Friday, March 28, 2003


Qatar based Al-Jazeera TV, current thorn in the side of "coalition" governments for showing pictures in breach of the Geneva Convention, has picked up an award for circumventing censorship.

Al-Jazeera recently reported that it had received 4 million applications in a week from potenital customers in Europe eager to get news from the influential Arabic channel. After showing footage of captured US servicemen and dead British soldiers, Al-Jazeera's reporters were barred from the floor of the NASDAQ exchange in New York.


NB - Links Updated

This worrying development reported in Pitchfork.

Message: 3
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2003 11:51:57 -0000
From: "blisscentrecords"
Subject: Godspeed You! Black Emperor Questioned as Suspected Terrorists,

Ryan Schreiber reports:
Renowned Canadian nontet Godspeed You! Black Emperor were held for
questioning as possible terrorists at an Oklahoma gas station last
weekend, while driving from a concert they'd played at Fort Worth,
TX's Ridglea Theatre to a show to be held the following Monday at the
Blue Note in Columbia, MO. According to Tom Windish, a representative
for the band at The Billions Corporation, the band pulled their two
vans and white-panel truck, which they use for toting equipment, into
an area gas station to refuel. Upon seeing the motley crew of nine
musicians, the station's attendant phoned the police, reporting the
possibility that the band might be terrorists.

Before even having a chance to leave the station, the group was
reportedly surrounded by police cars and FBI agents who, a
representative for Chicago's Abbey Pub, where the band played this
weekend, said had guns drawn. The band was held for questioning for
roughly three hours before finally being released as innocents. "They
get hassled by The Man regularly," said Bruce Adams, co-founder of
the Chicago-based label Kranky. "Police pulling them over, anything
you can imagine. It's just the feeling in the country right now."

"I just feel very lucky that we weren't Pakistani or Korean,"
Godspeed You! Black Emperor frontman Efrim Menuck told Pitchfork at
the band's Chicago performance on Friday night. "They detained 1,000
people in California, no one knows what happened to them. We're just
lucky we're nice white kids from Canada. That's what I feel lucky
about." Menuck was reluctant to further discuss the incident, citing
that they had already told the story at a performance earlier in the
week. Constellation Records, which the band presently records for,
had no comment.
.: Godspeed You! Black Emperor:
[this page is blank]
.: Constellation Records:



We all hate war...every interview these days has someone saying this pablum. It's complete bullshit. Everyone on the planet loves war...when they're winning and sometimes even when they're losing.

Challening stuf from Scott (ewav).

War is what formed every country except for those godforsaken African
states drawn from arbitrary lines on a big map by European nations in
the early 20th century.

How many non-military historical figures can you name? I'd guess only
25-30% of the names you remember did something other than kill people
for a living.

Our sports and entertainments are all based on war motifs. Our
businesses are practically war machines in all but the legal sanction to

Everyone loves war. We love watching it on TV. We love hearing the
stories vets tell. We love reading about it. It's just spiffy.

The only problem with war comes up when we're losing and then it's a
very bad thing. And yet, I'd hazzard a guess that people still love
their warring losing times because they're such grand spectacles.

Life is boring. Getting up and going to work is deadening. Going to the
movies once a week is a mild pleasantry. Watching TV is tedious and soul
destroying. Reading takes too long and the Internet is about as
thrilling as tortilla chips. You can't stop eating an entire bag, but
when you're done you're very full and somehow unsatisfied.

So let us all embrace war. Let's all go out and advocate death and
destruction because it makes for great TV and radio. Let's get this
economy moving again! Let's rally around the troops and elect them to
senate when they return! Let's be lead blindly, because without
following there is no leading and without leaders, where would we be?

We would be floating adrift in the placid seas of life desperate for
anything to shake us, to challenge us, desperate for something enticing
to happen that could grab our attention and spark our imaginations.

War. What is it good for? Interesting stories. Say it again. Huh! War.

All this war talk has gotten me
Riled up and ready for action.
Watch your back Danforth!
Charlie's up in the trees!


You know the score. Five questions, five answers, bunch fives if you don't agree.

1. What was your most memorable moment from the last week?
A reception for a new air service to Uzbekistan at noble rot.

2. What one person touched your life this week?
The wife of one of the participants on the TV programme "Diet Trials" who was giving her husband total support - silly, I know, but I'm a soft bugger and, it's sort of like reality TV.

3. How have you helped someone this week?
Too many ways. I'm too kind.

4. What one thing do you need to get done by this time next week?
Get my hair cut!

5. What one thing will you do over the next seven days to make your world a better place?
Blogging for peace.

Thursday, March 27, 2003


"I know of only two things that are infinite - the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the first."
Albert Einstein


Walking to the station this morning, I noticed the mobile blood donation truck parked at the end of my street again. I have never given blood. I'm terribly squeamish, I hate having blood tests and can't look when the needle goes in. For a while recently, I had the excuse not to give blood. As someone who had been to the UK for a significant period (i.e. during the BSE/CJD scare), I couldn't give blood in the US, where I was living. Before that, I had a bout of Glandular Fever/Mono-nucleosis. That ruled out giving blood for a year or so.

