Wednesday, April 30, 2003
All the facts you need.
Pleased to see that the reports of Comical Ali's demise have been exaggerated. More here.
"Hello, I'm Don Rumsfeld, the American Secretary of Defence. I am pleased to visit Iraq - your country - to witness your liberation."
Why do I not trust this man? My collected thoughts on the war will be posted soon.
IT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN TO A DOG
Not man bites dog - I think that was yesterday's headline - but man barks at dog. And, then gets arrested.
"The charge [a misdemeanor of taunting a police dog]...carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail..."
STEAL THIS WEB SITE
Killjoys at Wal*Mart (aka Sperm of the Devil) have shut down the pricebusters at re-code.com. The concept was ingenious, mischievous and what Wal*Mart deserve. Setting up a barcode generator to replace bar codes in Wal*Mart and other thieves with cheaper (but plausible) substitutes. Re-code say it was all a prank. Wal*Mart's expensive lawyers say it was the old replace the price tag scam. You decide. Read the salon.com article (you'll need to register - but you can get it for free if you watch an ad - you can watch the snooker while you wait).
Don't forget, kids. In the UK Asda=Wal*Mart. This corporation is part of a capitalist axis of evil. Wal*Mart has for years stamped on workers rights, sacked employees who have tried to form unions, undercut competitors through dubious (probably illegal) practices, conspired with and/or coerced suppliers, driven countless small businesses (which capitalist apologists tell us are the engine of the economy) out of business (again using dubious practices like the old swamp the market scam - now used by those good folks at Starbucks), censored artists by coercing and extorting record companies and gobbled up huge tracts of land on the outskirts of town to sell their shite. Wal*Mart have also sold guns used in several a murder - Columbine, I believe, as well.
"Honey get the kids, honey sort the leeks
Make sure that the barcodes match the receipts
Honey there’s a store, a new place in town
They’re selling new blades for my mower
New blades for my mower "
from The Supermarket Strikes Back by Mull Historical Society
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
FAST FOOD NEWS
Here's something to get your teeth into...
"The German port of Hamburg has been offered 10,000 euros ($US10,500) to change its name to "Veggieburg" by animal rights activists, who are unhappy about the city's association with hamburgers.
The offer has come from the German branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
A similar offer was made to the city of Hamburg, New York.
But, this is hardly a frivolous offer as the letter says:
"Every year, millions of hamburger-eaters are sickened by killers like heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and other ailments—and more and more American kids who are fed hamburgers, pepperoni pizza, and hot dogs are waddling into obesity."
Pass the ketchup!
Do you remember those Airplane! movies with Peter Phelps (the original Mission Impossible man - "Good luck, Jim") as the pilot? I think these guys must have thought they were in the movie.
"Pilots blame spilt coffee for cockpit nudity".
PICS OUT FOR THE LADS
Another great use of the web...
..and of course, I will take part.
From Tracey - note : the mayday project has nothing to do with the actual 'may day'.
Almost forgot. Thanks to James for the link. Run mate!
Monday, April 28, 2003
Ah! The West Country! Dartmoor, the pubs, pub grub, clotted cream, beer, fresh air, Moor ponies, rolling hills.
The West Country. Overpriced hotels, bad coffee, wind, traffic jams, rain, inferior wine, old people, theivery (£1 to park in a village. £5.20 per person to see a waterfall).
Friday, April 25, 2003
In a rush, off to the West Country. Byeeee!
1. What was the last TV show you watched?
Boavista v. Celtic UEFA Cup Semi-Final, second leg
2. What was the last thing you complained about and what was the problem?
Work - f@cking w@nker, b@st@rds.
3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say?
My wife - it's private.
4. What was the last thing you threw away?
Paper, but recycled it.
5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited?
Thursday, April 24, 2003
IT AIN'T SKIN CREAM
Never mind Iraq and WMD, what about these guys?...
Napalm.Net has bought 5,000 pounds of weapons grade Napalm and has individually packaged it in safe, attractive, displayable canisters. Each canister holds one liter of actual Napalm which you can ONLY purchase through Napalm.Net
Engineered at Harvard University, napalm has become an instrument of mass destruction. Used extensively in 3 wars, napalm has proven itself as an effective tool in the military arsenal.
