March 31, 2004
Concrete them over.
Britain's railways will get £14m a day for the next five years in a bid to improve train services.
Network Rail (NR), the state-backed operator, will invest £26bn to boost train punctuality from the current 80% to 90% before 2009.
I believe there is less than 10,000 miles of railway track in the UK - figures seem to vary from 9000 to 11,000. Get the calculator out and start doing the sums. Coachs on bus/taxiways deliver many more people per hour with less pollution, more flexibilty and probably just as safely. Trains suit a certain control and command mindset, not a modern society based on freedom, they belong to centuary before last! Let's just keep a few historic museum rides and get rid of the rest.
Round one - mine's a pint.
A patriotic pub landlord has won one round in his fight to raise the profile of St George's Day.
Tony Bennett, 47, of the Otter pub in Drayton, Norfolk, has permission to open for an extra hour on 23 April.
But Norwich magistrates agreed because the pub would raise money for charity - not because they recognised the day as special in the eyes of the law....
March 30, 2004
Veteran Broadcaster dies
I noticed a couple of weeks ago that Friday night was missing an essential ingredient. On my way home to the Castle after a little sharpener after work I could always depend on the pre-war tones of Hubert Gregg on "Wireless Two" - I am sorry to see he has died.
He wrote 'Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner' and worked in the Biz for many years - I will recall him this friday and his wartime hit, "I'm Going To Get Lit Up When The Lights Go Up In London".
"that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together." Jonathan Swift
That reminds me why I studied Agricultural Science all those years ago ,and why I hate the Greens who are killing Africans by their opposition to progress.
Well I could hardly ignore the story about the Pig statue in Derby. Many others - Dhimmiwatch, The Edge of England's Sword etc. have covered it better than I could.
(Quickly - old statue of Wild Boar used to be in Public Park, lost his head to a Hun Bomb in the last unpleasantness, Park now restored, Muslim population now lives in area, threats to statue etc. about racist plan to restore it.)
Of course I am biased and favour Pig statues everywhere - this one is in Calne, the little Wiltshire town where Oxygen, Photosynthesis and most importantly the Wiltshire cure for Bacon were discovered. And of course only the latter has a statue.
The arguments are so obvious and are well put in the article I link to below. And they can be summarised by "Get a life!"
There there dear..
I heard a patronising advert for this BBC Programme "If... women ruled the world
"would our world be a better, more peaceful place if it was run by women?" and more about how traditional aggressive male tendancies and hierarchies and traditions would all disappear in a lovey dovey cuddly feminine world, the sort of world run by; Golda Meir, Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice... oh sorry I think the BBC meant Guardian Wimmen not real women....
Shock Horror A Muslim speaks sense.
An excellent article from the Pakistan Daily Times
If Muslims are seen as intellectually backward, and the Islamic world is viewed as stagnant, it is our fault and nobody else's. But when others state the obvious, we adopt a defensive posture and go into denial
Please read it, this is the unreported real voice of Muslims that we want to hear not the shrill protests that dominate the airways.
March 29, 2004
Old men's tales
Dodgeblogium notes Ted Heaths latest thoughts - for many years I have worked on the policy that whatever Ted Heath backs, go for the opposite. You don't even have to think, or read any further, it always works. It is unlikely we will see him hanging by his heels from a lamp post in the Cathedral Close in Salisbury in the near future so we might as well make use of him whilst we have to put up with him. He is whatever the opposite of a Bellweather is and so now without having to read any further I now know Michael Howard is the right man for the job.
Talking of old men - Peter Ustinov has died, whilst always a jolly man, probably a wonderful man to listen to talking I remember he was always a bit quick to cozy up to the USSR leaders in the late 80s when they were recruiting "useful idiots". More later on that I expect. De mortuis nil nisi
No 1 Englishman in the World
What an honour: Google (revamped today with a new layout) give the top spot for "Englishman" to this humble blog; See:Google Search: englishman
Who would have thought it?
Saturday morning was hard to face, I thought it must have that bad pint that the Good Colonel forced onto me, (I'm not sure if it was the seventh or the eighth one), but as the day wore on I felt worse and worse. Even the prosepct of watching Rugby in the pub didn't raise me. I have got a cold. I am sat here surrounded by crunchy used tissues (what's new?) with more gunk flowing out of my nose than a Bukkake hostess thinking, isn't it boring being ill. Something medicinal is called for I think.
March 27, 2004
A German writes..
A new comment has been posted on your blog An Englishman's Castle, on entry
#312 (Don't mention the war).
Email Address: Idon´email@example.com
Don't mention the war <- funny episode (The Germans) but the only of fawlty towers. The rest is just something for cocksuckers. "Ve haf vays of making you tock" <- Don`t able to write in you on language? poor...
PS: Wrote this in my poor english because you´ll be to stupid to understand german.
PPS: fawlty towers is just something for simple-minded, anthropoid thinking humans, in other words for the English
Thanks Fritz - don't ring us we will ring you! (One of the commonest Google searchs that finds this Blog is "German Jokes" - I think I will add this one to the entry!)
Tales from the Gun Room
Having being deprived of my fun by Her Majesty's Government failure to supply her troops with the tools they need for the job I thought I ought to just check the gun room and give them all a wipe with an oily cloth. At least I try to be always prepared. And knowing you lot I thought you would appreciate a couple of pictures.
The .22 - click to enlarge
Yes we have no bangs.
My day out under fire was cancelled - see FREE MARKET FAIRY TALES: Military Archives
I received a call a couple of hours ago informing me that the "Fun with Field Artillery" Day that the Englishman & I were supposed to be doing tomorrow has been cancelled because the School of Artillery has run out of ...errr.....you guessed it......ammunition. Seriously....you can't make this stuff up.
And if that doesn't tell you something about the way our defences are being run nothing will!
March 26, 2004
Yummy Health tip
Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor.
Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies.
He says society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking and encourage children to take it up.
Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner.
"And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system.
"Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.
"Modern medicine is constantly trying to do the same thing through far more complicated methods, people who pick their nose and eat it get a natural boost to their immune system for free."
He pointed out that children happily pick their noses, yet by the time they have become adults they have stopped under pressure from a society that has branded it disgusting and anti social.
He said: "I would recommend a new approach where children are encouraged to pick their nose. It is a completely natural response and medically a good idea as well."
And he pointed out that if anyone was really worried about what their neighbour was thinking, they could still enjoy picking their nose in private if they still wanted to get the benefits it offered.
Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant
As Mr Free Market has disclosed tomorrow we are off to have fun being shelled by the Artillery. Unfortunatly Mrs Englishman and the Englishettes are away so that leaves me all alone on Friday night, so a half or two will be in order. And tomorrow there is the Rugby, and with the critical England - France decider match at 8:00 pm I feel a pint would not be unreasonable then as well. Maybe I should resist watching the other matches in the pub as well earlier...
I wish I was twenty years younger....
Shock Horror Ex Arch Bish Speaks Sense
Telegraph | News | Muslim culture has contributed little for centuries, says Carey No rabble rousing, calling for crusades, just moderate sensible observations, but of course it has upset some muslim "spokesmen".
From my Bunker
Neil from German For Beginners suggests that a true Libertarian would be posting from a bunker. And Mr Free Market disappoints me by outing himself as some sort of Pinko Commie (on my map I'm so far off the top left hand corner I'm up near Iceland somewhere). I must admit I had been wondering about his habit of putting an umbrella and a cherry in his pint...
So to reassure you dear reader I thought it was time to post a picture of my bunker;
(Honestly I do own it!)
An encounter with a Guardian reader.
A successful business woman I know, late thirties, international travelling, threw down her copy of the Guardian and said to me. "This wall is so stupid, why have they put it up, the bastards I hate them." As she carried on a bit I meekly suggested that the Jews might feel it was for self defence. She rounded on me "But the Israelis have put it up to drive the Jews out". I was a tad perplexed by this, until I discovered that she believed that the Israelis were the Arabs and the Palastinians were the Jews. I am not sure she believed me when I tried to persuade her she was wrong, somehow it clashed with her opinions which she liked to share with everyone, and as she read the Guardian she was obviously better informed about the real world than all those American rednecks who voted for that unbelievably dumb cowboy - did you know he has an IQ of 86?....