Now, I'm free from excuses. Guilt has caught up with me. The next time there's an opportunity at work - open up the vein and suck it out.

Visit the starkly named site.

UPDATE: 4 April. Circle that date!


According to the latest reports on the BBC News web site, the Iraqis claim a civilian death toll of 350 since the start of hostilities. This contrasts with a report I heard this morning claiming not more that 160. That earlier report and other stuff I had seen over the last few days prompted me to think again about the Iraq Body Count ticker on my blog. When I last lloked, that showed a minimum of 227 and a maximum of 307.

I freely admit that the body count only adds to the "fog of war". That fog is getting thicker as days go on.

As an example, over the last day or so there have been reports of Iraqi tank columns leaving Basra and Baghdad, seemingly a significant numer of troops looking to confront "coalition" forces, perhaps in a pre-emptive move.

"2025: A column of as many as 1,000 vehicles of the Iraqi Republican Guard is reportedly moving very close to the American units south of Baghdad."

"1705: A large convoy of about 70-120 Iraqi tanks and armoured personnel carriers - is seen moving out of the southern city of Basra, heading south-east; coalition aircraft are said to be preparing to attack them."

from yesterday's BBC Iraq latest.

This contrasts to the build up to war when we were told by the military or the press or someone that the Iraqis would fall back into the centre of Baghdad, attempting to engage in street fighting and hand-to-hand. Anyway, those columns, the press now report, were, in the case of Basra, a couple of armoured vehicles full of irregular soldiers co-erced to leave the cities by members of the Ba'ath leadership.

"Defense officials in Washington, however, questioned whether the movements were as large as reported or were offensive in nature."

from the Washington Post

"1030: British forces engaged and destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks that tried to break out of the southern city of Basra, according to military sources."

from the Guardian

This is the latest in a line of story threads which "develop" over time. My advice, is don't beleive any "latest" reports. If you want to follow what's going on, look at an overview of the news and take a critical judgement on what seem to be dramatic events.

It may not be accurate, but the intention of it is to show that every day innocents are being sacrificed in this invasion/liberation. So, the counter stays...for now.

And another thing: I will gladly post a verifiable death count of civilians under the Saddam regime. Can anyone help?

Monday, March 24, 2003


Highlight of the day? Finding this excellent blog from down under. Got all you want. Personal comment, fine links and well written.


One of my favourite albums of all time is "Mysterious Traveller" by 1970s jazz fusion super group Weather Report. But, instead of writing about them, I want to tell you what a lovely day it was again today. So nice that here are a couple of pictures from the web cams on top of my office.

That's the building site next door. Rather disconcertingly, after being told that the demolition would be by "conventional" measures, we get about six explosions every day. In the current circumstances, rather off-putting.


Okay, then. I've gotta blog about this war thing. There are three events that are sticking in my mind at the moment. They all relate to press reporting of the war. As we all know, the first casualty of war is the truth. This one is no different. For all our 21st century technology. Even with our own reporters in the enemy's capital - how weird is that? I just cannot believe half of the stuff coming through on the media.

First, the death of an ITN reporter, possibly by friendly fire. From what I've read, the reason why the likes of Terry Lloyd were wandering around the desert is because in the last Gulf War, reporters complained that there was so little to report when they were linked up with army units (or "embedded" in newspeak). So there now seem to be dozens of reporters risking their lives to get the real story. Lloyd was unlikely and got caught either by driving into an Iraqi patrol or possibly hit by "coalition" forces: all for trying to pierce the fog of war.

Another Guardian article: sorry. The story concerns Al-Jazeera TV reporting of the war. Al-Jazeera is the Arab antidote to CNN, Fox and the other US outlets. I think I better add BBC and ITN to that too. Although the reporting I've seen has been professional from Baghdad (under Iraqi supervision) and from the battlefield, there's still a suspicion that we're getting the stroy that someone else - be it military or political - wants us to hear. But, the quote I've picked out is this one:

"The South African columnist Darrel Bristow-Bovey yesterday complained that the influence of reality TV made war reporting look like "Big Brother Iraq"."

That's brought it all home to me. This is a reality programme, yet it is total unreality.

And then those pictures of the US PoWs...How does this affect my view of the morality of the war? Should I be horrified at the Iraqis flagrantly breaching the Geneva Convention? Should I rail at the "coalition" for putting our boys and girls at risk?

I am disgusted that the Iraqis paraded the prsoners on TV. Yet, I am also disgusted that British TV has also now shown these pictures. It is no excuse for the Iraqis, but I must question the editorial decision at the BBC and ITN. Is there a political side to this? "Look. This is why we need to get rid of Sadaam. His regime is evil." I'm suspicious. Are you?

I hesitate to make the connection of Rumsfeld complaining about a breach of Geneva and the treatment of suspected Al-Qaida terrorists. But, there you go. I just did. Now, I ask whether the terrorists are PoWs. If not, are they then criminals? Then why that dreadful picture of the Al-Qaida number 2 the other week?

Sunday, March 23, 2003


It has been unseasonable warm in London today. In fact, we've had nearly a week of sunshine and no wind, temps around 10-14 C, but up to 17 C today. So, no excuse not to bike for peace. I did about 11.5km yesterday and 20.5 today. My bum hurts.