You know you want some.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
DIVIDED BY A COMMON LANGUAGE
Nicked off of Flight International.
The British troops morale-boosting speech on the eve of the advance into Iraq by Lt. Col Tim Collins:
"If you are ferocious in battle, remember to be magnanimous in victory. We go to liberate, not to conquer. We are entering Iraq to free a people, and the only flag that will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Don't treat them as refugees, for they are in their own country. If there are casualties of war, then remember, when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves. You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest, for your deeds will follow you down in history. Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birth of Abraham. Tread lightly there."
The US speech - Vice Admiral Timothy Keating:
"When the president says 'go', look out - it's hammer time" (followed by "We Will Rock You" at high volume).
N.B. - I don't go along with this "divided by a common language" malarky. The US is a foreign country. They think differently, talk differently, act differently.
Not Gulf News...
"The discovery of the two-millimetre Vertigo Angustior has forced Lahinch Golf Club in southwest Ireland to suspend plans to carry out vital coastal protection work to prevent erosion of the course."
Fore! I mean More
£433 PER SECOND
It's what I'm worth, but not what I get paid. Rocket Ronnie does, or did last night.
Better late than never.
1. Who is your favorite celebrity?
If by celebrity you mean someone famous for being, well, famous (or infamous), as opposed to having talent (like an actor, singer, musician - with true talent), then I guess I'll pass. These people seem a bit shallow. But, if backed into a corner, I'd go for Monica Lewinsky because she apparently gives good head, but you gotta worry about the hygene - that dress and all.
2. Who is your least favorite?
Space does not permit listing them all - the usual suspects - Tarrant, Barrymore, anyone on a reality TV or lifestyle programme.
3. Have you ever met or seen any celebrities in real life?
The late Adam Faith, who used to be a decent singer but gave it up and tried to act. He then turned into a money pundit, but lost his shirt on setting up a TV company. He seemed a nice bloke.
4. Would you want to be famous? Why or why not?
No. See 1 above.
5. If you had to trade places with a celebrity for a day, who would you choose and why?
Only the ones who get paid shedloads of dosh for doing f-all.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
TEN YEARS AGO TODAY
Today is one of those very sad, equally poignant anniversaries. It is a day to stop and think about the society we live in, to reflect on what we tolerate in that supposedly civilised society.
Ten years ago, Stephen Lawrence and his friend were waiting at a bus stop in South East London. They were approached by a bunch of young men. Lawrence was black, the young men white. Lawrence was set upon and stabbed by one or more of the men. Lawrence died from his injuries as he tried to run to catch the bus.
None of his assailants has been convicted. The police, according to the independent McPherson Report, bungled the investigation in part because the Metropolitan Police suffered from "institutional racism".
This was no ordinary murder. It became pretty clear from the early days of the bungled police investigation that the perpetrators were motivated by overt hatred - sheer racism.
As the report said, "[his murder] was an affront to society, and especially to the local black community in Greenwich." That it has remained unsolved "is an affront both to the Lawrence family and the community at large."
The bungling by the police meant that 5 years later the Government called for an Inquiry. It is worth noting that the previous Conservative administration turned a blind eye to all this and when McPherson published the findings of his inquiry, the opposition Conservative leader (step forward William Hague) tried to rubbish those findings.
Lawrence, by all accounts, was a normal kid with ambitions to be an architect. Despite living in a run down area, he seems to have steered clear of trouble that is pretty much endemic in inner London. He was never allowed to fulfil his dream because of a bunch of thugs.
The Metropolitan Police have a tough task. However, they do not seem to have covered themselves in glory in the Lawrence case. It is a stark contrast to the Jill Dando murder where Barry George was convicted on the slimmest of evidence. Of the information available in the public domain, it is likely that the police know the Lawrence killers. Indeed, the family took out a private prosecution (against the advice of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service) against some of them. The case fell apart, which has only made the tragedy all that greater. But, the killers are out there. Some of them were not part of that failed case, so there is hope that they will be brought to justice.
Murder, whatever the circumstances, is devastating. I cannot imagine the feelings of the families left behind. Lawrence's parents separated. The pain of their son's murder and the glare of publicity must have played a part.
There are, of course, other murders. There was one up the road from me last week. They are all heinous crimes. But, the Lawrence case stands apart because it is a milestone (and a sad one at that) on the road to social justice.