Good to see that Google has identified what this mysterious Lybian leader with the many names actually looks like - I'm never flying on his planes again.
March 25, 2004
Economics is always a dry boring subject..
Hugo Mialon is a graduate student who spends a lot of time thinking about orgasms. This by itself is perhaps not terribly atypical. But Mialon, at least part of the time, thinks about orgasms in connection with his dissertation research.
Like so many before him, Mialon was led to focus on orgasms through the study of constitutional law....
I noted this story on Kim Du Toit's site and I was as confused as he is as to what the frick is going on. I still don't know, and can't find out any more - it just does not make any sense to me, unless there is something unreported.
A Salford man who stabbed to death an armed intruder at his home was jailed for eight years.
Carl Lindsay, 25, answered a knock at his door in Salford, Greater Manchester, to find four men armed with a gun.
When the gang tried to rob him he grabbed a samurai sword and stabbed one of them, 37-year-old Stephen Swindells, four times.
You can leave comments at the newspaper's page...(as well as here).
Taxpayers in Hot Water
Blognor Regis reminds us of the Council folly in Portsmouth.
Let me just raise a local issue;
The full cost of Bath's Spa project could be considerably higher than was originally budgeted for....up to £35m.
Earlier this week the council said it was facing a £4m bill for repainting the pools...
The estimate in the report is three times that of the original cost....
..There remains no projected opening date....
And we have to pay them on pain of imprisonment!
(P J O'Rourke once wrote about taxes along the lines that, if you don't pay, you are arrested, if you resist arrest, it eventually escalates up to people with guns coming after you - so the council should ask; " is this measure we want to spend taxpayers money on worth threatening to shoot people, if they don't want to pay for it?" If anyone can find the original quote I would be most grateful.)
March 24, 2004
No Victory - for the time being..
no euro is mothballing itself. As the Telegraph said : "Yes, it's no! Nein! Nyet! Non! Seldom can a campaign have been wound up after such a comprehensive victory as the No Campaign, launched by Rodney Leach to prevent us joining the great currency experiment that is the euro. Today the last permanent employees will pack their bags and (quite possibly) head off for an agreeable break in the eurozone."
A job well done - but I suspect their skills will be needed to fight some other euro nonsense in the near future. But their campaigning will be judged a major reason why we weren't bounced into the euro, and so they rank as heros. Knighthoods all round! (if only!)
Local Authority waste
Others are complaining about the waste and cost of UK local authorities. John Blundell of the IEA believes that they should pay a dividend not demand tax - go and read and agree!
"My ideal local authority would have no more than three employees: A manager to put everything out to tender; a lawyer to check the contract details and a book-keeper to pay the dividend out to every citizen."
Getting ready for the long marchImage taken on 24/3/2004 6:03
March 23, 2004
From the Kitchen
Good people of this Parish - I forgot to remind you to make your Simnel Cake. Do it ASAP so it has a chance to mature for Easter Sunday Tea.
Provided they don't find the body, we ought to celebrate and Simnel Cake is the stuff to do it with during a proper English High Tea.
8 ounces sugar
8 ounces almonds, ground
2 eggs, beaten
Good Splash of Brandy
* 8 ounces butter, softened
* 8 ounces soft brown sugar
* 6 eggs, beaten
* 10 ounces all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon mixed spice
* 24 ounces mixed dried fruit
* 2 ounces mixed citrus peel (optional - I hate it)
* Grated zest of a lemon,
* 1 teaspoon apricot jam warmed
* Beaten egg for glazing
Almond Paste: Mix together sugar and ground almonds, and add enough beaten egg to give a soft consistency. Add almond extract and knead for one minute or until the paste is smooth and pliable. Set aside, covered.
Preheat oven to 140°C (275° F)
Cake: Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, a bit at a time. Sift flour, salt and spice, and add to mixture alternately with dried fruit, mixed peel and zest of lemon. Mix well together.
Place half the mixture into a well lined 8 inch tin and smooth top with a wooden spoon. Roll out 1/2 the almond paste into a circle and place on top of the cake mixture. Pour in remainder of cake batter and smooth top, hollowing the top slightly. Bake in a preheated oven 140°C (275° F), for one and a half to two hours. Remove and set on rack to cool. When cake is quite cold, brush top with slightly warmed apricot jam.
Roll out remainder of almond paste to fit top of cake. (Save scraps.) Lay it on top of the apricot jam. With the scraps of paste, form eleven small egg shapes, and place eggs around the edge. Brush entire top including eggs with a little beaten egg. Return cake to the oven for about 10 minutes at 180° C (350° F) for almond paste to brown.
The eleven eggs symbolise the eleven faithfully Disciples of Christ.
All Around my Hat...
I'm not one who believes in being soft on criminals, but this really is going too far in terms of punishment, haven't they suffered enough already?... Folk musician to play behind bars for Dartmoor inmates
Let me present to you Harrison's Law or The Maths of Crime, Victims and Community Service:
1. Thief steals from you (thief: +1 unit of energy; you: -1 unit of energy)
2. Thief ends up working for the community (thief: -0.9 units of energy; community: +0.9 units of energy)
3. Thief pays lawyer costs (thief: -0.1 unit of energy; lawyers: +0.1 unit of energy)
Thief: 0 (he paid his debt in his eyes, clear conscience)
Community: +0.9 (free lunch, relies on criminal activity being brought to court)
Lawyers: +0.1 (keeps them in business)
You: -1 (you lose!)
You get nothing in compensation and still feel robbed.
March 22, 2004
BBC - A saint dies.
I don't follow events in Judea and Samaria as closely as I should. After we handed the mandate back very few British have taken much interest in what they get up to out there, unlike our dear ex-colonial friends who do.
But I did hear on the BBC that a Great Spiritual leader had been blown away, and the tone of disgust was heightened when it was announced, "some reports say he was in his wheelchair at the time" - that is beyond the pale, attacking a cripple!
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, was a frail quadriplegic who could barely see. His voice was thin and quavering.
Yet he wielded growing power among Palestinians, long frustrated with a peace process that has failed to improve their lives...
Obviously it is the peace process that condemns the poor Palastinians to poverty and not the violence that the good Sheikh promoted..
Hamas has been able to build support by offering material help to Palestinians suffering economic hardship during the latest intifada.
It has established charitable funds to establish schools, clinics and hospitals that provide free services to families in distress and has been able to attract millions of dollars from the Gulf and elsewhere.
Where is the collecting box, such a charitable organisation..
Sheikh Yassin himself proved a powerful inspiration for young Palestinians disillusioned with the collapse of peace hopes.
He inspired them to offer up their lives, promising that suicide bombers who were willing to die for the sake of the dignity of Palestinians and in the service of a longer-term victory would achieve martyrdom.
Oh well that is alright then, he was happy to send young men to their deaths, and so presumably he was ecstatic as he acheived martyrdom, all those virgins to look forward to.. (Why is that those who promise eternal bliss to martrys are so reluctant to become one themselves?)
Too many Guinea Pigs?
RSPCA Centre overrun with guinea pigs - I think I have the solution....(they are known as Cuy in the Andes..)
Cuy as Food
it is always eaten with the hands and fingers – never a fork and knife. This practice leaves a tell-tale sweet smell on the fingers of the eater called tufo, making it difficult to explain a night of cuy eating and beer drinking with the boys to a waiting wife. Cuy is almost always accompanied by beer and potatoes, but of course each restaurant and region prides itself on its own special means of cooking the cuy itself: La Namorina in Peru is famous for fried cuy; Chola Flora in Bolivia serves boiled cuy; and in Ecuador many restaurants astound guests with broiled cuy turned on a spit. Ceremonially, cuy is treated as a food marking special occasions or transitions from one stage of life to the next. Examples of household or community cuy feasts include marriages, christenings, a boy’s first haircut, to request a favor, and to negotiate courtships and marriages between two families. Of late, gatherings centered around cuy have been extended to incorporation into street fairs or fundraising for non-profit organizations.