If this weather ain't evidence of global warming, then I'm Saddam Hussein. Oh, and he probably isn't dead. I reckon they got one of his look-a-likes. Can't be arsed to link any news articles. Yesterday's Guardian had some top notch stuff in it. But, I'd like to forget about it. First causalty of war: the truth. Unfortunately, I've seen that my body counter has rocketed up in the last few days.

I feel a margharita coming on!


Silly quiz time...

You are 36% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at

Thanks to scornfate

Friday, March 21, 2003


Planet Ark again with some good news about oil.


"Celine Dion is so middle of the road that if she decided that being the angular, world-renowned face of mediocrity wasn't enough, she'd have a great career as a speed bump."

Ouch! Well, not that I would be buying tin of syrup. From the Guardian.

I'll go for the excellent John Surman/John DeJohnette disc instead. I caught this collaboration back in 2001 - "nine pieces are from Surman's suite inspired by the 1948 United Nations Human Rights Declaration". A very fine gig and sentiment, relevant today as ever.


The always reliable Planet Ark reports on the arrest of murdering bastard John Howard. Visit John's blog. I'm sure he'll have something to say on this in the days to come.


1. If you had the chance to meet someone you've never met, from the past or present, who would it be?
My mum's dad.

2. If you had to live in a different century, past or future, which would it be?
Future - things can only get better

3. If you had to move anywhere else on Earth, where would it be?
Northern California would be nice, but I'd settle for moving to a slightly bigger house up the road in Herne Hill.

4. If you had to be a fictional character, who would it be?
Zaphod Beeblebrox

5. If you had to live with having someone else's face as your own for the rest of your life, whose would it be?
The Invisible Man

Wednesday, March 19, 2003


Or is that Bretzel Logic? Anyway, a French website (you know, the bad guys that want to piss on Bush's war) is collecting money to help children around the world. At the same time, they'll send a pretzel in your name to Dubya. You may recall the great leader choked on one a while back.

Just amazing the rubbish you can find on the web. Isn't it great?

via Politics in the Zeroes


That's right, claim your free gift* today only when you sign my guestbook!

To claim your free gift* sign the guestbook, wait 14 days, then send postage and handling fee of $50 to FreeGift, Freepost, Freetown. Your free gift* will be despatch by our experienced team of inmates at Devil's Island Correctional Facility within days. Don't forget to tip your postman his usual free gift* fee.

This offer is not available in sotres. Not available over the internet! Not available in Delaware. It's not even available on daytime TV. Cannot be found dahn the marrrkit.

Don't forget: sign the book, claim the free gift* and march against war.

* free gift not available at present.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003


Why didn't I get invited?

via Knobby.

Update: link changed and picture added. Warning: work unfriendly page about halfway down.


iamadonut has, at great expense, signed up a top Baghdad correspondent. Yes, after months of protracted negotiations, we've engaged someone very close to the top echelon of the Iraqi regime to contribute thoughtful insights from the beseiged capital. In fact, he's so close, he IS the Iraqi regime. Well, not actually, but it beats typing "isn't this great."

via knobby

Maybe Dubya has a blog...?


Actually under the rainbow. This pic cheered me up...a bit.

NB - The web servers at work are straining as people try to get war news. This has limited my work time blogging (Boss: "Quite right too!")


Global crisis, 48 hours to go, UN bypassed, NATO irrelevenat, splits in the EU, uranium tipped missiles pointed at Baghdad, political crisis in Britain, 250,000 men and women in the region.

So how you going to feed them. This from the Atlanta Constitution Journal.

"There's a bakery on board the USS Kitty Hawk -- currently in the Gulf -- that supplies around 900 loaves of bread a day. And soda machines spit
out drinks at an average rate of more than 5,000 cans a day."

"In 30 days, thirsty sailors down 22,000 gallons of orange juice and 8,095 gallons of milk and eat nearly a ton of hamburgers" What no hummous?

Meanwhile, the price of water in Baghdad has doubled.

Sunday, March 16, 2003


Apropos of nothing...the bar code clock

via Yorkshire Soul

Friday, March 14, 2003


This from our Africa correspondent, obviously caught short.

I'll have a p please, Bob


Did you know there was a war on? Whilst Dubya is on an adventure over in Eye-rack, brother Jeb has a domestic battle to fight.

"red imported fire ants strip trees of their bark, short-circuit air conditioners and kill baby sea turtles and ground-nesting birds"

So, call in the cavalry! Or, in this case "one species of decapitating phorid fly".

"One of dozens of natural enemies of the South American fire ant, the fly was discovered in 1920 by Thomas Borgmeier, a Franciscan monk working in Rio de Janeiro. But no one knew how the minuscule fly -- just a millimeter long -- killed its prey...The female fly hovers over the ant, then swoops in to inject a torpedo-shaped egg into the ant's thorax -- or midsection -- in one-tenth of a second."