Met still "racist"
What happened ten years ago.
More UK power plants look to burn olives, palm nuts. Flames roasted, surely? Read more.
Monday, April 21, 2003
HOW DO THESE PEOPLE EXIST?
Just to show that the web is not all conquering, from the New York Times. But, do the bits about compulsive web behaviour hit home?
Lots of this and this were involved over the weekend.
Spent a lazy day by the Thames and at this pub.
This headline was too easy for the bored newspaper sub-editors - "British lose their marbles". Here's the Aussies rubbing salt in the wound.
Yeah, but we beat the convicts at rugby (union).
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Thanks to Snowstone for the new link. Here's another blog you might be interested in. These two will be added to my blogroll.
Sorry if you've come here for some more insight into this war thing. I'm too tired, too pissed off and overworked. I'm also so angry that I think I might get out of control if I sat down and vented my spleen. So, there may be a lack of blogging here on politics for a while.
GOOGLE UPDATE, EH
This site rates #4 on Google.ca searches for "how to take klean-prep". Perhaps I should rename this Bowel Blog.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
THE ULTIMATE BAD HAIR DAY
I got my hair cut the other day. It's a bit shorter than I wanted, but not too bad. On the other hand...
"A jury awarded $6,000 to a woman who sued a hair salon, claiming that bad hair treatment left her depressed and led her to seek early retirement."
Monday, April 14, 2003
"Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins ... vocal antiwar stance has prompted organizers at the [Baseball Hall of Fame] to cancel a 15th anniversary celebration of Bull Durham that was to have included the movie's costars and director."
Hall of Fame Obergruppenfuehrer Dale Petroskey, a former White House assistant press secretary under Ronald Reagan, wrote to Sarandon and Robbins:
"In a free country such as ours, every American has the right to his or her own opinions and to express them. Public figures, such as you, have platforms much larger than the average American's, which provides you an extraordinary opportunity to have your views heard--and an equally large obligation to act and speak responsibly."
Yes, that's fine, they spoke (though Sarandon kept quiet at the Oscars) from the heart and with great responsibility. But...
"We believe your very public criticism of President Bush at this important--and sensitive--time in our nation's history helps undermine the U.S. position, which ultimately could put our troops in even more danger."
How, exactly? And what the f@ck has this got to do with Baseball Hall of Fame? I wish now that I never stepped foot in that place.
From that great political organ E!Online.
UK Foreign Minister would have us believe there is no list.
"I have made it clear and I repeat that Syria is not 'next on the list'. [I am unsure] whether they have been developing any kind of illegal or illegitimate chemical or biological programmes. There are questions that need to be answered."
Why do I not believe him? Is it because our coalition partners are dropping hints less subtle than MOAB?
Asked by a reporter whether Syria could face military action if it did not turn over Iraqi leaders, Mr Bush said: "They just need to co-operate."
"We are concerned that materials have flowed through Syria to the Iraqi regime over the years. We are making this point clearly and in a very direct manner to the Syrians." - Colon Powell
The [Syrian] government is making a lot of bad mistakes, a lot of bad judgments in my view. - US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (the world's most scary man)
"Now that the Iraqi people, thanks to America and Britain, are getting rid of their own brutal dictatorship, we hope that also our Palestinian neighbors will draw the right conclusions and give the necessary authority to a more peaceful leadership of their own," - an Israeli Cabinet Minister
"I genuinely believe that if possession of weapons of mass destruction, absence of democracy and export of terrorism are the criteria, then no country deserves more than Pakistan to be tackled," - Yashwant Sihna, Indian External Affairs Minister
Why not Yemen?
and, let's not forget North Korea
"The Iraqi war launched by the U.S. pre-emptive attack clearly proves that a war can be prevented and the security of the country and the nation can be ensured only when one has physical deterrent force," - KCNA, North Korea's state-run news agency.
Any more takers?
IS THAT A DROMEDARY OR ARE YOU JUST PLEASED TO SEE ME
L.A. County Names Camel As Deputy
""He's very intelligent," Nancy Fite, a member of the Sheriff's Posse and Bert's handler." As opposed to the POTUS.
Hungary says no worry, wandering frogs will return.
"A zoologist assured worrying Hungarians that the usual spring mass migration of frogs in the northwest Ferto Lake region was cancelled due to weather factors rather than mass massacres by vehicles in the past years.