So they could raise money as well as free up some space...
March 20, 2004
I consider myself to be a right on libertarian. People should have the freedom to take responsibility for their own lives and if they fuck it up; tough.
But a few years ago I spent some time visiting a NICU unit, where premature babies are coaxed into life. Half the parents were nice people, showing that shit happens to nice people. The other half were scum. Their babies were in NICU because they took drugs, drank, generally fucked about. I remember one father who was seen as a model parent because he spent all day with his child: maybe the tattoo "I hate Jews" on the back of his hand stopped him getting a job, I don't know, I'm only guessing.
There was one baby who screamed for 24 hours a day, because, I was told, she was experiencing withdrawal from the heroin her mother took through out the pregnancy. The family unit, feckless mum and dad and poor baby were allocated a private room so social services could assess them.
My thoughts were that both of them should be assessed with the rough end of a baseball bat and the child rescued from what was obviously going to be a life of grime. But that is illiberal, so what is the correct response?
March 19, 2004
Food Freedom Day
Tax Freedom Day 2004 falls on 30 May., according to Dr Eamonn Butler at the wonderful Adam Smith Institute.
I have just read that Food Freedom Day, which is when on an average wage you have earnt enough to pay for a years food at farmgate prices, fell on January 9th. Industrialised cheap food production allows you to spend the rest of the year buying other stuff, such as getting people to prepare it into ready meals. Remember the Moonbats who want us to return to Organic Tofu Herding want you to work all year for your subsistance food, just like they do in pre-industrial societies.
March 18, 2004
Courage and bravery are strange things. The blogosphere often covers heroic acts and sometimes questions acts that win medals. Sometimes actions are simply reckless disregard for safety, brought on by the red mist of rage and/or stupidity. Are they really brave? My father always said the bravest men he ever saw were the Sappers who walked slowly in front of the tanks on the first thrust of El Alamein clearing the mines, in the midst of a fearsome battle. Real bravery is knowing the peril and in cold blood ignoring it.
My thoughts are on courage today, not because of some military reason, but because of the most courageous bunch of people I am privileged to know. They are the mums of disabled children. It is every parents nightmare, after their baby is born, to be taken down to the room at the end of the corridor, tea and biscuits and the Registrar gently explaining what some words you have never heard of before mean. Every morning as the children grow up the mums have to face whatever problems the child has and do what they can. They watch other children playing and other mums laughing and their child can’t join in and they want to cry inside. But they don’t, they smile and work harder so their special child can enjoy life. It is a special type of courage to keep going every day, being brave and not giving up.
Twenty-five years ago in Devizes, my local town, a group of such mums got together and founded an Opportunity Centre. This charity has a purpose-built building with a team of specialist staff who help the children and the parents do the best they can. Some of the children go onto normal education and life, some only get so far and some aren’t expected to become adults. And it is not only the children who are helped it is also the mums, getting together with others in the same situation keeps them sane and cheerful.
They are a great bunch.
So here’s the deal - On May 2nd 2004 there is a Neolithic Marathon from Avebury to Stonehenge. It is 26 miles across Wiltshire. I don’t intend to run it but I will walk it, if I get some promises of some sponsors for the Opportunity Centre. Remember it is too far, I’m too fat and forty-two but I will give it a go. If you can help in however small a way, I will really appreciate it, and if you want to join me in the walk you would be very welcome.
The donate button on the right sidebar is for this appeal, but a promise or a word of encouragement would be great for now – and if you can spread the word, please do, let’s show what Bloggers can do!
March 17, 2004
It is a bit unfair to put up pictures without explaining what is going on. I have a 1.33 ha plot of Overwintered stubble which is being followed by a summer fallow. grey partridge (and other game birds), skylark, tree sparrow, linnet, yellowhammer, reed bunting and corn bunting love the stubble and lapwings or stone-curlews may like the fallow. When I got up there in the mist this morning there were five deer on it.
The reason why? I have a Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) in place and it is one of the features, I also am planting hedges - 980 metres this year, which is why I'm cutting down weedy trees for the hedge line of next year and the year after to go in - 9 years of hedging to do!
And the taxpayer pays me to do it - so
But not enough to give up the day job, hence my working in an office as well.
Off for a well earnt pint now!
A reader writes.
Thanks to Mr Burnt Pig for this - I hid it as I prefer old tractors to socialists...
Now home for a bacon sarnie.Image taken on 17/3/2004 9:59
Off to work.
vroomImage taken on 17/3/2004 8:46
Top of the morning to you
The Gray Monk points out that today is the day to celebrate a local lad from Gloucestershire. And I am sure they will at the Cheltenham race course - maybe I should go, but the upper forty needs discing..
"The city of Aliso Viejo, CA nearly banned foam cups when they learned they are produced from a substance known as 'dihydrogen monoxide.' A paralegal working for the city apparantly found a professionally designed web site put up to describe the dangerous properties of this chemical.
March 16, 2004
Too dirty for Channel 4
http://www.updater.co.uk has the celebrity swearathon advert - not worksafe!, somehow posh and pretty girls talking dirty still has a certain frisson.
The Saatchi Gallery has always been in the business in buying wholesale and then "marketing" the product and selling retail. As we all know where there is "muck there is brass", but I would respect them more if they actually made their money from Septic tank cleaning rather than peddling the crap they do.
I'm afraid you are too late to visit the Chapman Bros output: "The Chapmans’ reflect contemporary thought by taking the headlines to their ultimate conclusion: genetic modification, nuclear war, cultural holocaust, anti-capitalism. The most disturbing thing about the Chapmans isn’t the violence, or the cynicism, or the outright perverted: it’s the looming question of What If?
The Chapmans’ sculptures of mutated children are possible by-products of gene tampering, nuclear spills, or cloning experiments gone horribly awry. Whatever the evil, it’s not the children’s’ fault: they’re placid, angelic creatures who seem to take no notice that they have 4 legs, or 12 heads, or genitals for a face. If they’re disturbing, that’s the viewer’s hang-up. The children themselves seem to relish their strange beauty, know that they’re one-of-a-kinds: each one having been made by hand in the artists’ studio.
Zygotic acceleration, biogenetic, de-sublimated libidinal model
In Zygotic acceleration, the Chapman’s take aim at the world of advertising. A team of pre-teen ‘girls’ osmose in a bizarre, sexualised fashion orgy. Their genital-less bodies melt into each other, creating a single hermaphroditic torso. ..." and so on ad nauseam
But don't worry the next heap of ordure is being hyped now, the usual story of "shocking" someone to get the column inches - never mind it is the grieving parents of a dead girl, it gets publicity...
And this is the picture, I show it so you can judge if its artistic greatness, its skill, its subtlety, justify the hurt..
I thought not.
And what makes it worse is that Mr Saatchi goes home every night to the delectable Nigella - she is too good for him.
Now that is better to look at!
Unbelievable holiday deal
White Rose - You have GOT to be joking! points out the unbelievable plan of Mad Blunkett to charge victims of miscarriages of justice £3000 per year for their board and lodging whilst they were wrongly banged up! - Made me think those lovely people the nasty Americans found innocently wandering about the Tora Bora and took off to Cuba, are they going to be charged for their time by the aquamarine sea which laps the white, palm-fringed beaches?
£700 a week seems to be the going rate.
March 15, 2004
Better things to do today
I'm taking a couple of days away from the desk this week and so only sporadic blogging will occur.
Today I mainly have been
Cutting down trees.
They won, we lost.
The more I learn about the Spanish bombing, the more convinced I am that al-Qaeda have won a major victory.
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Spain to re-join 'Old Europe'
Item 2: Norway's Defense Research Establishment also uncovered documents linking al-Qaeda to the attacks. The documents said: "We must make use of the proximity to the elections in Spain in March next year. Spain can stand a maximum of two or three attacks before they will withdraw from Iraq."
The document identifies Spain as the weakest link in the Coalition of the Willing and says that if Spain withdrew then the other partners would follow like "pieces of domino".
And so on.....
"This man had the courage to stand up and be counted and it was a pleasure to know him.
"He was an ordinary person's hero - an extraordinary ordinary person."