But, what about the possible side effects of intorducing the fly? Remember that Simpsons episode when Springfield gets overrun by bird eating lizards. The lizards eat pigeons - good. But, they eat every other bird and take over the town. It takes another natural predator to rid the place of the lizard, but they have to bring in chimps to deal with that predator. Fortunately the chimps freeze and die in winter.

Why not use Raid, like everyone else!


This exchange of e-mails at work...

From: TB
To: HH; NM; Peter
Date: 3/12/03 4:55pm

Any more complaints? I do sympathise with most of XYZ's.

From: IM
To: FE
Date: 3/12/03 3:51pm


Do you still have a brief on building user issues and the like? A number of concerns emerged from a XYZ divisional meeting this morning. Perhaps other DMs could say if they strike a chord. It would be good if you were able to take these points up on a directorate-wide basis. If not, please let me know and I will pursue them separately. The issues are:

- increasing difficulty in accessing legitimate work-related websites because of the stringent firewall arrangements;

- the frequently unacceptable condition of the men's toilets next to the Core 3 lifts on this floor;

- the number of false fire alarms;

- the way the handle repeatedly falls off the fire door next to room 1/23A;

- the fact that running hot water in the tea point in zone 1/22 is a pleasure reserved for the ultra-patient.



To which I added...

From: PM
To: EF; MI
Date: 3/13/03 10:12am


Why do I have to play light monitor every morning and turn off the lights burning in the 1/23 meeting rooms?

There is a poster in the lobby saying that needless power consumed in the building could make 2,168,097 cups of coffee every year.

Can I have either the free coffee and an assurance that the lights are turned off over night?


I'll keep you posted on developments.


Re: the Prince of Wales fiasco:
This stunned me: "[The investigators] interviewed 159 members of staff.." You mean the Prince has (at least) 159 staff? To do what, precisely? Squeeze, his toothpaste? Hold his urine specimen bottle?

"...the resignation of Michael Fawcett - the prince's closest and most indispensable aide, his toothpaste-squeezer and specimen bottle-holder - was announced."

Oh, yeah. I forgot.


The train now glowing at the station is for Armageddon (as in Armageddon outta here).


Following on from yesterday's space news, I thought you might like to see a nice picture from Astronomy Picture of the Day.

1. Do you like talking on the phone? Why or why not?

It depends. I think I'm pretty good on the phone although sometimes I woudlrather hide behind an e-mail if I need to raise something difficult or over which I'm not too confident. But, one of the things I really like about my job is meeting people from outside the organisation. There is too much deadwood where I work; people with small minds and small expectations.

But, I prefer face-to-face so I can pick up body language.

2. Who is the last person you talked to on the phone?

Call centre madness!

3. About how many telephones do you have at home?

One plugged in. One in storage. Hey, it's a small flat.

4. Have you encountered anyone who has really bad phone manners? What happened?

Many times. Although not bad manners, I used to deal with this bloke who had the mouthpiece very close to his mouth. He was a loud talker anyway. So, as soon as I picked up the phone I could hear him breathing! I knew instantly it was him.

5. Would you rather pick up the phone and call someone or write them an e-mail or a letter? Why or why not?

See 1. Unlike Mr "What it is" who always hides behind e-mail and answers his phone like a timid whelk, I use the phone when necessary. I had an irritating game of e-mail tennis recently. The guy down the other end of the office should have got off his bakcside and come talk to me. In the end that's what I did.

Thursday, March 13, 2003


How do you approach going to a gig by someone you've never heard? Not only that: We are talking about an artist often described as England's greatest living singer/songwriter. Tuesday evening we went to see Richard Thompson and his band. Thompson, if you don't know, has been knocking around now for nearly 20 years or more. He's a bit of a folky/rock legend or so they say.

When I saw the gig advertised, I was intrigued. I've seen many glowing reviews of Thompson's gigs and records. So why not give it a punt. But, I kind of forgot about it. Then, about two weeks ago a flyer came through the post from the Festival Hall, on to whose mailing list I'm now firmly planted (like it or not). There was an ad for the Be Good Tanyas - a female trio band. Tucked in there was another blurb for Thompson at the Bush.

Okay, I thought. Let's give it a try. Again I sort of forgot. But, cruising on line for some other tickets, I checked whether there were seats left. Second level - okay. No answer from my Missus. A few days later, I asked again and she said "yeah, sure". So not very enthusiastic, eh?

Tuesday we chowed down at blah blah blah on the Goldhawk Road. A tasty, if dry sushi selection for me followed by a tasty veg pie; Green salad and Indonesian curry for my partner. Nice meal, bad wine (get a licence, get a licence!).

We caught the end of the support act - a solo singer from Canada (?). Nothing special. I noticed the venue filling up with middle aged, middle class, plump men with bad beards and receding hairlines. Well, at least I've kept slim, have a full head of hair and none of that facial stuff.