That's alright then.
Friday, April 11, 2003
SARS 106, Ebola 120. Funny how SARS (7% mortality - affecting areas where white Europeans travel) gets all the publicity and Ebola (up to 90% mortality - areas where white Europeans fear to tread) doesn't. But then, I'm a suspicious kind of guy.
Now, really. This has got to be the worst quiz so far. And, why am I wasting my time doing these things? Becasue they are addictive and a bit of fun. But, McDonalds? I'm an anti-junk food vegetarian, ferchrissake!
Thanks (again) to Sherbicide
FIVE GO MAD
1. What was the first band you saw in concert?
Oh gosh, I'm sure I saw lots of pub/club cover bands, school bands etc, but I think the first "name" act I saw was Peter Gabriel in about 1978.
2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?
It changes everyday, today it's the Amoanomon.
3. What's your favorite song?
"Hello, It's Me" by Todd Rundgren
4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
Theremin or penny whistle.
5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?
I was once pushed out the way by Will Oldham whilst waiting for a gig which confirms that I don't want to meet musical icons, but Robert Fripp has always been a bit of hero.
CANDLE IN THE WIND
News that lead will be taken out of pencils, I mean candle wicks. Did you know wicks contained lead?
Thursday, April 10, 2003
ALL TOGETHER NOW...."AAAAAAH"
Jake, the knife swallowing pup, is okay.
...LIBERTY FOR ALL?
Now where have we seen this before? I think it was the anti-terrorism laws passed every year by the UK Parliament allowing holding prisoners without due cause, Diplock trials, internment and all that freedom loving stuff.
via The American Sentimentalist
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
"Our armies do not come into your cities & lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators."
—General F.S. Maude,
Commander of British Forces in Iraq, 1917
VALUE ADDED TAX
"A prostitute has been registered as a service provider by the Swedish authorities, meaning she will pay taxes and social security charges on her income..."
Do you think she'll offer a money back guarantee if not satisfied?
"Her tax number will now allow her to reclaim value-added tax on her business lease, to contribute to a state pension scheme and gain access to the public health system."
""I want to pay taxes, and my aim is that we (prostitutes) can work in a completely transparent way," she said."
See through, surely.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: A PLUS OR D MINUS?
"The number of people in U.S. prisons and jails topped 2 million for the first time, according to a U.S. Justice Department report released Sunday."
This from the Detroit Free Press.
This in itself is startling. But, the following factoid is pretty staggering.
""An estimated 12 percent of African American men ages 20 to 34 are in jail or prison, the report said."
"The proportion of young black men who are incarcerated has been rising in recent years, and this is the highest rate ever measured, Beck said. By comparison, 1.6 percent of white men in the same age group are incarcerated."
This at a time when the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a potentially landmark case involving affirmative action. Yep, that old chestnut may be on the way out. The court has, of course, swung conservative and might be expected to side with the plaintiffs, a number of student applicants to the University of Michigan. They argue that the universities admissions programme which gives additional weight to those of colour is unfair. Affirmative action programmes are a vestige of the 70s and 80s when it was realised that black and other minorities in the US had a tough time competing against white middle class males for jobs and unviersity places. Quite a lot of programmes have fallen by the wayside. California has banned affirmative action. I think this was after a statewide referendum. But, affirmative action is still alive at many colleges.
Oral arguments were put last week - see here. It will be several months before a judgment is handed down. As you would expect, the case has becaome a cause celebre for opponents and supporters of affirmative action alike.
A difficult one this: my instinct is to say that affirmative action is bad because it encourages quotas, strengthens divide between ethnic or racial groups and is unfair on those excluded. However, whilst in simplistic terms programmes like this are poor policy, there is surely still a need in the US and other western countries with a diverse population to encourage policies that promote, even reward, diversity. Given the worrying trend picked up in the prison numbers in the US (I'm sure echoed in the UK), non-white, non-males still need a leg up to compete in society.
Thaaaankssssshh! Lazyla- Lazy- La- aw fock, you knowhowitis.
Did I tell you I love you? You know I do. I do. Yes, I do. I love you. I-LOVE-YOOOOOOOUU! I do!
Hic. Oh! Ifeelsick...
QUIZ TIME, Y'KEN?
