cameras are being spread all over the place."
Other cameras on the 21-mile route from Bristol to Wells have had burning petrol-soaked tyres hung round them.
The speed traps, costing Ł40,000 each, are run by Avon, Somerset and Gloucestershire Safety Camera Partnership.
Its spokesman Dick Bowen said he was "disappointed" by the attack.
You are very very naughty boys to have done that! You know they are only there for "Safety" and that means no one should dare question the policy behind them, or whether they do any good, apart from the revenue they raise.
(Does Texas have speed cameras? How long do they last?)
Usenet discuss our Hutton theory
Conspiracy theories abound!
Safety Nazis at work
The centrepiece of steam celebrations in Cornwall which remember Richard Trevithick as the 'father of the steam engine' have been cancelled this year because of safety concerns.
The Trevithick Day parade of steam engines and steam-driven cars through Camborne's main street draws thousands of people to the town.
But police have raised concerns about the parade on 24 April.
They fear someone could be seriously injured because the crowd is so close to some of the engines.
No mention of anyone ever being injured! Remember at the public opening of the first railway between Liverpool and Manchester which took place on the 15th of September, 1830 there was a fatal accident to Mr. Huskisson, one of the MPs for Liverpool. Did they ban the railway and hold an inquiry? No they got on with it and built an Empire.
Still I'm glad to see the Lads took it into their own hands last year - I would love to see the Rozzers trying to clamp a Steam Roller
But there were a number of breaches of a road closure order last year when barriers were removed to allow the steam engines through
February 4, 2004
Solace in old stones.
Somewhere else I mentioned that in times of trouble old stones provide comfort.
I spent this afternoon at a funeral of a farmer in a little village not far away. He was born over eighty years ago in the house next to the church and died in a house next to the church. The little church has seen hundred of years pass by and lives long forgotten have played their dramas out around it. And it is fitting for a farmers funeral that the hymns came from the Harvest Festival section of the hymnal. The Christian religion is an agrarian one - talk of Shepherds, gathering in, flocks and separating the sheep are not abstract concepts to a congregation who farm the Wiltshire Downs. Life and Death are the constant companions of farming. And this afternoon we replayed a scene that has happened for thousands of years in this ancient landscape. It is all natural and proper, and not modern at all. The old stones of the Church provide a constant backdrop and a permanence that reminds us that our troubles will soon pass and don't amount to very much in the sweep of time.
God Bless the Farmer.
Tales from the NHS
Some doctors are using improvised equipment such as paperclips and clothes pegs to treat their patients, it is claimed.
...solutions - such as using wooden tongue depressors to splint the limbs of premature babies.
However, two babies died after picking up fungal infections from them.
Other examples of bad practice, claimed the MHRA, included the use of simple paperclips and urinary catheters as makeshift sutures to close surgical wounds, and using clothes pegs to attach monitoring equipment to a patient's earlobe.
February 3, 2004
For Fox's view of the BBC and the Hutton report - try this download.
Roundhead, Cavaliers and Peace on Earth.
Gentlemen, I apologise for starting some rough talk, but the Ladies have withdrawn to the 'Drawing room and the Port is flowing so I hope you will forgive me.
I am busy reading Survival of the Prettiest : The Science of Beauty and she makes an extraordinary claim I had never come across before; circumcision is a meme or cultural practice to discourage masturbation, thereby encouraging more babies.
Now obviously I have only limited knowledge on the subject from a personal point of view but then it struck me that the world politics might tell us something.
I was doing a Google Search: for " damn hard pounding" - the Wellington phrase I believe he used about some battle. The page I accidentally opened indicated that most Americans have been cut. Now I bow to no one in my admiration of the Americans but even they would admit they are a bellicose country (in the best of causes). Our Semitic friends on both sides of the Middle East conflict have the old todger topped. And the wonderful fighting Sikhs have a slice missing.
The Hindus, the Buddhists, the French and all the peace lovers don't - see this table Religious & Belief Populations of the World (1994)
So it looks like the old roundheads can get no satisfaction from spanking the monkey and go off killing each other.
World Peace is in our grasp - it is simple. Leave the kids alone!
Update: it looks like someone has obviously already had the idea and set up a website.