On to the main act. After one number, I was impressed. As the gig went on, I was increasingly hooked. Thompson easily moved from rock to folk to blues all delivered in a straight up no nonsense way. During a brief solo bit, he even slipped in a Phil Ochs anti-war song. That went down very well with about 1500 Guardian readers in the audience. It was all excellent, effortless and supremely enjoyable. Thompson was backed by multi-talented, old bloke Pete Zorn on guitar, flute, baritone sax, mandolin and backing vocals. Danny Thompson on bass- unmoving, except his eyebrows and fingers - rock steady. Some session geezer from Texas on the drums. Thompson let rip in the second half of the show with some excellent blues axe which pissed on Clapton. And, the songs. Although it was difficult to follow all the words, all the time, It was pretty clear from song to song that he is a master craftsman.

About an hour and half later, Thompson finished of the last of a blistering solo and off he waltzed nonchalantly. I guess I am now a fan.

There were one or two questions. Why is this guy a superstar? He's certainly talented and has a good, solid following of old blokes with beards. I guess it was part the effortlessness, part the dad like nature of the audience (not as good as '87 - or whatever) and part that he turned his hand to several different styles - rock, blues, folk.

But, once again it proved to me that you've got to take a few chances on gigs. Because sometimes you come up trumps.

See another review.


New Mexico State Representative Dan Foley (R) has introduced a bill to celebrate Extra Terrestrial Awareness Day.

Okay, okay. You can't wait. You want to see the full text of the bill don't you. Here you go...


Section 1. EXTRATERRESTRIAL CULTURE DAY.--The second Thursday of February each year shall be designated
"Extraterrestrial Culture Day" in recognition of the many visitations, sightings, unexplained mysteries, attributed technological advances, experimentations, expeditions, explorations, intrigues, provision of story lines for Hollywood epics and other accomplishments of alien beings from throughout the universe that have contributed to New Mexico's worldwide recognition as a unique and dynamic mosaic of cultural anomalies. The day should be observed to celebrate and honor all past, present and future extraterrestrial visitors in ways to enhance relationships among all the citizens of the cosmos, known and unknown.

Foley represents the UFO capital of the world Roswell, NM.

via the BBC


Usually I couldn't give a fig about the dealings of the royal family (I don't even watch the Royale Family on TV). But, the article on BBC News Online today made me chortle a bit.

A damning report on business in Prince Charles' household - the man whose behaviour is becoming increasingly bizarre (fit for a King) - is published today, three months late. So...

"Prince Charles is currently out of the country on a short tour of Bulgaria."

Add this little snippet from the web site:

Prince of Wales
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

So, is that an editorial comment?


"Had NASA known the shuttle Columbia was hurtling toward its doom, agency managers and engineers would have moved heaven and Earth to rescue the crew, agency officials said last week..."

So NASA can move heaven and Earth, but keeps losing space probes because they can't tell the difference between inches and centimetres.

From Aviation Week & Space Technology (subscriber only site, I'm afraid)


This from the New York Times via Lazylaces.

"Rather than being infinite in all directions, as the most fashionable theory suggests, the universe could be radically smaller in one direction than the others. As a result it may be even be shaped like a doughnut."

I can claim no inside knowledge on this!


A different take on the Nigerian e-mail scam - it's an Angolan. Same principle: provide us with your bank details so that we can move a very large sum of money out of Angola. You get a proportion of the cash. Simple, easy and can you believe that people fall for this?

As you may know, Savimbi died recently and with him UNITA. Angola's long and bloody civil war now seems to be at an end. But, thousands of civilians have suffered hardship and brutality. And, there are plenty of unscrupulous people in the country, though this looks like the old West African scam to me.

By the way, the President of Angola is a fine man. He has liberated about 50% of the country's wealth through his own personal Swiss bank account.

Good Day,

With warm heart I offer my friendship, and greetings, and I hope this mail meets you in good time. However strange or surprising this contact might seem to you as we have not met personally or had any dealings in the past, I humbly ask that you take due consideration of its importance and immense benefit. I duly apologize for infringing on your privacy, if this contact is not acceptable to you, as I make this proposal to you as a person of integrity.

First and foremost I wish to introduce myself properly to you. My name is Oliveira Chuli Savimbi, I am a nephew and Personal Assistant to Late Jonas Malheiro Savimbi, leader of UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola). As led by my instinct, I selected your email address from an internet directory, in my search for a partner, hence this email. I also crave your indulgence to read this carefully, and have a general overview of my situation.

My Uncle (Mentor) was killed in a battle with government forces of Angola, led by President Dos Santos, on Friday 22nd February 2002. After his death, Mr. Antonio Dembo who was his second in command, assumed office as leader of UNITA, due to the lack of Charisma my Uncle had carried the party with in Dembo, there was chaos and struggle for leadership. Prominent members like Carlos Morgado lobbied to depose him and assume office as leader to enrich themselves and some of them who saw me as a threat to their ambitions, including Mr.Dembo, planned to kill me. The tension and confusion in UNITA become uncontrollable when Mr. Dembo died 10days after my Uncle's death. As I already lost my mentor in this struggle that has been on for three decades now, not so much of the struggle interested me anymore, as there was no more sense of direction. I then desired a peaceful life, as I no more had interest in conflicts and wars. For this reason, I secretly left Angola and came here (Holland) to seek for political asylum.