He had the guts to stand up to the Council bullies - a good man.
March 12, 2004
In the newsagent and across the world Today's Front Pages all lead on one story - the mass murder in Madrid.. apart from the Daily Mirror which had the front page and "Full sensational interview Pages 2,3,4,5,6,and 7" about:
MY HELL IN CAMP X-RAY
British captive freed from Guantanamo Bay tells the world of its full horror - telling how he was tortured and prostitutes were taken into the camp to degrade Muslim inmates...
Got the priorities wrong guys?
(I notice later editions have a second story on the Front page about how Al-Qaeda claim the Madrid bomb. And explore the link to the front pages - interesting site.)
A shadowy group in Scotland, the Wild Beasts Trust, would like to see all the extinct native mammals re-introduced in Scotland starting with Lynx.
Peter Clarke, a member of the trust, said that if the lynx prospers, other species could be re-introduced: "Our shopping list includes the walrus, brown bear, lemming, wolf, elk, boar, wolverine and bison. Restored to our mountains, they will change the soul of Scotland's wilderness areas.
And now the boar are being got ready...
WE ARE a grandfather. Unto me are born seven enchanting baby wild boar.
All baby mammals are ench-anting. Even baby Scotsmen. I adored my quota of kittens, puppies, guinea pigs, hamsters and polecats, but infant pigs have extra loveability.
The thrill of my cluster of babies is in mapping out their careers. I reckon my seven boar will be 27 next spring and 100 by 2006. Compound interest is very much like pig fertility. Within a decade, my furry children will outnumber the Scottish Conservative Party.....
And they will be out and about for all of us to enjoy.
Great night last night - got invited out by the National Farmers Union for a beer night in a local pub. A couple of pints of excellent Wadworth's IPA (paid for by the Union!), a game of pool where I was thrashed by a pretty young woman, who then went on to show us up by scoring near perfect score on the rifle range in the bar. Yes, there is a .22 rifle range in the bar. For more details on the pleasures of "an anachronistic rifle league using rifles, some of which are nearly 90 years old, in the comfort of your own pub. What could be more perfect, firearm in one hand, foaming ale in the other."
Mr FM is the man as usual.
(The rifles are lovely old BSA Martini actions - even I managed to hit the bell once or twice.)
More details please
March 11, 2004
Five years in Jail
Mr Free Market writes on two issues:
Firstly the appaliing terrorist incident in Spain and following on from that our internal soft approach to terrorists.
He also brings to our attention the new law on a type of airgun, which are completely legal and I believe unregulated today, but by the summer the possessiion of one will lead to a MINIMUM sentence of five years in Jail.
Five years is longer than most of these lovelies served.
Michael Caraher, 32. Cullyhanna
Responsible for deaths of at least 12 members of security services. Has served 16 months of 105-year sentence. He was "trigger man" in IRA sniper team which shot dead Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick at checkpoint in Bessbrook, South Armagh. He also murdered Private Paul Turner(18)
Bernard McGinn, 42. Castleblaney, Co.Monaghan
Another member of sniper team who shot Lance Bombardier Restorick. He was given three life sentences and 490 years for other offences at his trial in March 1999. He refused to stand as he was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court for the murder of three soldiers during a 20 year reign of terror. Also convicted of murders of Lance Bombardier Garrett and Gilbert Johnston, a former UDR soldier who was shot dead in front of his girlfriend outside a sweet shop in Keady. McGinn was responsible for devices used in the Docklands and Baltic Exchange bombs. When sentenced he laughed at the fact he would be free in a number of months.
And admid the many others here is one who did serve over five years - by six months!
Sean Kelly, 26. Ardoyne, Belfast
"Shankill bomber" who killed nine people, including a pregnant woman and a young girl, in a fish shop in 1993. Kelly's accomplice and lifelong friend, Thomas Begley, was killed in the botched attack which left Kelly injured. He was arrested after being picked up by rescuers searching for survivors in the wreckage. He was given nine life sentences in January 1995.
No wonder sections of the press arfe worshipping the five low lifes the Americans sent back, and shouting about how horrible the Americans were to them. We are much more civilised, we just let the bastards out, whatever they have done.
Ain't Google great
Wandering the Tate gallery with the Heir and the Spare we came across this large striking picture.
Of course today I couldn't remember the artist or title. But I had noticed it was 17something and there is a prominent Black British soldier. The notes in the gallery made no mention of this and I thought there must be a story to it.
First Google search turned the picture up.
Got the title now.
John Singleton Copley 1738-1815
The Death of Major Peirson,
6 January 1781
Google that and I have the full story behind Pompey, the black guy, and the foiled French invasion. Hurray!
La Société Jersiaise: The History Section
What Rack size?
Over at Dean's World Rosemary is asking us to guess the size of her rack.
I'm with this guess - but yours may vary..
"I'll hazard 2-3/4" 00 buckshot (12 shot) loads in the rack. Probably Remington or Winchester shotshells. Since there's no need for steel shot in a home defense application (since you want the bad guy to contract lead poisoning :D), I'll guess standard lead shot."
Kerry ... "And we've learned the truth of what George Bush thinks -- exporting our jobs is good economic policy. I believe that creating jobs here in America, keeping good jobs here and exporting goods, is good for our economy."
So soon after John Blundell explains why 'Patriotism' is just bad economics - isn't any one taking notice of me? - or understanding basic economics.?
"All protectionism is a malignancy. This new form of protectionism has an added pernicious quality. The markets will always seek out lower costs. If the UK government tries to influence company decisions - or punish companies for the decisions they take - the great computer of the exchange rate will grind in the new data and corporate "outsourcing" will become even more profitable."
Meat and Pies every meal
...the Amish diet chiefly consists of meat, potatoes, gravy, cakes, pies and eggs; they also eat fresh fruit and vegetables with every meal. They ingest about 3,600 calories daily, 50 per cent more than the general population.
Yet, despite a diet rich in fat and refined sugar and high in calories, the Amish have extremely low rates of heart disease and cancer....
And Kelly McGillis washing up... bliss.
March 10, 2004
The Green Party not going after Mr Free Market's vote
The Daily Ablution: The "Non-Authoritarian" Green Agenda
"...to prohibit the use and private ownership of firearms and lethal weapons, such as air rifles, crossbows, etc."
"... to prohibit hunting with hounds, shooting, snaring, coursing and various other abuses of our animal population."
I look forward to the Tofu shoe brigade calling at Free Market Towers asking if they can count on his support...
Boar shooting advice..
Do you think a .177 airgun at 30ft/lb's could stop them? (my uncle wants to know)
Only if it choked on it..
More Glasgow colon news
If you are bored of your Gameboy and Microsoft Flight Simulator no longer interests you, how about this from Glasgow - Bovine Rectal Palpation Simulator?
BBC NEWS | Scotland | Glasgow unveils £1.5m rebranding
Glasgow declared itself "the new black" as it launched a £1.5m campaign to give itself a more cosmopolitan image...The new logo is a "modern homage to Mackintosh" with a green colon representing the city's nickname as "the dear green place".
And there was innocent me thinking a "Colon" was something connected to arseholes...
March 9, 2004
'Patriotism' is just bad economics
08 March 2004
The latest article by John Blundell in The Scotsman - Elections are auctions. Every time the politicians have an appointment with their electorate, the volume of dud economics is turned up.
This week the US Senate will vote through a Bill banning all federal agencies from buying services in from abroad. "America First" resonates well, "Buy Expensive" lacks charm.
Yet there is a paradox. The more the branches of the vast US government machine fail to buy abroad when it makes sense to do so, the more the dollar will suffer and the more profitable it will be for American companies to migrate offshore.
Once again, I offer you an example of "Blundell's Law" - that all political actions create the opposite effect. ....
Sense from Kim
"Britain's loathsome Labour Government is trying to overturn the process by which they select their judges -- in essence, as far as I can tell, making them political flunkies. The current process, by the way, has been in place more or less unchanged for over fourteen hundred years. So when a Law Lord suggested that instead of a Parliamentary-instituted change, that the process should first be reviewed by an independent panel of jurists and politicians, the Labour assholes protested, saying that this would take too long. Yeah, the selection process has been working quite well for over a thousand years, so we should change it quickly."