Which Trainspotting Character Are You?
Thanks to somebody. Ingested so many drugs, I canna remember, like.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
ONE IN THE EYE
British Airways most profitable route goes in a circle and takes about 35 minutes. Yep, it's the London Eye and last night my wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by taking a "flight" in the evening.
Monday, April 07, 2003
A TIME FOR WAR, A TIME FOR PEACE..
"...today I weep for my country."
I saw reference to this in the Guardian over the weekend. Remarks by Sen Robert C Byrd (D-WVa) on 19 March.
"We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance."
"The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war is tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence. We cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason. This is a war of choice."
"Why can this President not seem to see that America's true power lies not in its will to intimidate, but in its ability to inspire?"
What more can I add to that...? Nothing.
It is definitely a time for some light relief. Thankfully, it is cherry blossom time in my old stomping ground of Washington DC.
Here too is the National Park web site link. However, it uses frames. Bad. Frames=bad. Naughty frames.
Sunday, April 06, 2003
Mike recently posted a picture of a defaced British war cemetery in France. Rather than anger, I feel sorrow for the people that did this. They either have no knowledge of history or are driven to desperation by who knows what.
Two years ago, my family (minus my wheelchair bound mother) travelled to Flanders to trace the footsteps of my grandfather. We are not the only people to do this. Every year thousands of Brits and a lesser number of Americans, Aussies and Kiwis, visit the battlefields and cemeteries of the First World War. It is a personal thing, but a little cottage industry has grown up around it.
I never knew my grandfather. He died when my dad was fairly young. He came from Scotland and early in life moved to England and worked in big houses looking after horses (equerry would probably be too high a job title for him). Within days of war being declared he joined the cavalry and was shipped out to France. From what little I can piece together he fought with the cavalry for a while but then moved to the Lancashire Fusiliers, presumably because most of the cavalry was being wiped out.
Lancashire Fusiliers Memorial, Antielle. Thiepval Memorial to the Missing
As he survived the early days, he was soon promoted. This has made it a bit easier to trace his steps. Unfortunately, we don't have letters and soldiers were discouraged from keeping diaries would they fall in to the wrong hands. But, my dad, brother and cousins have done a good job so that we have found the spot where he led a raid to capture a company of Germans, near Ypres in Belgium. He won a Military Cross for his actions. He later survived gassing, which blinded him temporarily. He was court martialled for drunkeness and demoted. He finally left the Army just a few months before conflict ended in November 1919.
Visiting the battlefields it is hard to imagine, 90 years on, that the area was riddled with trenches, minefields, barbed wire and hundreds of dead bodies. What is more poignant, but somewhat unreal, are the dozens of cemeteries scattered across the landscape, some out in the middle of fields, inaccessible unless you know what you are looking for. I found it deeply moving seeing the gravestones of so many young British men and those of our, at the time, Empire. These men, like my grandfather, thought they were doing the right thing. They thought they had god on their side; perhaps they thought the enemy were evil.
St Georges Cemetery. Houtholst Forest near Ypres
Of course, we know that the "war to end all wars" was not that. It was also not a "just" war. Europe was sucked in to a destructive conflict like none ever seen by stupidity, by greed, by lack of understanding, by fear. France, whose countrymen have now defaced a cemetery to British dead defending French soil, lost most of a generation.
Today, a vast majority of French people, the polls say, oppose the war in Iraq. The same is true across many countries in Europe including Germany, Belgium, Russia and Turkey - countries heavily involved in the First World War.
Those who support the war say that a pre-emptive strike is necessary because to do otherwise is appeasement of an evil regime which possesses weapons of mass destruction. Some have attempted to draw a parallel to the thirties when Germany was able to re-arm, in part because of a policy of appeasement by the likes of the UK and elsewhere. I don't subscribe to this logic as it applies to Iraq. So far, from the little evidence available, it seems that Iraq does still possess some chemical weapons. We will see, but my suspicion is that most of these were left over from after the '91 Gulf War. Iraq has been slow to disarm, no doubt about that. But, what nation willingly disarms? It also seems that Iraq does not possess the means to deliver chemical weapons to anywhere but the immediate battlefield.
As for nuclear capability, again it is probably too early to say. Saddam has, no doubt, always wanted nuclear capability because he does want to hold the balance of power in the region. He sees himself as a defender of Arabs against the infidel West and its agents in Israel.