I am sincerely proposing to you to render me your most needed assistance in respect to safekeeping of some of my Uncle's money that arose from Diamonds sales. This money (US$18.5million), which was already on its way to my Uncle's Swiss Bank account, through the Diplomatic means we use to move money abroad, and was on transit with a private safe deposit security company here in Amsterdam, Holland in February last year when the tragic incident of my Uncle's death occurred. I then instructed the company to secure the consignment containing the money pending on further instructions from me. I have waited all this time now for security reasons, and have now decided to act with your reliable assistance. As a matter of fact, the reason I came to Holland and sought for political asylum here is the safe deposit with the Security Company here in Amsterdam.

President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has lobbied the International Community to freeze my Uncle's assets and accounts abroad, to ground UNITA, and has already done this in Angola. Hence I cannot lodge the funds in my name. Also I did not declare the funds to the government here.

I plan to use this money to safeguard my future. It is very essential that you understand that the kind of trust and confidence I want to place in you is extraordinary, and an act of desperation on my part, in order not to lose this money. Also, ensure that this contact with you should be treated with utmost secrecy.

Your role in this project, is acting on my behalf to clear the safety deposit containing the money which is deposited in my name, from the Security company, after which, the money will lodged into an account preferably a new account you should open for this transaction. My share of the money will be returned to me when my asylum application in this country is granted, and I have permission to do business and open an account here.

For your reliable assistance, I will reward you with 15%($2,775,000) of the money.

I have with me, the Certificate of Deposit for the safety deposit, which will be used for claim from the security company, and the release codes of the vaults. Also, everything will be legally processed for transfer of ownership to you, and this transaction should be completed immediately depending on your prompt response.

I thank you in advance as I anticipate your assistance in enabling me achieve this goal.

Please contact me whether or not you are interested in assisting me. This will enable me scout for another partner in the event of non-interest on your part.

To know more about the struggle by UNITA to liberate Angola, click on the links below and read.



Wednesday, March 12, 2003


All us bloggers are going to be rich! According to the New York Times (via Nick Denton), blogging is the next gateway to untold internet riches. Now, how many of you cleaned up during the original internet bubble? And, hands up if you lost your life savings when the bubble burst and helped bring down the stock market?

Well, I'm picking out my luxury yacht now and I've put a down payment on the villa in Monte Carlo.

"The people self-publishing these blogs are an eclectic mix, from trendy teenagers discussing their body piercings to nerds swapping high-tech insights, celebrities sharing their everyday lives and activists staking out positions on Iraq."

Which one are you?

Monday, March 10, 2003


Pointless use of the internet, No. 3.14. May take a while to load.

via She's Krafty

On the same subject, thanks Foodblog for the link. Fame, at last!


Grateful to Dustinbinman for two vital links.

First, a shocking report from Canada on the attitude of US immigration officials.

Next up, an excellent Flash vidgame which sets out one scenario for the next few months. Watch and weep!

Sunday, March 09, 2003



Add to

Then add of

Then add of

Shake contents of

Meanwhile, coat rim of with rind of

Dip coated circle of on plate to give an even rim

Pour contents of into


Repeat as necessary.

Saturday, March 08, 2003


I am the Natural Number

I go with the flow


what number are you?

this quiz by orsa

via that beatniksalad fella

Friday, March 07, 2003


1. What was the last song you heard?

Something by the The Anomoanon.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

Talk to Her (superb). The Two Towers (too much).

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

Packet of crisps, orange juice and a cup of coffee.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

Sleep, eat, have sex and go to the market.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

My boss, someone who works for me, a colleague, shop assistant and myself.


It seems to have fixed itself so you now get the full benefit of the ol' donut banner - great innit?

Only, now the archives have gawn!


So, some clever clogs has found 8 more moons spinning around Jupiter. Now do you think they could help me find where I left my car keys?

Thursday, March 06, 2003


Can any one help me, please? Changes to my Blogger template are not being shown. This has been happening for a few days. Any advice?

E-mail or post a comment. Ta!

Da links ischt hear


We're going to South Chiantishire for our hols!


Tell me, is this a hoax? US diplomat disses Bush Administration in resignation letter. Via South Knox Bubba.


Going Underground - which London Underground tube line are you?

I'm the CENTRAL line!

You run from Ealing Broadway in the west, through the heart of London, to Epping in the east. Until 1994 you ran right into the Essex countryside, to Ongar, but finally you realised that no one wanted to go to Essex. You are practical and adaptable, resilient and open-minded, and are more likely to tolerate buskers than other Underground lines.

Just fantastic. I take the what tube line are you test and I come out as the one that hasn't been running since early January due to falling motors. Check here for the latest news on the Central Line. Pants, I tell you!

Essex...? I used to live there! And, no, I don't want to go back.

via Sisyphus shrugged


Have been listening to another one of those excellent sampler CDs from the The Wire magazine - subscriptions are very reasonable. This one's called Fjord Focus - A Norwegian Sampler. Play on words apart, it is a sterling collection of out there stuff from the little country clinging to western Scandinavia. Love the track from Food - light industry meets the east, Muslimgauze without the attitude. Xploding Pastix - jazzy film music, would work with a Harry Palmer film (Harry Palmer, not Harry Potter). Some minimalist sh!t from Kim Hirothoy. Vibe city from Jaga Jazzist. Phonophani - laid back laptop music and is that a vocoder? My fave is "Easy" by Salvatore: er, post-rock cr@p. Groovy, ambient jazz funkanation from Wibutee - "First There Was Jazz 2". And on and on...