"The liberal slant of news emanating from the BBC is almost unbelievable."
And he also has a pop at Terry Waite - I remember when Saint Terry was flown home into Lyneham, by chance I was standing in Catcombe farmyard as the plane flew in over our heads. The old farmer looked up and just spat out "Wassack".
Tories chase Mr Free Market's Vote
A member of the shadow cabinet has attacked the ban on handguns introduced after the Dunblane massacre.
Conservative homeland security spokesman Patrick Mercer described the move as "nonsense".
Instead, Mr Mercer said some children in rural areas should be trained to handle and therefore respect dangerous firearms.
You can fill in the usual howls of protest yourself.
March 8, 2004
Scotsman.com News Spitfire Sculpture Unveiled
A Spitfire sculpture built using funding from a German car company was unveiled today to mark the anniversary of the Second World War aviation legend that helped saved the country.
The landmark artwork, on the Southampton International Airport roundabout, was revealed on the anniversary of the day the prototype first flew out of Eastleigh Aerodrome March 5, 1936.
Great - and I note various papers picking up on the German funding, but so what? The decent people of Germany were just as much liberated by the war as anyone else. And now note the weasel words from the council;
Gerry Wall, public art officer, said: “It’s really a celebration of a pre-war flying machine and its local associations.
“It’s certainly not meant to be from the view point of a war machine.”
Of course not, war is nasty male stuff and it would be too horrible to commemorate; you just stick to your rubbish...
"Hampshire County Council have come up with a novel Year of the Artist project. Initiated by the Council's Arts Development Officer Dawn Langley, they are looking to appoint a 'crafts maker' to recycle waste products into craft objects for display and sale. This project is a forerunner of Hampshire's bid to host a Museum of Modern Craft. For more information contact Gerry Wall on 01962 846 018."
NO further Exports will be made from the UK
Here's an example of how the Govt destroys business:
A small firm that specialises in Genuine Ferguson and Patern parts and repairs restorations for Ferguson Tractors has just announced on their website that:
NO further Exports will be made from the UK
Non-UK orders will no longer be accepted
Any payments made from outside the UK, will be refunded minus 7% administration charge
All paid orders placed prior to 03/03/2004 will be honoured
Exports are about 1/3rd of their business, so why are they stopping..
We've been having some fun here. We think ofourselves as a small business and get on as quietly as we can with our work. The dti, however,inform us that parts we sell could, concievably,be used to make a tractor work that could then be used to deliver a WMD. Now, unlikely as this may seem to you and I, we have to respect the powers that be. We, therefore, have been encouraged to obtain an Export Licence because about 1/3rd of what we sell,we export. If we did,we would then be responsible to ensure that we believe that our parts will not be used on a (or to deliver a) WMD. TOO MUCH! Not my job and NO, No, and thrice NO.
The next crack is that for goods exported to some places, we can charge no VAT, provided that we can prove the goods have left the UK. They won't tell us if a reciept from the P.O. is sufficient proof (let's face it, how many goods go somewhere unknown to the sender?). For goods exported to other places, we should charge VAT. For yet other situations, we must obtain verification of the VAT number of the person to whom we supply goods in EU countries. The extra accounting costs seem to us to amount to as much as the saving to our customers. Who's going to pay that bill? NOT US!
THEREFORE, because of the 2 issues raised, above, NO FURTHER GOODS WILL BE EXPORTED BY US FROM THE UK.
We apologise to our valued and much liked and cared-for non-UK customers.
The Inject Sense blog is gathering speed.
"Inject Sense aims to increase the MMR take-up rate, by debunking popular myths surrounding the vaccination. "
I urge you to visit.
Here is a fine old essay to take you back to days of yore...
Chapter III. Sport.
Source: From Baden-Powell
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
I once adjured Mr. Rudyard Kipling to add to his jungle yarns some notice of the two greatest characters of the wild, who felt that so far their existence was rather ignored in his jungle books these were the Boar and the Mallard, both of them creatures of character.
The Boar, who deserves a big B whenever he is mentioned, is the King of the Jungle. He is the one beast that no other, except possibly the blundering old rhino, will face. When he comes down to drink at the water-hole all other people, including tiger and buffalo and elephant (especially elephant), sneak away, and believe that after all they are not very thirsty or think they will try for a drink somewhere else.
It isn't that he smells or slobbers, but he is so nasty with his tusks. He is the only animal that will go for you without being first roused, because he is the only beast that is habitually crusty.
An old African buffalo, or a Canadian bison, has, of course, his spells of crustiness, and is then unpleasant, but the boar is always peeved about something or other.
He is plucky and tough, as fast as a horse, and can jump where a horse cannot. He stands as high as a table, is long in the leg, and very muscular. He doesn't hesitate to swim a river, even when it is inhabited by crocodiles; he seems to think that the crops which the natives raise of melons, sugar cane' grain, etc., are meant for him to devour, which he does extensively, and if a native objects he knocks him down and tries to disembowel him with his murderous tusks.
Well, that is the fellow we hunt in India on horseback with spears, and there is no sport can touch hog-hunting for excitement or valuable training.
Three or four riders form a " party." Beaters drive the pig out of his lair in the jungle, and the party then race after him, but for the first three-quarters of a mile he can generally outpace them.
The honours then go to the man who can first come up with and spear him. But so soon as- the boar finds himself in danger of being overtaken he either " jinks," that is, darts off sideways, or else turns round and charges his pursuer.
A spear-thrust, unless delivered in a vital spot, has little effect beyond making him more angry, and then follows a good deal of charging on both sides, and it is not always the boar that comes off second best.
He has a wonderful power of quick and effective use of his tusks and many a good horse has been fatally gashed by the animal he was hunting.
Among the Indian Princes and cavalry leaders are a number of good pig-stickers, and it is on this common ground of sportsmanship that our officers of both British and Indian Regiments are on such good terms of friendship.
A great man after pig was Lord William Beresford, at that time Military Secretary to the Viceroy. And I remember him taking a toss, which would have killed any ordinary man, when riding after a pig at the Stud Farm at Saharunpur.
Here the paddocks were divided by stout post and rail fences with wooden gates. His pig instead of jumping the fence charged through the gate, smashing the bottom bar, lifting the gate off the latch, so that as Beresford's horse rose to jump it the gate swung open under him and landing on the top of it he came a heavy crumpler on the hard roadway.
But Beresford was an Irishman and no harm resulted.
TESTED IN PIG-STICKING
I did most of my hog-hunting when with my Regiment, during three glorious years at Muttra. I never took the usual leave to the hills in hot weather because I could not tear myself away from the sport.
Some fourteen years later, after service in South Africa and at home, I returned to India to take command of the 5th Dragoon Guards.
A few days after I had joined the Regiment I was politely asked by the officers whether we might not have a day's pig-sticking I felt in my bones that there was something underlying this question, and that these young men were anxious to put their new Colonel to the test in the hunting held to see what he was made of.
It was an anxious moment for me. I wasn't sure whether my nerve for the game had survived the years of abstinence from the sport which had intervened. (And it requires some nerve.)
However, once a pig was afoot I forgot all my doubts. We had a great run in which the boar eventually got into a big isolated strip of bushy jungle.
I galloped to the far end to see whether he came out while others watched the sides. Knowing he was in there we called up the beaters and they went through the covert from end to end. Not a sign of him, so I got of f my horse and went in myself with the beaters, carrying my spear with me, to make sure that the place was thoroughly searched. As we advanced through the jungle for the third time I noticed that the beaters in the centre of the line edged outwards as they came to one particularly thick bush.
I pushed forwards towards it, urging them to close in and drive the old beggar out. But there was little need for my exhortation, for he came out of his own accord, not only willingly but with eagerness, and straight at me.
I had just time to lower my spear as he rushed on to it and it went deep into his chest. But the shock of the impact threw me over on my back and, while I held tight to the spear-shaft, he was there just over me, trying to reach me with his tusks but held off sufficiently by the spear stuck in him.