The other evidence so far is that Iraq is no match in terms of technical ability and most of its army is made up of poorly trained, armed and paid conscripts eager to surrender as soon as the bombs start falling.
What of the link with terrorism, you ask? There are, without doubt, links between Iraq and terrorism. Saddam is proud to boast that Iraq rewards Arab suicide bombers. But, stop and ask whether it is Saddam's largesse or the desperate plight of Palestinian refugees that leads to suicide bombings? Al-Qaida? The US has provided evidence of links between Iraq and those who alledgedly organise the WTC/Pentagon massacres. I question whether Iraq is the catalyst for these attacks or, indeed, for any activity by Al-Qaida. Terrorist oragnisations probably operate out of Iraq and are tolerated by the regime. You could argue the same for Pakistan, India, Indonesia and many other countries around the world. And, don't forget who supported some of these idiots 20 odd years ago - our friends in the CIA, SIS, Mossad etc.
One web site has called me "un-American". If to question the justification for an expensive war which will lead to significant loss of life, threatens to damage our economy and will not (in my view) eradicate terrorism, then I am guilty. If it has anything to do with my love for the country and its generally warm, hard working people, then I hope you can see what bunkum that is. My gripe is with the leaders of the US and the UK, not the average Joe. I want to debate this issue because it is important for all our futures. I want to live in a safe and prosperous society. This war will, in my view, make the western world less safe. It threatens (and so does the continued terrorist threat) our prosperity. I look for an inclusive world for all.
It brings me back to the fields of Flanders. I've seen some of the evidence of the waste that war brings. In the case of WWI, unnecessary waste. Europe and the world was engulfed just 20 years later in more carnage. The Cold War and the later Balkan crisis my, in future, be seen as the final chapter in that European Civil War.
The current conflict in Iraq should be seen as part of a 20 year war in the region - between Iraq and Iran (sponsored by those good folks in the White House), then Iraq, Kuwait and the West. It is part of the wider Middle East crisis. At this point, I feel that resoltuoin of the situation to the west of Baghdad - ie in Palestine - is more important. Resolve that crisis and the region will stabilise. Saddam, in 2003, is not the destabilising force in the region that he was in 1991. Where is the evidence tha he is? If we had allowed the weapons inspectors to do their work (and if Saddam had too), we might have blown away that line of thought. Then again it may have proved the US/UK line. I may be wrong. Let's wait and see.
Meanwhile, I cannot help but think of those desecrated memorials in France, the bombed out buildings of Baghdad, the population of Basra lacking clean water, those who now have another excuse for jihad and think how to mend the damage.
A field in the Somme. Thiepval Memorial to the Missing
Friday, April 04, 2003
MULL OF W12
One man band Mull Historical Society, aka Colin MacIntyre, appeared at the Shepherd's Bush Empire last night. MHS's first CD, Lost, was a fairly enjoyable poppy concoction with hints of pyschedlia in the vein of Flaming Lips (minus the blood capsules and back projected drummer). And, there was a doggie in a wig on the cover. Us is very much the same. In fact, the difference between the two is minimal, except Colin's mug is on the cover rather than the doggie.
Last night was a pleasant enough show. What it lacked was a change of pace, a change of song even. It all seemed like the same song, same key, same high pitched vocal delivery. Only the rather pathetic and pointless back projections - a badly put together PowerPoint presentation - seemed to change. Colin's a game enough lad. He had a fine supporting band. Trouble was they were bathed in dark the whole night as Colin had a permanent halo of light following him. There was also a strong sniff of "show", lack of spontaneity. Even the leaps onto the drum risers and keyboard stool seemed pre-planned.
MINE'S A PINT
I did it.
There was some consternation over my trip to Bangladesh and malaria, but they agreed I was "clean" so could make a deposit. Then, the nurse couldn't find a good vein on my left arm. Eventually the doctor found one round the side of my arm, but it made my wrist sore from the funny angle I was forced. It's done now. I don't feel virtuous, but I do hope that I've done a little bit of good. And, if the blood helps a wounded soldier or civilian in the war then that's pretty special I think.