The great thing about blogs: everyone has an opinion.

The internet now allows anyone with access to a PC to express their opinion. Great. A major step towards true democracy so long as you have the ego to want to start posting your inner most thoughts.

The worst thing about blogs: everyone has an opinion.

The internet now allows anyone to set themselves up as a pundit extolling their views on cat litter, the price of lima beans, how great Michael Jackson is or that crappy programme on TV last night.

My reason for blogging? I think it's great fun. I spend more time reading and responding to blogs than I do writing my own. The whole information/opinion exchange is fantastic. In some ways, it has replaced the talking to the neighbours over the garden fence. A bit sad I know. That kind of stuff all but disappeared in London ages ago. So, you "talk" to people right the other side of the world instead.

Blogging has come along a the right time what with the war and all. Or is it the other way around? Has the war spurred people to have a rant on the internet. We won't know until the University of Lower Armpit carries out some research into the matter. There are just so many blogs out there now. Blogger has over 1 million registered. Truly staggering.

So, get to the point.

Blogging has also allowed many professional pundits, especially in the US, to flood the internet with their views. I have only touched the surface, but there seem to be dozens of all various hues. The great debate about the war is taking place here.

At random, I stumbled on to the blog of a right wing journalist, Howard Owens, from California. If nothing else, his is a prolific blog. The war is what's agitating him. He has no truck for those who oppose the "prossibable" invasion of Iraq. I started post a few comments on Howard's site. I was a bit surprised that he bothered to read and respond to them. Of course, Howard is a professional and probably (I don't know because his bio was down last time I checked) very experienced at leftie baiting.

I went along with this for a while. I go back from time to time and engage in a bit more debate. Howard will always have the last word. But, the experience was illuminating. It brought back to mind listening to tuning in the car radio when I was driving around south Texas (aka "the pits") several years ago. Just about all I could get on the radio was right wing talk shows like Gordon Liddy (convicted Watergate bugger/burglar). I had a good old shout at Gordon and the people who called in.

I don't remember if there were many dissenting voices. It must be a bit daunting to phone in just to get abused, but I'm sure some people tried. Anyway, would the producers allow dissenters on air? Surely, the message of these programmes is that of the host? (This brings in a free speech argument: shouldn't there be equal time on radio/TV? In Britain, this kind of propaganda is not permitted. We just get opinionated newspapers and magazines. In a very British way, we can be selective about the opinions we intake. Although I do remember a Tory voting colleague of mine who used to read the Guardian. But, I digress.)

So, I had my shout at Howard. The comments are on his web site with his responses. I was a little disappointed that, at times, he resorted to insults. This is part of the talk show style. I take issue with his generalisation of anti-protesters as anti-American and allies of communists.

The conclusion? Blogging has turned up at the right time. There needs to be a debate on the war. The internet is a great place for that to take place. Though it's not the only place - it should be debated (and is being debated) on the street corner and in Parliament, on TV, radio and down the pub.

Visit Howard and his friends (on the right and left) and join in the debate.

Debate: You inform through debate. You are informed by debate.

To earn respect: respect your adversaries.


"That hurts! That really hurts!" That is about as much as I can remember about the procedure yesterday.

The examination lasted about 20 minutes. Of course, I had to wait 20 minutes for the consultant to turn up. In the meantime, I had one of those plug things fitted to a vein so they could pump me full of DRUGS ("just say 'zzzzzzzz'"). The "mad professor" - he is an Icelander with a frosty bedside manner - appeared, got me to sign the consent form. (What if I had said, "er, no"?) Then in with the sedative and painkiller. "You'll start feeling drowsy immediately, but you'll only be half asleep." Instead, I dropped off and only remember blurting out when I felt a sharp pain. Next thing I know I'm in recovery feeling like I've been run over by a 68 bus (low pitched "urrrrrrrrr" of brakes). Two cups of hot chocolate later, (Hot chocolate? Boy was I out of it!) I got dressed, nearly fell over and found my wife in reception. Got home and crashed for two hours or so. In the meantime, I scarfed a banana, toast and two cups of caw-fee.

The consultant said everything was fine. I have to go back in two weeks to discuss some "wacky" treatments.


Another drug spam:

AQUEOUS KATHMANDU HAPPY DROPS [Cannabis/Marijuana Option] 2 oz. dropper bottle -- $120.00

A breakthrough! Liquid Alternative for the Non-Smoker. Just put several drops under the tongue or into a small glass of juice. 70+ servings.

Ingredients: Includes the following quantum-ratio, core-extracted and refined botanicals in an alcohol base as a preservative: Albizzia flower-tops, Drachsha, Chavana Prash, Lactuca Virosa, Hybrid Flowering Turnera Diffusa, Wild Dagga, Capillaris Herba, Angelica Root, Zizyphi Spinosae, Buplerum, Hybrid Valeriana officinalis Root, Albizzia flower-tops, mature Polygonum Vine, Calea Zacatechichi, Crocus Sativa flower-tops, Leonorus Sibricus buds, Cinnabris, Margarita herba, Biotae Orientalis, Salviae Miltiorrhizae.