The natives, stout fellows, immediately cleared out of the jungle with loud cries to the horsemen outside, railing in Hindustani: " It's all right, the pig was there; he has killed the Colonel Sahib ! "
In a few moments they were off their horses and dashing in to my rescue. One small officer in his impetuosity dashed at the pig with his spear, missed him clean, and fell over on the top of him. However, better efforts prevailed, and the pig was promptly dispatched.
Then came the awed question: " Do you always go in on foot, sir ? " and in self-defence I had to say: "Of course, why not?"
But this involved me in frequent repetitions of the feat, and in the end we adopted it as a habit, as adding to the excitement of the chase. It certainly gave it an added flavour.
THE KADIR CUP
Every year a hog-hunting competition is held in the Kadir Jungle near Meerut. Sportsmen from all parts of India congregate here to run off the eliminating heats after pig, till the final heat, which decides who is to hold the Cup.
This race is known as the Hog-hunters' Cup.
The Prince of Wales, during his visit to India, came to the camp to witness the final run for the Kadir Cup and then said he would like to ride for the Hog-hunters' Cup. But as this was limited to those who had ridden in the Kadir Cup he was told that it was impossible, and this was urged upon him because nobody wanted to see him ride over that country where falls are the rule and often very bad falls at that.
However, His Royal Highness insisted on starting, on the understanding that he would be disqualified. He was one of the very few that did not fall and though a total stranger to that kind of country he won the race and was disqualified. A great performance.
Being keen on pig-sticking it was only natural that I should enter such horses as I had for the Kadir Cup and this I did on three different occasions. The last was when I was in the 5th Dragoon Guards. The other two men drawn in my heat happened also to be in my Regiment.
We had a ding-dong gallop after a pig. Shortly after starting one of them fell, and the race lay between the other man and myself. We were going all out, neck and neck, when suddenly my rival collapsed, head over heels, and I was left with a tired pig just in front of me.
I had only to push on, stick him and win. BUT-I glanced back to see how my fallen rival, Dunbar, was faring, and I saw that both horse and man were stunned and that he was lying with his head too near to the horse's hoofs to be safe. So saying goodbye to the pig I went back and lugged the lad clear. After giving him a rest the umpire started us anew after another pig, when Dunbar, most ungraciously I consider, streaked past me and speared the pig right away, and so won the heat. This put him into the final which he eventually won, bringing the Cup at all events to the Regiment. And that was all that mattered.
On the two previous occasions on which I had entered I had managed to get placed in the final heat, and one of them brought me one of the bombshells of my life, in the shape of the Kadir Cup.
I had won all the preliminary heats with the two horses I had entered, namely Hagarene and Patience; thus both had to run in the final heat against a shirt competitor.
I rode Hagarene, my favorite, and Ding MacDougall, a brother officer in the 13th rode Patience for me. Hagarene quickly outstripped her rivals and was leading by many lengths when the pig dived through a thick hedge-like line of bush.
As Hagarene jumped it I realised that there was no landing on the other side but a fall into the river. Here we soused under almost on top of the pig, who turned and crawled out again where he had entered, and while I was getting out on one side and Hagarene on the other, the pig met MacDougall coming up on Patience and was promptly speared.
Thus I won the Cup at the hands of MacDougall.
A BRUTAL SPORT
You who sit at home will naturally condemn it. But again I say, like the drunkard to the parson, try it before you judge.
See how the horse enjoys it, see how the boar himself, mad with rage, rushes wholeheartedly into the scrap, see how you, with your temper thoroughly roused, enjoy the opportunity of wreaking it to the full
Yes, hog-hunting is a brutal sport--and yet I loved it, as I loved also the fine old fellow I fought against. I cannot pretend that I am not inconsistent. But are many of us entirely consistent ? Do what we will and say what we like, although we have a veneer of civilisation, the primitive man's instincts are still not far below the surface. Murder will out. Did we not see it in all its horridness in the War ?
But apparently the Churches recognised the fact; at any rate one does not remember that they made any attempt to stop us killing our fellow-men, our fellow-Christians.
Until we get our education upon a more spiritual foundation instead of being content with mere academical scholarship, more of character training than standard of knowledge, we shell only have the veneer.
I spent the weekend being a tourist in London - it is nice to visit occasionally.
Heir and Spare in the The Tate Gallery asking whether the modern art is really just rubbish compared to the old masters.
The London Eye, simply a must do:
The Texas Embassy for a decent steak with Chorizo sausage and deepfried jalapinos.
And finally Her Majesty's finest forming up behind No 10 Downing Street in preparation for a spot of Prescott Sticking - if only...
March 6, 2004
The wonderful Michael Quinion in his weekly neswletter from
http://www.worldwidewords.org discusses the derivation of the word Chav - if you are not a subscriber then you can see it here: WORLDWIDEWORDS archives -- March 2004, week 1 (#1)
"...The term that has become especially widely known in recent weeks, at least in southern England, is the one borrowed for the name of
the Web site, "chav". A writer in the Independent thought it derived from the name of the town of Chatham in Kent, where the term is best known and probably originated. But it seems that the
word is from a much older underclass, the gypsies, many of whom have lived in that area for generations. "Chav" is almost certainly
from the Romany word for a child, "chavi", recorded from the middle of the nineteenth century. We know it was being used as a term of
address to an adult man a little later in the century, but it hasn't often been recorded in print since and its derivative "chav" is quite new to most people..."
March 5, 2004
Sorry to see you go
ic Southlondon - Holly Valance to quit Britain?
After calling us Brits "bitter and twisted" it looks as though Holly Valance has finally had enough of residing in our green and pleasant land. She's only got four months left on her record contract and she knows it won't be renewed. She's gone to Australia to assess her options.
Whilst I'm sorry to say I have no idea who Ms Valance is I'm available for career advice and I would like to show not all us Englishmen are bitter and twisted. "Holly, come and sit here and let's see what comes up."
Blimey, we have Chavs visiting. I'm sure they are jolly decent people underneath those stupid hats, and they are having great fun arguing with each other at This post on Chavs. Go and join in!
I have just taken the Harvard Implicit Association Test on nationalism from the UK specific pages; "The results revealed by this test provide a new method of appraising nationalism."
"Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for United States relative to United Kingdom"
Which surprised me - I thought I would be neutral (The test works by flashing words and picures which you allocate to good or bad or US or UK. However I think I was influenced by the use of Tony's grinning mug which as an Englishman I should be associating with the UK and Good but my finger hesitated every time..)
Go on take the test - it is more interesting than the "which Lord of the Rings special effect" are you ones that most Blogs do.
There is also a Race one which "indicates that most people have an automatic preference for white over black." My results are staying sealed..
March 4, 2004
Compare the Billions being spent on British Railways to prevent a handful of deaths with this from India
The rail network that serves India's commercial capital, Bombay, and its suburbs is its lifeline, carrying six million people every day.
But every year, more than 3,500 commuters are killed using it - an average of 10 deaths a day.
It is actually hard to find a total of deaths for UK railways, "In 2001 in response to a parliamentary question the minister stated “This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.” " but these guys have a good attempt at it, and show how deaths dropped after privatisation...
The rest of the iGreen site looks interesting - "Environmentalists often ignore the way the private sector protects, and the state harms the environment. iGreens are redressing the balance." - I must read further...
Microwave your money!
The official plan is for euro notes to have RFID tags in them by 2005. (RFID tags are the tiny tiny ID chips that can be scanned at a distance.
) This report suggests that they are already in them, though the only 50 euro note I can find I am not allowed to try out as the owner doesn't want it burnt (I can't see anything though, and it might just be the metal strip sparking)...RFID Tags Already in Euro Notes
This is a follow up to the more widely reported RFID Tags in New US Notes Explode When You Try to Microwave Them
"Of course, the official line is that these tags are there "to protect us", they stop counterfeiting and enable security agencies to track illegal money. Why would illegal money come in five or ten Euro notes? Surely your classic suitcase with wads of cash consists of 200s or 500s not fives and tens, you would need a whole truck to transport large amounts.