It says here:
Some interesting facts
Out of the 279947 people who have taken this test
21% hibernate in winter
16% are perverted
30% enjoy going on murderous rampages
30% think they are god
20% cause car crashes on purpose
Now a regular feature here. Join in if you want.
1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life?
2. Which was your favorite and why?
Probably the last house I lived in before my 4 year excursion to the US. I felt comfortbale there after wating some 4 months for it to be built. It did have problems with the plumbing and squirrels in the attic though.
3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why?
Stressful. No matter how many times you move, there are always things to go wrong. It's probably more buying and selling and the financial side that causes most stress.
4. What's more important, location or price?
Location, location, location.
5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)?
Nice sunny, non-overlooked garden. Comfy lounge with a firepalce, a kitchen big enough to sit and eat meals in.
"Darling we need to talk. London Transport Act violates UN Declaration on Human Rights - Article 19."
So sayeth grafitti scrawled on a hoarding across the road; now erased. Can anyone explain this to me?
Article 19 says: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." (But, the declaration is not binding.)
Most of the London Transport Act has been repealed. Could this have anything to do with the Public Private Partnership (PPP)? Busking? Grafitti?
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Key words: football, England, soccer, hooligan, 2-0, Rooney, early doors.
"The big players rise to the occasion. The great managers find that little bit extra when they have to."
The crap journalists can roll out the cliches at the drop of a hat. Step forward Daniel Freedman on the FA web site (which, incidentally is more keen on pushing the latest abomination that passes for an England strip).
"Sammy Lee jumped so high he almost leaped right over Brian Kidd and Sven himself look like he'd just scooped six numbers."
"David Beckham tucked away his spot-kick majestically. He's now scored in every Euro Qualifier. A true captain marvel."
Okay, my view. For much of the first half England looked second best. The Turkish midfield purred and their defence battered Owen into submission. England: no link between midfield and attacking, passing erratic.
There was one move midway through the half that summed up the difference between the two sides as regards technique and intelligence. An England attack broke down allowing the Turkish defenders to play three deft one touches to launch a lightning counter-attack [ed: steady on the cliches]. Two more passes through midfield led to a first time shot which hit the target. Okay, no goal. But, it showed me why we struggle at international level. It's the same old problems: poor first touch, poor vision, poor positional sense.
The second half was a great difference. The England midfield wrestled the game from the obduriate and sometimes uncompromising Turks. Rooney (top marks) showed great touches. His physical presence and (to contradict myself) positional play gave the defence ongoing problems. Owen remained out of the game - and the substitution of Vassell gave England that thrust they were missing.
Scholes was a disappointment. Beckham, as always, was a marvel [oops!] in both attack and defence. On the left, Gerard looked lost. Thankfully he pulled it together in the second half, but him and Bridge on the left was clearly not working well.
Of the back four, "Judas" Campbell was rock-like (I can stil hear "You'll never beat Sol Campbell" echoing around the Lane). His partner, Ferdinand, is, how can I say, over-rated. His touch and distribution are chronic.
In goal, James overcome some dodgy walkabouts with that wonder save at 1-0. Would've the pony tail saved that?
2-0. Excellent. Turkey are good, but seemed a bit off the boil and were more interested in kicking lumps out of Beckham. I was surprised that Hakan Sas didn't start as he was a revelation in the World Cup. I guess we can take that. Alpay is a nutter. Other standouts were Ilhan and Nihat. I reckon a tough return match [like, duh]. Hopefully, Beckham won't be suspended and England will be free of injuries to the usual suspects - Gerard (I wish I could like him, but I don't) and Owen (burnt out?).
Anyway, it's Rooney Tunes all the way. "That's all folks!"
PS - We can expect a heavy fine from UEFA for those Wearside w@nkers. "A high-ranking Turkish FA official today called for England to be severely punished for the crowd problems that occurred after both goals last night. "
No more games at the Stadium of Light. Except this one.
PPS - Hands up all those that think Ian Wright is a w@nker. Oh, ditto for Peter Reid..
MORE POLL NEWS
In today's Daily Mirror:
"Support for the war is slipping, despite the successes of British troops in the past few days."
"More people still think it was right rather than wrong to launch action against Iraq."
"But for the first time since the war started the number backing the invasion has fallen below 50 per cent, according to an exclusive poll for the Daily Mirror and GMTV."
"Yet a big majority believe that now it has begun our troops must stay in Iraq until the job is over."