Should I e-mail John Ashcroft?

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


It did it's stuff at 4:10 this afternoon.

I'm trawling through new CDs I should have listened to ages ago. So, it's been a right random bunch of noise.

The Necks. Aether - Australian free-form (almost new age -aagh) jazz piano and accompaniment
Illium. Plexiglass Cube EP - Yer standard post-rock thing.
Tara Jane O'Neil. The Joy of... - More in the same vein.
Fontanelle. F - From the excellent Kranky stable.
Death in Vegas. Scorpio Rising - Britpop lives.
Graham Coxon. The Kiss of Morning - See above. Not as groundbreaking as his last.
Frank Zappa. The Man from Utopia - "Chop a line now..." Parental Discretion Advised. (you'll note that this is rather an old, new CD)
club transmediale 03. a promo CD from The Wire.


Ok, I've had one of the revolting sachets of Klean-Prep. It's not done much yet. No running off to the bathroom. It tasted like salt water. Try drinkning a litre of salt water and tell me it's not disgusting.

Now, I'll try some veg buillon. Yum!

24 hours and this will all be over.


Just when I was worrying about today's youngsters I came across this.

There is hope for the world.


I shall be fasting today. No, nothing to do with Lent*. I have an appointment tomorrow at King's College Hospital to have a colonoscopy.

Like many white, males in their mid-40s I suffer from undiagnosed digestive problems. I've suffered with this problem for about 18 years. After things getting progressively worse, I decided I needed a gastro-enterologist to have a good ol' poke around in their. Not very pleasant stuff. I'm not looking forward to this and I'm not very optimistic that the doc will find anything. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to get thoroughly checked out.

The preparation for this is not nice either. My breakfast today was two pieces of dry white toast and a cup of black coffee. One piece was the recommended amount, but I'm too greedy. That's the last food I'll have until tomorrow evening. At 12 o'clock I have to take a sachet of Klean-Prep which will scour my bowel. Nice. Another Klean-Prep at 6 and the final sachet at 6 tomorrow morning. No water after 8am tomorrow: and on a normal day I drink my recommended 2 litres. So, around 1pm when I go to the hospital I shall be rather de-hydrated and probably very windy.

You can read about the procedure here, as you don't need to be subjected to all that stuff on my site.

My blog could be interesting as I get hungrier during the day. That is if I bother to update it. I may just click on the boob tube and watch re-runs of Perry Mason.

What happens after this procedure? I don't know. My guess is that it won't find anything and I'll then have to consider dietary changes or possibily some alternative remedies. As I'm already a vegetarian, dietary changes may make life even more complicated!

* - Very bad adult Lent joke here.

Monday, March 03, 2003


A selection of what other people were reading on the 0844 this morning:

The Gaelic Football pages in the Irish Independent

Sarah Waters "Fingersmith" (Why did we go to that Indigo Girls gig?)

"Snow Falling on Cedars" (yellowing pages)

Someone doing their Russian homework (the truth)

A bit more diverse than the usual collection of Metros, Suns and Guardians.

PS - I forgot. Someone was also reading the Time Out Guide to Boston. (Curse of the Bambino)

Sunday, March 02, 2003


Igor Bulakjovski confessed:

> I am disturbed.
> ps I found a mouse in my boot today

Was that mouse doing anything lascivious? Was it sniffing your shoe like
a fetishist? Was it wearing a dainty outfit just waiting there in your
shoe for you to find it an make its move?

Have you ever felt a strange longing to run with the mice on the open
fields? Have you ever wanted to tear off all your clothes and dive into
a tiny hole in a wall? Did you ever see a block of cheese in the
distance and felt a peculiar tingly feeling in your loins?

No? Then it must just be me.

One of these days I should vaccuum.

More wackiness from the ewav group.. "But, when are you going to update your blog, Scott?" Tell Scott to update and tell him iamadonut sent ya.


More total random blog surfing picked up Ben's monkey tennis. Not much thre yet, except a link to the bizarre Rate My Hedghog site. Hmm! Does this top Dogs in Cars?

Thanks Ben.

Saturday, March 01, 2003


1. What is your favorite type of literature to read (magazine, newspaper, novels, nonfiction, poetry, etc.)?
Do blogs count?

2. What is your favorite novel?
Current favourite is "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen

3. Do you have a favorite poem? (Share it!)
"After the Lunch"

On Waterloo Bridge, where we said our goodbyes,
The weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. You’re high on charm and drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was that wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
The head does its best but the heart is boss -
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope

N.B. - This was one of two poems I read to my wife at our wedding.

4. What is one thing you've always wanted to read, or wish you had more time to read?
People's minds?

5. What are you currently reading?
"Barca" by Jimmy Burns


Sorry for the site looking a dog's dinner for the last 24 hours. I tried to be clever and update my template. Only problem was that I had messed up the tables in the template so much that it all came tumbling down.

Worse things have happened at sea.