The truth is where ever we go are being tracked by our governments. RFID is the latest technology to be used in the ever-growing control grid that dictates the way we live our lives. Walmart has recently carried out RFID trials, even though they claim it is only to monitor possible theft of razors! "
For the first time in ages I caught sight of The Independent. This was the top story on page one:
If the human race as a whole, rather than 50 states plus the District of Colombia, could cast a ballot this coming November, John Kerry would surely win the presidency by a landslide.
Unfortunately for President Bush-haters around the world, only the 200 million United States citizens of voting age will have that right - and the outcome is anything but sure.
Remember that is meant to be the News page not the Editorial page, I didn't bother to go there, but I did notice:
Obviously life would be much better if the state just made one sort of toothpaste and one sort of car and the poor consumer didn't have to worry about choice...
Meddle at Peril
Our legal system is under attack again by Tony and his desire to modernise everything.
"Public confidence in the way the judicial system has interacted with executive and legislature has been strong for literally hundreds of years. ....if the continentals couldn't maintain an independent judicial system, then that's their fault. We've managed it perfectly well for centuries, and, as Conservatives realise but leftists can't even comprehend, the tradition is the guarantee. Break the tradition and you break the guarantee."
As one of the comments says:
"I can't work out whether this lot are dangerous because they are stupid and incompetent or dangerous because they are dangerous."
Not my Flag pt2
The Times, London
ROME, March 3. ” To the surprise of those who consider the European Union humanly flawed, even the work of the devil, the Pope is to put its founding father on the road to sainthood.
Vatican officials confirmed yesterday that Robert Schuman of France, who died in 1963, was a candidate for beatification, the penultimate step before sainthood. The Pope considered that Schuman was an extraordinarily competent statesman who served the people of Europe, they said. He had also been an authentic Catholic and an example to all those responsible for the construction of Europe.
And the EU flag and the Marian Cult symbol just co-incidentally are the same?
Torbay - just say No
You may remember the Lib Dems at work in Torquay/ Torbay when they wanted to scrap our national flags, they were routed by the council workers who mounted an official protest over plans to take down the British and English flags at seafront locations in Torquay and Paignton. The ruling Liberal Democrats also want to take down the St George's flag and Union flag at the Town Hall in Torquay.
Now "A campaign to make Torbay "smoke free" has been launched."
Torbay deputy mayor Jenny Faulkner said she was keen to support the Smoke Free Alliance.
"As children's champion on the council, having restaurants and eateries that are not filled with smoke is very important to me.
Well at least such Feckwits make it easier for me to decide where to go on holiday - anywhere but Torbay. I dislike smokey pubs but I hate illiberal Liberals more.
I think I will drop this story on their Feedback page!
March 3, 2004
In the mood
March 1, 2004 was The 100th Anniversary of birth of Glenn Miller
Missed it, damn, but I will be humming Chattanooga Choo Choo as I drive home (the original version - not the modern more correct one without "boy"!) - read more for lyrics and a German version!
Reminds me of my favourite Stars in their Eyes episode where the contestant said "Tonight Matthew I am going to be Glenn Miller", he then walked up the steps, and waved from the door as the clouds closed round him.... never saw him again.
Pardon me, boy
Is that the Chatanooga Choo-Choo
Track twenty nine,
Boy, you can give me a shine,
I can afford
To board a Chatanooga Choo-Choo,
I've got my fare
And just a trifle to spare.
You leave the Pensylvania station 'bout a quarter to four,
Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore,
Dinner in the diner,
Nothing could be finer
Than to have ham n' eggs in Carolina,
When you hear the whistle blowing eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far,
Shovel all the coal in,
Gotta keep it rollin'
Woo, Woo, Chattanooga there you are.
There's gonna be
A certain party at the station
Satin and lace
I used to call a funny face
She's gonna cry
Until I tell her that I'll never roam,
|: So Chattanooga Choo-Choo,
Won't you choo-choo me home. :|
Verzeihn Sie, mein Herr,
Fährt dieser Zug nach Kötzschenbroda?
Er schafft's vielleicht,
Wenn's mit der Kohle noch reicht.
Ist hier noch Platz,
In diesem Zug nach Kötzschenbroda?
Das ist nicht schwer,
Wer nicht mehr stehn kann, liegt quer.
Ja, für Geübte ist das Reisen heute gar kein Problem.
Auf dem Puffer oder Trittbrett steht man bequem.
Und dich trifft kein' Fußtritt,
Fährst du auf dem Dach mit,
Obendrein bekommst du dort noch frische Luft mit!
Morgens fährt der Zug an Papestraße vorbei,
Mittags ist die Fahrt nach Halensee noch nicht frei.
Nachts in Wusterhausen
Läßt du dich entlausen
Und verlierst die Koffer auch noch leider dabei.
So fährt man heut
Von Groß-Berlin nach Kötzschenbroda
Und dann und wann
Kommt man auch wirklich dort an.
Nun stehn wir da,
Der schöne Traum vom Reisen ist jetzt aus.
Glück auf nach Kötzschenbroda!
- aber ich bleib zuhaus.
Don't buy Green Bananas..
What does it mean if a test for some disease is "95% accurate"? Does it mean that, if you test positive, you have a 95% chance of having the disease. While this sounds sensible, the answer is usually "no." The actual probability depends not only on the reliability of the test, but also the number of infections in the population to begin with. This applet demonstrates this idea.
A parrot that shouts "Show us your t*ts" at women on board a Royal Navy ship, is being taken ashore when the Queen comes to visit......
Not Wild West
I'm wanting to get back out to Colorado already.. No2 Son (The Spare in tradional English parlance - the heir, the spare and the girl is the proper way of doing things) is going to be studying "The Wild West" as part of his history course for the next two years - I must present him with these links in case his right-on school fails to.
(He is also going to study Northern Ireland - the last forty years, which should be interesting to a bigot like me.)
Kids too thin
There are an estimated 60,000 people in Britain with eating disorders. Nine out of ten are female.
The BMA report calls for urgent action to reduce the pressure on young women to be thin, asking publishers in particular to be more responsible....
Kids too fat
More than 100 of the UK's top health and consumer groups have signed up to a campaign to have junk food ads banned.
I actually read the report "There is a crisis in children’s health. In his 2002 Annual Report on the state of health of the nation, the Chief Medical Officer warned that obesity is a “health time bomb” All for "the children", salt , fat, sugar, unhealthy....But what they really really hate is that food is sold for "profit" and "commercial reasons". The report is full of weasel words, no real science and is exactly the sort of thing this Nanny state will introduce.
March 2, 2004
Get your hands off..
As Unpersons says:
"British subjects, your bodies are not your own, they belong to the government."
When, please when?
You know the drill. Every 14th of February you get the chance to display your fondness for a significant other by showering her with gifts, flowers, dinner, shows and any other baubles that women find romantic. Every Valentines day you rack your brains for that one special, unique gift that will show your wife or girlfriend that you really do care for them more than any other. Now ladies, I'll let you in on a little secret; guys really don't enjoy this that much. Sure seeing that smile on your face when we get it right is priceless, but that smile is the result of weeks of blood, sweat and consideration. Another secret; guys feel left out. That's right, there's no special holiday for the ladies to show their appreciation for the men in their life. Men as a whole are either too proud or too embarrassed to admit it.
Which is why a new holiday has been created.
March 14th is now officially "Steak and Blowjob Day". Simple, effective and self explanatory, this holiday has been created so you ladies finally have a day to show your man how much you care for him.
No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town; the name of the holiday explains it all, just a steak and a BJ. Thats it. Finally, this twin pair of Valentine's Day and Steak and Blowjob Day will usher in a new age of love as men everywhere try THAT much harder in February to ensure a memorable March 14th!
The word is already beginning to spread, but as with any new idea, it needs a little push to start the ball rolling. So spread the word, and help bring love and peace to this crazy world. And, of course, steak and BJ's.
Firefox and MT
Geeky note - following my adoption of firefox for browsing I needed tweaks to enable easy blogging - as ever they are out there and work, follow the link if it interests you: MT Text formatting buttons in Mozilla :: Kalsey Consulting Group
What I need for above the Fireplace
A relic from the heady days of the British Empire. Wild Boar's head trophy, superbly modelled, mouth open, snarling, with tusks beared, on polished oak shield by the much acclaimed London Taxidermist Edward Gerrard & Sons.