I don't wish to intrude in to a nation's grief and shock over the Boob incident.
And I realise I have lead a sheltered life and there were somethings we didn't learn about at boarding school, but my eye just caught a picture of the offending boob at BBC SPORT | Other Sport | US Sport | Photo Galleries | Janet Jackson's Super Bowl strip
Urgh, I'm glad I have never had to face one of those in action. I will stick to what I know, thank you very much.
He hates Bloggers
Why your Movable Type blog must die || kuro5hin.org You are all pretentious twats
Every last one of you. You're all latte-sipping, iMac-using, suburban-living tertiary-industry-working WASPs who offer absolutely no new insights on anything whatsoever apart from maybe one specialist field if we're lucky.
Calm down dear it's only a blog, as one of the comments to your rant says..
I approach blogging much like Frank Zappa approached music. In an early 90's interview, Frank said:
The crux of the biscuit is: If it entertains you, fine. Enjoy it. If it doesn't, then blow it out your ass. I do it to amuse myself. If I like it, I release it. If somebody else likes it, that's a bonus.
"The ancient titles of 'Sir', 'Dame', 'Lord' and 'Lady' could be scrapped in a sweeping reform of the honours system, MPs suggested today".
I'm sure we could live without them, but why is this government obsessed by modernising and tweaking the constitution?
If it was the result of a comprehensive review and recommendation of how to fix something broken then fair enough. But these half cocked piecemeal changes seemed to be driven only by a hatred of old things and a desire to be new.
I am convinced that societies and laws evolve their strength in Darwinian ways. And things that are old may appear illogical but their survival is the proof that they work. So tinker at your peril.
And besides I don't want to live in a gleaming stainless steel modern house designed by My Lord Rogers - give me the security of a old Castle that has proven its strength over many years.
February 2, 2004
Why Europe hates America Pt.2
As a long time fan of the IEA I was pleased to see Samizdata.net bringing the paper Friend or Foe? What Americans should know about the European Union to our attention. What can I add but read it! now!
As Mr Free Market said here... let us once again revert to the wise words ‘our skipper’, Sir Winston,
“We must also never allow………the growing sense of unity and brotherhood between the United Kingdom and the United States and throughout the English-speaking world to be injured or retarded.”
Trust them? Not as far as I could throw them
A court has found former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe guilty of involvement in a party funding scam in Paris in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The court gave him an 18-month suspended sentence and barred him from political office for up to 10 years.
However, he will be able to continue as mayor of Bordeaux, and as head of the governing UMP party during an appeal.
And now it emerges that the Judges have been subject to
And guess what?
Mr Chirac was under investigation over the same affair until 2001, when he successfully claimed the constitution granted him presidential immunity
WTF are we doing still getting closer to this cesspit of corruption?
Can't be bothered.
British voters couldn't give a toss about the European Parliament. This much is clear from a Mori poll published in the Independent which reveals that only 18% of Britons plan to vote in June's EU elections. And what percentage of that 18% intend to register a vote against the EU?
EURSOC warns us that the EU will employ telemarketers to get us to vote - I pity them for the earfuls they will get.
That is going to be the phrase of the year!
"I am sorry that anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance of the Super Bowl," the singer said.
I'm sure if I had been slouched on the couch eating pretzels and drinking beer watching the game there are many things about the MTV entertainment that would have annoyed me, but Janet "getting them out for the lads" would not have been one of them.
Every old larder cupboard in England has a tin of Lyle's Black Treacle in it.
Like Golden Syrup it features the rotting Lion and the slogan "out of the strong came forth sweetness"
Every year the tin comes out and one spoon-full is used in the Christmas cake and occasionally Parkin is baked.
I pulled ours out yesterday to make a rich fruit cake and opened it with a small "pop" - and then noticed a best before date of June 2001. Fair enough, but it looked and smelt OK (it tastes horrible raw anyway so that was no test). And then I noticed the blood curdling warning on the side - "Do not open tins beyond the "best by" date, dispose of carefully, they may explode....." (I presume it may ferment.)
Lucky I'm still here I suppose, but I wonder what my local Bomb Disposal Operative will say when I ring to ask him to make safe a tin of treacle now sitting in the middle of the lawn.