Can I make one thing clear: I do not advocate government by referenda. We are not Swiss. Equally, politicans should not get hung up on poll numbers. What is of value for the public debate are polling trends. These show a peak in support for action at the time it was launched. You would expect that to decline as battle raged and casualties on both sides mount.
Tony Blair, who seems to have signed up to the concept of pre-emption independently of Shrub, seems to have calculated that his popularity can survive a short war. We'll see.
ELEPHANTS SPEEDIER THAN THEY LOOK - STUDY
They're known for their plodding pace but elephants are more quick-footed than they appear and may even break into a run, researchers said yesterday.
"We do find evidence that elephants run, in a sense," said John Hutchinson of Stanford University in California.
[Researchers] found the average walking speed was 4.5 miles per hour (7.2 km) but 32 animals reached a top speed of up to 15 miles (24 km) per hour and three exceeded that.
And, the point of this study was...?
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
HIDE UNDER A ROCK, OR SOMETHING
Thanks to war, pestilence and that crappy airline food, Air Canada is the latest airline to join the ranks of carriers in bankruptcy protection. Only a few days ago, Hawaiian filed for Chapter 11 protection. Rumours are that American Airlines, the world's biggest is near the brink. Even before Iraq-ataq US Airways and, the world's number 2, United were in administration.
11 September 2001 took care of Swiss Air and Sabena, a couple of basket cases, though both have come out the other side thanks to some nifty footwork and dodgy dealings - hello, state aid watchdogs in Brussels? are you there?
On top of Iraq-ataq, we've now got petislence in the form of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which has already claimed the life of a World Health Organisation (WHO) an expert on communicable diseases. WHO have now recommended that those planning to travel to Hong Kong SAR(!) and Guangdong in China to reconsider their plans. The UK Department of Health says: "The UK public is strongly advised not to travel to these areas."
I'm no doctor, but I smell hysteria (can you smell it). Some 6% of those affected so far have died. Okay, this is serious. But, SARS is a very bad case of the flu which leads to pneumonia like symptoms. Don't forget: more people in the UK and US died from the flu in 1918-19 than during the "Great War".
Is there a doctor in the house?
ADDENDUM: One of my work colleagues just returned from the Rugby Sevens in Hong Kong. He's been placed in voluntary quarantine (probably involving alcohol). I've sent him this get well mesage.
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
"SORRY, PUBLISHING IS TEMPORARY UNAVAILABLE"
Never mind. I'm sure they huge Blogger staff (I think there are about 4) are wokring feverishly so that you can read my drivel and that of 1/2 million others.
During the down time, I found this:
"Welcome to my blog. The purpse of this blog is to expose the anti-American sentiment coming from a lot blogs here in the U.S.A. I encourage you to go visit those blogs and show your patriotic pride. If you know of any that I've missed please feel free to let me know. Any anti-American comments left on this blog will be ignored and deleted. There may be freedom of speech in this country but not on my blog. Have a nice day. "
I think we know where he can stick his blog...
* "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"
Read the whole sickening account here.
* "I report the truth of what is happening in Baghdad and will not apologize for it"
US networks get tough on reporters who fail to toe the line. Link.
* "Support" for war slipping?
Nearly two-thirds of the British public thinks the war on Iraq is going well, according to a new poll.
"Sixty-one per cent still think Britain should not have gone to war without the backing of the UN"
The full survey
* Meanwhile, the BBC Breakfast programme once again trumpeted that "our" boys are better than those cowboy yanks. They cited the checkpoint "murders" (see above), that Brits take their helmets of and give kiddies sweets and yesterday's friendly fire incidents. I should stop watching this crap.
Madonna has decided not to release her controversial video American Life which features her throwing a hand grenade at a George W Bush lookalike who then uses it to light a cigar.
Perhaps this should have been the top story.
* Addendum - "Facts, some fiction and the reporting of war"
Told you so.
As reported in the serious press.
Speaking of ever excellent, you owe it to yourself to get over to the Guardian site for the latest Steve Bell cartoon.
A bit later than planned, but the ever excellent VMyths have a great idea for an April Fools' prank.
There have been a few pranks here at work. Fake press notices, plausable, yet riduculous conference conclusions. All in jokes, I'm afraid, so I won't share them.