Additionally in gold leaf to the front of the shield is the legend "MUTTRA, UNITED PROVINCE, INDIA". One of a matched pair. Circa 1905.
Honi soit qui mal y pense
It is enough to make most parents blush with embarrassment.
Britain's most popular nursery rhymes, recited by generations of parents to their children, are teeming with references to bed-hopping royals and teenage sex, according to a book on the origins of 24 playground ditties.
While Jack and Jill may seem innocuous enough in their attempt to fetch water, they are in fact preoccupied with losing their virginity, says Chris Roberts, a social historian who has traced the adult stories behind the nursery rhymes. Jill possibly becomes pregnant and there are regrets later.
"The interesting bit is that, having successfully 'lost his crown', it's Jack who runs off rapidly - probably to tell his mates what happened," said Mr Roberts, 37, author of Heavy Words Lightly Thrown.
In an alternative second verse, the sexual association of the rhyme becomes more blatant. Instead of his head, Jack has a different part of his anatomy patched up with vinegar and brown paper.
The rhyme "Goosey, goosey gander, where do you wander? Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber" can be read as alluding to the spread of venereal disease - known as "goose bumps" because of the swelling.
It also tackles a row between Henry VIII and the Catholic Church, which owned the land upon which brothels were operating and profited hugely.
Mr Roberts, a librarian at East London University, said his book came out of research he undertook for a series of walking tours around London.
While people already know that Ring a Ring o' Roses refers to the rash displayed by sufferers at the time of the Great Plague, it is less well known that Oranges and Lemons, a guide to the City of London, doubles as a lewd wedding song, he said.
The line "here comes a candle to light you to bed", for example, is an apparent reference to the bride tempting her new bridegroom, while "here comes a chopper to chop off your head" alludes to the woman losing her virginity, or "maiden head"......
Spank the Monkey
The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles was missing from my blogroll - error now corrected.
March 1, 2004
Good news fo boy racers, but no one else!
From the Institute of Economic Affairs
Latest article by John Blundell in The Scotsman: My Bid for immortality, apart from my two sons, consists of Blundell's Law.
This can be expressed in several ways. "Stupidity has its own entropy" is the posh version. The plain man's rendering is "All bureaucratic interventions achieve the opposite of what is intended". It can also be distilled to "All politicians destroy their own projects".
I have just stumbled upon a proposal so ludicrous that I can only take pleasure in putting in the boot. The innovation comes from the European Commission. You may think it a wee bit technical and tedious but there is comedy if you are patient.
"The Impact Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between women and men in the access and supply of goods and services" sounds mildly virtuous, even blameless. Yet it is a heavy-handed imposition of falsehoods. It requires that insurance companies do not differentiate between men and women, whether it be for motor insurance or pensions.
Equal treatment of the sexes sounds benign. Yet the sexes are different. Suppressing these facts helps nobody.
Women drivers crash their cars far less than men. This is not just true in Scotland. It is true in Portugal and Finland and Greece.
My guess is itï¿½ll be true in the ten new nations joining the EU too. Iï¿½m not sure what the explanation is. It may simply be testosterone. So, women deserve lower individual health insurance premiums as they are a far smaller risk - yet this is what the EU Commission wants to censor.
The whole purpose of insurance markets is to share or pool risks. It is no secret that smokers expire long before those who do not block their lungs. The Commission is confused about whether this raw fact ought to be banned too. There is a strong anti-smoking lobby within the Commission which favours punishing or alarming the cigarette addicts.
Had these daft bureaucrats been around in the 17th century London coffee house Lloydï¿½s (which later evolved into the global insurance market) they would no doubt have insisted that all merchant ships paid the same premiums, regardless of the risks.
The nature of the risk is utterly different. Markets do their job by differentiating. They digest and process past experiences to price future risks.
Penalising safe younger women drivers to cross subsidise crash-prone males is distilled foolishness yet it masquerades as enlightened policy as it does away with sexual discrimination.
If muddling motor insurance is about a vivid but essentially modest amount of money, this is only a foretaste of the vast fatuities proposed by the Commission.
Across the EU, state pension schemes are failing. They are not funded, one generation simply taxes the next to pay for their needs. As the demographic patterns confirm, ever fewer workers of the future will be levied ever greater sums to pay for retirement benefits. Britain is something of an exception. Most of our pension provisions are in the market and fuelled by actuarial risk. The bulk of pension obligations on the Continent are claims on the national treasuries.
Yes, I know this sounds academic, but there is a potential catastrophe in insisting insurers and pension funds must disregard questions of sex, or smoking, or health, or of other lifestyle factors.
The European Commission thinks it is promoting "fairness". If women live longer, this fact of nature must be ignored so men are equal. It seems plain that these rules will only impose the flaws of the state social security or pension systems into the private markets.
We were told we were joining the Common Market. What we have is the Common Bureaucracy.
Edinburghï¿½s insurance giants seem to be mute about this problem. Perhaps they are only being discreet. Privately, they may be telling the Commission to behave coherently.
Yet this leads to far greater misgiving. The Commission could come up with preposterous ideas that have not been thought through. What we lack is a corrective mechanism. If our government pursues an unpopular policy, it has to explain itself to the electorate.
The noble philosopher Sir Karl Popper said most of the talk about democracy is waffle. The only substantive power in democracy was to dismiss a government. Fear of their rendezvous with the electorate is what keeps politicians alert. These powerful processes are absent from the European Commission.
Do not be fooled by the subterfuge of the European Parliament. The Commission does not draw its legitimacy from all those MEPs. The UK government has to secure a majority in the House of Commons, and try to resecure it at every election.
The European Commission is a very different beast. Nobody can be voted in or out. Nobody can be voted on or off. Here is raw power uninhibited by the democratic processes we all think we still live under. I believe we should be appalled that the auditors of the European Commission, reporting that half the organisationï¿½s billions are corruptly or criminally processed, were dismissed for their diligence and courage.
So, a goofy plan to obliterate actuarial fact - that women drive more safely than men and live longer than men - is far more than an intellectual error.
It is emblematic that we are now subject to powers that lack proper corrective measures. The European Union is an autocratic monolith. It does not bother to crush its critics. It ignores them.
We are free to write to our MSPs, MPs or MEPs to criticise any directive from Brussels. In turn, they are powerless to do anything. They can burble. They can waffle. They can write articles. Why should Commission officials bother to yield any of their exhilarating powers?
If the EC can ignore the accumulated knowledge of the insurance industries with utter impunity, what levers can we mere motals pull?
When Friedrich Hayek penned his astonishing book The Road to Serfdom, he expressed the fear that nationalisation would not only crush all wealth but also destroy liberty. Perceptive though he was, he never envisaged or understood the prospect of this strange international bureaucracy that is incorrectable by elective mechanism and barely subject to laws.
It often seems to me that each industry is damaged or obliterated in isolation. Scotlandï¿½s fishing fleet has been decimated and the rest of us were as powerless as the Scottish Minister for Fishing. One by one every corner of our business life gets caught is these subtle cobwebs. We were told we were joining the "Common Market". What we have is the "Common Bureaucracy".
Scotlandï¿½s insurance markets work well. For generations they have been at the heart of Edinburghï¿½s vitality. Direct Line jolted us all and delivered cheaper cover far beyond the Lothians. Soon, perhaps, complying with the drizzle of Euro-directives, no Scottish insurer will have data on the sex, age, health, wealth, or accident history of its customers.
Paul MacDonnell of the Irish Insurance Federation expresses his exasperation: "In motor insurance, where objective sex-specific claims data justifies differences between men and women drivers, particularly amongst younger, less experienced drivers, equalising the premiums to the benefit of young males without improving their risk profile will bring more high risk drivers on to the road, thus making our roads less safe for all road users."
I have no doubt he is correct. My fear is that by fighting Euro-nonsense one by one, businesses will be defeated by the colossal weight of the Commission.
ï¿½ John Blundell is director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs.